Doing an Evaluation is one of the best things we can do to begin our journey to an alive existence.
It’s a process that helps us come back to our center, figure out what it is we really want out of life, and then set a plan based on our heart, and not what we think we’re “supposed” to do. It’s way too easy for old habits (or demands from people and circumstances) to creep into our lives and push our true desires to the side.
Evaluations take time, and I recommend doing an evaluation at least once every three months. As we begin to step out into our dreams, we find pieces of ourselves we never knew existed before, which usually requires an adjustment to the plan. And even if nothing has changed, it’s good to refresh the conviction we held originally. This is how we begin to live our lives on purpose, instead of letting life push us around. This usually takes me a full day to complete.
So how does it work?
First things first, you have to remove your current emotional boundaries. All those things that are setting up roadblocks and keeping you from your true heart. This could be relational boundaries like marriage, parenthood, or birth order. Or it could be physical boundaries like your financial situation, geographic location, or job title. It could even be related to age, sex, or handicaps.
At this phase, I want you to consider things from a purely emotional perspective. I want you to stop asking yourself what you want to do, or what type of person you are, and I want you to start with asking yourself how you want to feel.
I’ve laid out 7 different areas to evaluate from your life:
Again, while evaluating these areas, think strictly on an emotional level. If you get stuck, and can’t think of how you’d like to feel, think instead about everything you hate or slightly dislike about each area. Sometimes negative emotions are all we can muster up, but even that shows us more about ourselves. Remember, you never have to show this evaluation to anybody, so give yourself permission to tell the truth.
How do you want your relationships to feel? Romantic, indulgent, comfortable, exciting? Break it down even further to family, significant other, kids, work colleagues, neighbors. Whatever relationships are affecting you in your life, decide how you want them to feel.
WARNING! This is where ideals can get in your way. You may start thinking of how you are SUPPOSED to feel about certain relationships, or how you’d like other people to see you, or even what kind of person you think you should be, but these ideals are all traps that will keep you from your truth. And the closer you can get to your truth, the more alive you will become. So be brave, and answer yourself truthfully.
Occupation is simply what you are doing with the majority of your time. It doesn’t necessarily have to make you money. It’s a main identity point and will take up much of your focus. Again, remove your current boundaries here. You’re not thinking about what job you’d like to have, or what you think you’re capable of. This is where you say, how do I want to feel? Do you want to feel organized, direct, powerful, comfortable, peaceful, like you’re accomplishing great things, etc..?
This is where you evaluate how you want to look. Be truthful. How do your looks affect your emotions? Again, don’t get caught in theories or ideals here. If you have a strong dislike for the media’s idea of the perfect person, or you think it’s shallow to consider your figure, those are ideals. Ask yourself how you really feel about yourself? And then ask how you want to feel. Remember, truth is what will make you come alive, not ideals or perfection.
When evaluating your environment, think of the way things look, feel, and smell around you. The environment we surround ourselves in greatly affects our mood, and even outlook on life. How do you want your environment to feel? Calming, invigorating, indulgent, fast-paced, artistically inspiring? Think about what emotion you want to surround yourself with. Do you want different emotions for different areas? Work, home, car.
How do you want to feel health wise? Energetic, sharp, clean, relaxed? Really think about it. Is there anything that’s bothering you right now that you’ve been ignoring? Is your health affecting you emotionally? How do you feel now? What do you hate? How do you wish you could feel?
How do you want to feel about your finances? Again, what do you hate? Do you need to de-stress? Do you want to feel more control, do you need to let loose a little?
What kind of fun do you want to have? Do you want to be intellectually stimulated? Use your body, like in a sport? Are you social? Just need quiet? Do you want a balance? Do you want to ditch fun completely and dig into work? Be honest. You’re not required to want something from everything.
Now that you’ve finished step one, I want you to look at all the same areas again, but this time your going to ask yourself what these feelings look like. I want you to keep your boundaries down. So even if it seems like something completely ridiculous for you, or something that can’t possibly become a reality, I don’t care. This is the point where you see what picture comes into your mind when you think of your desired feelings.
Go through each of the areas again, referencing your notes from the first set of questions, and attach pictures to those feelings… but keep those boundaries down.
Now, I want you to look at those pictures from step two, and instead of saying to yourself, “Can I make this happen?” I want you to say, “How do I make this happen?” By changing the question, you force yourself to think outside of your current ideas and boundaries, and view things from a different angle. Spend time on each area, and really challenge yourself to come up with answers. Remembering that an alive version of yourself is the best thing you can offer anyone around you… or the world as a whole.
If something is literally impossible, or there would be too much collateral damage, think about modified versions, or other pictures that could create those emotions. But DO NOT use this as an excuse to lay up. Value yourself enough to live your life on purpose, in a way that will make you come alive.
This is where your goals become a plan. Starting at the goal, work backwards, breaking it down into bite size steps. All these steps should be actionable, or put differently, something you can check off on a list. (You can check out my post on making an action plan here, if you want further direction on this.)
Know this, anything (and I mean anything) can be accomplished if you have belief, patience, and humility. Believing in yourself is a process, and has a lot to do with who and what you surround yourself with. Patience is needed because you need to be willing to do what it takes, which usually involves time. And humility is needed because you need to be willing to reach beyond your current understanding and grow in who you are.
The important part, is to begin. Begin living a life that you’ve designed based on who you truly are. Leave behind what the world has set aside for you, which usually isn’t very much.
Consider this permission granted to come alive.