Is This Going to Require Homework?

by Dennis Blank

Call it what you want, says Coach Lou, but reinventing a life does require real effort.

OMG, Lou. You already want me to do homework? We went to high school together; don’t you recall that this was a severe shortcoming of mine? And it’s a good thing most of the guys I golf with don’t read or they’d be keeling over at the thought of me putting my golf skills in the left-hand column of this list. I’ll have to think about this task a bit. I liked what you said about taking my time to reflect—I can do that. I also like the idea of thinking of this as a journey rather than a plan, but doesn’t a journey into unknown territory require a map? And even if the destination isn’t known, don’t I need to pick a starting direction?

I already have a goal. I’m looking for a way to occupy my time that I enjoy, which will take up no more than 20 to 40 hours per week, and which has some redeeming value to someone else. This last point is important; otherwise, I would simply invest in a world-class beach chair and park myself on some sand pile someplace and read books and magazines all day long. I really enjoy that, but it is unlikely to lead to a cure for cancer or a path to world peace in my lifetime. I would like to do something meaningful.

Your pal, 'd

Dear d’: High school is so yesterday, so time to move on. You have been working for the past 40 years and I am sure you did some of that work at home (homework, get it?). If it makes you feel any better, then call it “fieldwork.” You have got to take some action toward making the plan happen or you will just sleepwalk through Life 3.0 and wonder what the hell happened. As far as your skills, how much do you care what your friends think?

You are absolutely right that a journey (at least one that is not aimless) requires a destination and then a map. So our first step together is to discover the destination—and here’s where the fieldwork might actually help. One of the considerations is that the destination has to engage you in something meaningful for 20 to 40 hours a week, while still allowing you to engage in other important things like family. Are you sure you aren’t looking for a job?

A dear friend of mine launched a business from the ideas he had while sitting on a beach chair. Maybe that would be a good investment. I want you to play a bigger game, and it can be something that is significant as well as possible for you. You, my friend, have many gifts and passions to put to use. Let’s discover what they are from your reflections and the lists.

Coach Lou


Coach Lou is a co-founder of Chain Reaction Partners, an executive and leadership training consultancy in Boulder, Colo. d’blank is the author of The Daily Blank blog.

Lou, let me just confirm, as an absolute fact, that I am not looking for a job. I’ve had jobs and they are greatly overrated. As to the “fieldwork”—it sounds like it requires a lot of introspection. I don’t think I can just bang it out. How long do I have? A month or six weeks sounds about right to me.


d': Of course you don't bang out “reflection”; you take your time to think about what worked, what didn’t and what you learned along the way. Take all the time you want to reflect, but get off your lazy duff and make a list this week!

Coach Lou

by Dennis Blank | Friday, March 26, 2010 | Career Change, Dream Careers, Hiring a Life Coach

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