So glad that you’re on this journey with me.
Why this matters
Who cares if you show up for these questions? What’s the whole point?
Years ago, probably on NPR (it wasn’t on Krista Tippett’s show, but it would certainly fit there — wish I could remember the exact source because it’s nice to give accurate attribution), I heard an interview with an activist nun. I’m paraphrasing here, but here’s the essence of what she said:
Everyone has an immediate answer to the question of what we’d do if we won the lottery. We’ve all dreamed about it. But very few of us have a ready answer for how we’ll spend our most precious resource, one that we already have: our time.
Your time, how you spend your days, your energy, how you show up in the world — that’s the whole point of these 100 days.
Whether you feel like you’re staring at a blank canvas or you already have some ideas shaping up, perhaps like images through a fog, these questions will move you towards intention about how you spend your time, particularly your work time and your income-generating time.
Here’s a question before we get to the 100 questions
Before we dive into the questions, let’s set the framework for what you want to get out of these next 100 days of questions and reflection. You’re communicating with your highest self, and the purpose that you set for this process will guide you both consciously and unconsciously to create what you most want from it.
What do you want, from the deepest part of yourself, to emerge from these 100 days of reflection?
Allow yourself to respond with the timing and process that works best for you. And get to know your own process of responding to these questions:
- do you have an immediate visceral response?
- do you want to sit with the question in meditation?
- will you carry them through your day and allow inspiration to visit you?
- are you an extrovert with a craving to talk to people and hear yourself throw out ideas?
- do you want to generate 10 possible answers, knowing that you’ll get closer and closer to your truth the more you write?
Honor yourself, and if you don’t know the best way to access your inner wisdom, experiment.
What to do if you draw a blank
As you engage with this framework question and also the questions that follow on subsequent days, you may notice that you seize up sometimes.
If you’re worried that you won’t produce a response that feels true or if you’re struggling to come up with ANY response, know that you’re not alone. This part of yourself is absolutely welcome in this space.
Ask yourself how you want to engage with the part of yourself that feels stuck. What do you usually do to tune into your inner voice? Use techniques that you already know that work for you. And please share in the comments below any tips you have for people when they find themselves stuck.
Here are some ideas from me about how to approach paralysis with this framework question and any questions that follow:
- Pick a handful of archetypes (the orphan, the hero, the caregiver, the explorer, the rebel, the creator, the lover, the jester, the sage, the magician, the ruler) and imagine how each one of them would respond. Write from the voice of these archetypes and see which ones resonate for you.
- Start a stream-of-consciousness writing. Commit to writing X amount (100 words, 500 words, whatever you think will get you to where you want to be), and just let your fingers or your pen fly. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, describes a journaling technique called Morning Pages that captures this approach well.
- Talk to people about the question. What are their responses? What do you notice rising up in you as you hear other people answer the question? Envy? Judgment? Resonance? Just notice. Plus, try talking to several different people and answering the question in wildly different ways. What do you notice in yourself as you’re talking? What do you want others’ response to be? Look for playful engagement and see what arises.
And now, for today’s question!
Here’s where we start with our questions:
How did you end up here in your current work situation? Start at the beginning.
The first place I go when I begin to answer this question is to the role of victim because I see my environment (the global economy), the people around me (raising children and the resulting logistics, for example), and the place where I live (rumor has it that Fort Collins has the best educated hotel maids in the country because people will do anything to live here) as the defining variables in how I got to where I am. And it’s true that the question is phrased a bit passively and that we’re affected by external factors.
And my invitation to you is to answer the question from the perspective of the creator of your life rather than the victim. What are the goals you went after? Where did you make strategic decisions?
It may be helpful to write 2 responses: one from a “life is imposed on me” perspective and another from “I’m driving my own bus” perspective. Play with how you respond and see what emerges.
I want to hear from you!
Really, no kidding, I want to hear your answer to these beginning questions. Partly because I have this “is anyone listening?” gremlin. And also because I want to compile responses to include in a book with these questions. Plus, I sincerely want to know what you have to say. Write to me: careerdesignandcoaching at gmail dot com.
PS-Most of the notes you’ll get on the other 99 days are MUCH shorter. Lots to say in the kickoff here.