People are sometimes a little surprised to find out that I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since the fourth grade. Even earlier I kind of suspected, but in grade four I won my first writing contest, placing above kids in the fifth and sixth grades. That’s when I had an “A-HA!! I’m good at this! This is what I’m supposed to do!” moment of clarity. That’s not to say I had my whole life figured out since I was 10 years old. I knew I should write but had no idea what sort of writing I wanted to do or even how many different kinds of writing there were. Throughout the years my focus shifted a lot. I’ve dabbled in everything from fiction, poetry and drama to speeches, advertising and journalism. I enjoy some forms better than others, but one thing has remained constant since I was a kid and that’s my desire to write. It’s my purpose in life and I was fortunate enough to realise that at a young age.

I realise not everyone is as fortunate or consciously self-aware, but on some level I think we all know what we’re supposed to be doing. If you aren’t consciously aware, you should take the time to look deep within yourself and find out. Here’s an exercise from Cheryl Richardson’s Life Makeover that will help.

1. Finish the following sentences with at least ten answers for each one:

I am

I will not

I would like

I will

I love

I hate

2. What advice would you give yourself at this time in your life? (fill at least one page)

3. Imagine you were interviewing *you* and answer the following questions:

What three major choices brought you to this point in your life?

Looking back, what three things do you wish you had tried?

If you had to choose an object that represented your future, what would it be?

If you had to choose an object that represented your past, what would it be?

What tasks or assignments would you say you’ve been given in your life so far?

4. Complete the following four exercises:

List three internal changes you’ll need to make to live a more meaningful life.

List three external changes you’ll need to make to live a more meaningful life.

List three positive qualities that you feel proud of possessing.

List three qualities that you’d like to develop.

5. If you could try five new jobs over the next year what would they be?

Once you’ve finished the exercises, put the answers somewhere out of sight for safe keeping. Turn to December 1st in this year’s calendar and make a note of where you’ve hidden this information. Then, forget about it until the end of the year. There’s a second part of the exercise Cheryl says we’ll do in December. You may want to sign up for the life-makeover newsletter just in case I forget to post the second part. But even if you only do this part, it’s still a valuable exercise. When you look at your answers again, in retrospect, you may find you know yourself better than you think you do.

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