Sixteen years ago this week I started a whole new life in Austin. My new life in Austin bears little resemblance to the 48 years I spent in Des Moines, Iowa. Since the move, I have completely reformulated my life. I live a life by design. And, oh, it’s been so sweet. A sweet 16 years.

It all began with a book and a definition. I read Repacking Your Bags, by Leider and Shapiro. They were a couple of recovering advertising people in Minnesota who decided to chuck their harried lifestyle for something different. Their definition of success stopped me cold:

Success is

living in a place you belong,

with people you love,

doing the right work,

on purpose.

Yes, their vision of success stopped me cold. I stopped running on the treadmill that was my life and considered something new. Soon, I felt inspired to make this vision of success a reality for myself.

Living in a place you belong: With today’s digital world, it’s crazy not to live in a city where you feel at home. If you are self-employed, you can work from any city on the planet. If you have a global or national responsibility, you can often telecommute from your own home office. Whenever I coach job seekers and they say, “I’d really like to live in _________,” I always say, “Go there. Become a part of the community. Find your passion there.” I learned about Austin back in the late 80’s and 90’s when my sister’s 3 children went to the University of Texas. I heard what the city had to offer and it thrilled me. For about 2 years I actively arranged my life so that a move was possible. I completed a 4-year stint as a Training Director, learning everything I could about how to be a freelance trainer. Once I had that experience, I felt ready to move and create my own business.

Live with people you love. Perhaps you’ve experienced the excitement, frustration and pain of a long distance relationship. Even if it works, it won’t for long. Someone has to move to make it whole. I extend that thought to my extended family relationships. When I moved to Austin, I timed it to be the same year my son graduated from college. My goal: grandbabies in Austin. Since I moved here, my personal circle of family has grown from 2 nieces, 2 spouses, and 1 nephew to a gaggle of 23 family members. I have 3 grandchildren here, and 1 more on the way. I LOVE being close to family. Living here, loving my family here, is a dream come true.

Doing the right work. Now, there’s a tough one. What in the world does “right work” look like? First, it’s important not to confuse work with a job. You can love your work and despise your job. Some people love their work activities, their clients and the results they create. Yet, they have circumstances that make the job unpleasant: overwhelming hours, a micro-managing boss, slacker coworkers, company policies they don’t like, etc. Right work, on the other hand, is pretty easy to spot. Right work fits your personality; it feels comfortable, it is challenging and meaningful to you.  Discovering your perfect work can be as easy as having several long conversations with a Career Coach. Talking about your experiences of the past can easily bring out what types of work activities feed your passion, build your confidence, and satisfy your soul. It’s not easy, but it’s a simple process that fulfills me. I’d love to do it with you.

Living on purpose. Do you feel great satisfaction when an event or project you’ve planned is complete? That feeling of satisfaction can be yours every day when you begin living life on purpose. When you know your purpose, choices are easier to make. It’s easier to say “no” to the things that don’t serve you, and “yes” to the things that do. For most of us, this means a shift in thinking. It means waking up to our lives and consciously choosing the ideas, media, events, experiences and people we allow into our lives.

I’m grateful that I found Leider and Shapiro’s book back in 1997.

I’m grateful to the wonderful friends and business associates I’ve made in Austin.

I’m grateful to my clients for sharing their career stories and their dreams with me.

Here’s to YOUR sweet success!

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