One Year

An unexamined life is not worth living.

– Socrates

“If you only had one year left on this earth, and anything was possible, what would you do?”

I asked Jean, a client in her late fifties who sought me out for transition coaching. One of Jean’s goals was to figure out what exactly was missing in her life. “I can’t put my finger on it.” She said. “I just feel that something inside me is dying to be expressed.”

Jean is hardly alone. Most of us have known this feeling at some point in our lives. We can feel that something is amiss, we are aimless but don’t quite understand what is it that we’re missing; or, we do know what’s missing but are not sure what to do about it.

Have you ever felt this way?

If you need some clarity, taking the following steps might help:

Step 1: Set aside 45 – 60 minutes of uninterrupted time. Have something ready (note pad, computer, etc.) to take notes.

Step 2: Sit comfortably. Slow your breath to 4 – 6 breaths per minute. You can achieve this by exhaling slowly and completely before inhaling. You should be able to start feeling relaxed after 5- 10 minutes of doing so. If you are not, stop and come back to do this exercise later.

Step 3: Write down your answer to the following question quickly:

If I only had one year left on this earth, and anything was possible, what would I do?

Listen carefully to the answers that arise from inside of you and write them down quickly without censoring anything. Suspend judgment for now. Don’t worry about how to accomplish what comes up.  Just write down everything that comes to you.

(For most people, what comes up would be something that’s most important to them, something they have always wanted to do, or something they need to do but have been putting off.)

Step 4: Look at your answer(s)-are they a list of things? If so, rank what you’ve put down on the list based on how important each of them is to you. Continue to suspend judgment while ranking your list.

Step 5: Read your ranked list out-loud. Notice the feelings and thoughts it brings up and write them down.

Do you feel excited? Inspired? Shocked? Scared? Doubtful? What thoughts are going through your mind? Write them all down. Listen to them all. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything you are not ready to do. This exercise is just to help you become more aware of what it is that you really want – your heart’s desire.

Step 6: Go through your list and identify one thing that you’re most ready to take action on. What is it? What would be the first step you can take to start working on it? What reservations or obstacles are still in your way?

My guess is that some obstacles are standing between you and what you want. If it was easy, you would have already achieved it by now. These obstacles could be internal limiting beliefs and/or external circumstances. To overcome them, we often need help from a trusted friend, a professional, and life itself.

One of the biggest blocks is the illusion that we still have lots of time to do what’s important to us. We all get caught up in this illusion; we all procrastinate with what we need to do the most until life shakes us up with a traumatic event: a sudden death of a loved one, a terminal illness diagnosis, the loss of a home to a natural disaster, the end of a long-term relationship… For Jean, losing a friend in a car accident the previous year was the wake-up call that prompted her into a quest she’s been putting off. What’s fortunate is that she still has time – although no one knows how long – to do what’s most important to her.

Another way to ask this questions is: “What would I regret not doing if this was my last year on earth?”

What would your answers be?


Change is inevitable, whether you choose it or it chooses you. If you are ready to embrace change and embark on the journey of transitioning into a brighter future, contact me for a complimentary consultation to find out whether I’d be a good fit to serve you.

To learn more about coaching, please go to our Service page.

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