What Are Your Reactions Telling You about Yourself?


Sometimes life gives us little tests disguised as conversations. Let’s pretend for a minute that your friend, Ashley, wants to meet you for lunch to tell you exciting news. Your mind is swirling with all the possibilities as you arrive at the restaurant. Is she planning to run a marathon? Starting a new job? Going on a great vacation? As you greet her with a hug and sit down, there is no question in your mind that you will be excited for Ashley, no matter what her news.

But when Ashley announces she’s writing a book and already has interest from a publisher, your internal reaction is completely different than you ever imagined. While you give Ashley one of those forced smiles through gritted teeth and somehow manage to create an enthusiastic response, the green-eyed monster suddenly overtakes your every thought and emotion. But I wanted to write a book, you think while Ashley details her book outline. Suddenly, you’re in a bad mood. Why? Because you believe Ashley has what you want.

The good news is that this moment has just provided you an opportunity to reevaluate your life and goals. Rather than seethe with the kind of negative emotions that have the potential to destroy your focus and deprive you of the necessary energy to move forward in life, take some time to:

Assess your immediate reaction to the news. Do you really want to write a book? Or are you looking for something similarly rewarding that pertains to your own personal and professional goals? Maybe you’re a home cook who has always wanted to open a restaurant. Perhaps you feel unappreciated at work and need a more fulfilling job. Or maybe you want to teach yoga classes to help others find inner-peace. After evaluating everything, determine if writing a book is what you really want to pursue. If it is, now is the time to act. If not, now is also the time to act.

Reexamine your goals. Depending on what you decided during the first step of this process, this moment also provides an opportunity to reexamine your goals. First, are your goals realistic and attainable? Second, have you achieved what you set out to do six months ago? Third, are they in line with what you want to do now? If not, it’s time to do some revising. Life is full of change. Goals are not set in stone, and can be altered when life takes you in a new direction.

Create a new plan. The happiest people in life have a plan. After you revise your list of goals, write a description under each one on how you would like to attain it. If writing a book is in your plan, detail your outline, define your target audience, and formulate a timeline to begin writing. If starting a business is in your plan, describe how you will conduct research, identify your market, and raise capital. If finding a new job is in your plan, specify who you can call upon in your network for help, names of companies you want to target, and who you will call to revise your resume. Finally, if becoming a yoga teacher is in your plan, detail how you will become certified and identify gyms or other locations where you might teach. Once you have your plan created, follow it. Why? Because the happiest people in life have a plan.

When you believe someone has something you want, it’s important to view your reaction as an opportunity to dig deep, examine your own life and goals, and then create a plan that leads you down a new path to a more fulfilling future.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.