Figure Out What's Next

Discovering What Matters -- A Powerful Self-Assessment Tool

career change jeremy koch purposeful living self-assessment Apr 03, 2010
road map

by Jeremy Koch

photo by Dominika

One of my goals in this blog is to make my readers aware of resources available in the market that can help to build self-awareness and plan a midlife career change or retirement transition.  I recently came across a workbook that provides an excellent roadmap for planning just such a major life event.

The Discovering What Matters Workbook was created by The Metlife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with the highly regarded life coach, Richard Leider.  Leider, who has written several best-sellers related to midlife transition, is founder and chairman of The Inventure Group, a coaching and consulting firm near Minneapolis. As a consultant and lecturer, he has worked with over 100,000 executives from 50 corporations worldwide. His most well known book, "Repacking Your Bags," has become something of a classic in the field and provides the groundwork for much of the material found in the Discovering What Matters Workbook.

The exercises included in Discovering What Matters were created to provide a self-guided process that would ultimately allow individuals to get greater clarity into their own personal priorities and bring their goals into a closer alignment with their individual vision of what represents "the good life."

Throughout the workbook, Leider uses the metaphor of "repacking," or realigning yourself with your true sense of purpose.  The exercises are designed to be thought-provoking and to stimulate self-reflection.  In essence, they are all designed to ask the question:  What would you like to bring along with you on this next phase of your life journey? What would you like to leave behind?

Here's a quick rundown of the individual exercises in the process:

  • The Life Spiral: Charting your life on an upward spiral. Gauging where you are in your life today and where you would like to be by the end of it so that you will consider your life to have been well lived.
  • Trigger Sheet:  Identifying 'trigger' experiences that have shaped your life story. These may include births, deaths, break-ups, emotional breakdowns, and career shifts. The aim is to identify and focus on the key life lessons from these events. 
  • The Good Life Inventory: An exploration of how your current lifestyle reflects your own personal vision of what makes up a good life.
  • The Repacking Place:  Here the focus shifts to physical location and the degree to which the place you live supports -- or detracts from -- the achievement of your life goals.
  • How Much Is Enough: A practical scorecard that explores how much you need financially to live the lifestyle you aspire to, how much longer you will need to work, and whether you should consult a financial advisor to determine your financial needs.
  • The Repacking Sounding Board:  Here Leider discusses the importance of assembling a group of supportive friends and colleagues who can act as a wise counsel for you -- and what you should be looking for from them.
  • What's Next: A prescription for how to follow through with the process to make sure that you apply the lessons from these exercised to achieving your goals.

Leider's set of exercises provides is one of the best tools I have seen for a self-guided process of personal discovery and life planning.  It provides a structure for clarifying your life goals into concise, do-able actions, allowing you to see in simple terms what types of behaviors or situations demand realignment so that you can achieve your own personal hopes and dreams. 

You can download this workbook for free. 


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