Plenty of people have done a ‘life satisfaction’ exercise where you rate yourself in different areas (such as health, work, finances etc). It’s usually limited to 8 categories, but it’s not a bad way to start to see what’s going right – and not so right- in your life.

I’ve long used an expanded version of this with my career change and retirement clients, so we can get a snapshot of their work and where it fits into their whole life, as well as other important (to them) arenas. It has a number of more subtle, but very important markers (such as ‘sense of identity’ and ‘engagement versus boredom’) that are frequently the key to dissatisfaction in work, and some that become more and more important as we age. I thought you might be interested to try it.

It goes like this:

Using the following list as a starting point, select your top 8-10 or so current areas of focus or importance. Please change the wording to reflect your thinking, and add any areas that aren’t on the list. They might be large or small aspects of life, it doesn’t matter, all that counts is that they are important to you right now in your life.

  • Work
  • Family / Partner
  • Friends
  • Social life
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Physical environment
  • Sense of Identity
  • Feeling useful
  • Intellectual life
  • Working to (or beyond) capacity
  • Creativity
  • Engagement versus boredom
  • Structured versus unstructured time
  • Hobbies, fun, recreation
  • Learning and adventures
  • Spiritual life
  • Community
  • Giving back, service
  • The future, what lies ahead
  • Dealing with change
  • Shrinking or growing sense of what’s possible
  • Legacy
  •  Other?

Now, rate your current level of satisfaction with each of your top  8-10 areas of focus. Use  score out of ten, where 1 is ‘not satisfied at all’ and 10 is ‘completely satisfied’. This is entirely personal, and based on your sense of fulfilment or ‘Okay-ness’ or contentment with that area. For example, two individuals may be working beyond normal capacity, and one is ‘fully satisfied’ with that, and the other ‘very unsatisfied’.

Think about areas where you want to change something. What could you do about that? Can you use the areas where life and work are going well to give you support while you work on something else?

What does your snapshot show you?

Joanna Maxwell


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