The old advice used to be that you needed to find a mentor to help you through your career choices. Life must have been a lot simpler. In today’s reality of multiple jobs, the ability and ease of changing up a career path and the sheer number of choices each of us face every day, one mentor isn’t really going to cut it. The new approach is to build a team that can help you create an intentional life. Your relationships, your community, your work, all your choices should help you build towards the life you want – while ensuring you can stay true to yourself along the way.
There’s no blueprint or roadmap to help us know if we’re making the right decisions or not. But there is one thing you can do to help make it easier and that’s building a ‘life team’.
What Is It and Why Would You Need One?
A life team is a hand-selected group of people that you believe can bring value to your life. But unlike on the playground at recess, rather than picking the most athletic team members, these are people with myriad skills, experiences and strengths that can provide valuable, timely advice and help you navigate through the challenges and complexities of life.
It’s easy to think that as we go through life we must fend for ourselves; however this is far from the truth. Being able to learn from others and bounce ideas off each other can be beneficial to both parties, and having trusted professional relationships can help in many aspects of life. They can act as a sounding board for tough decisions, be there to help with decision-making when at a crossroads, and provide emotional support when the going gets tough.
We’ve broken down the big areas where you may want to find counsel and support in different disciplines – but of course, all of these can work in multiple situations.
Building Your Financial Foundation
One aspect of your life team that may already be established is your financial team. This consists of professionals that can help navigate the financial side of life and typically includes roles such as a financial advisor, a CPA, and an attorney.
Since everyone has to file taxes, a CPA is usually one of the first relationships that gets established. However, CPAs and accountants usually do more than just taxes and can play a critical role when it comes to helping to build your wealth.
And just like an accountant does more than just taxes, financial advisors typically do more than just investments. Having a trusted financial advisor in your corner may turn out to be one of the best investments you make because they help steer the ship in your financial life. From helping manage financial risk to growing your net worth to helping uncover and clarify your goals, a financial advisor is there with you through it all.
And when it comes to the legal aspect of finances, a trusted attorney is another professional relationship that can bring value. One of the biggest aspects of your financial life that an attorney can help with is estate planning. You’ll want to get this started early, and keep them updated about your situation over time, so they can provide better solutions as things change.
Ideally, these three professionals will work in tandem to provide you with confidence and clarity in both your professional and your financial life.
Finding Your Guides Through Life
Most of us spend most of our time on a few things – our family, our hobbies and passions, and our career. When it comes to our careers, it’s easy to begin feeling stuck or complacent and that’s where career and life mentors can play a vital role.
The typical role that a life coach plays is helping individuals feel more fulfilled by clarifying their goals, identifying what’s holding them back, and then coming up with strategies to help them move forward. If you’ve felt stuck in life or in your career, a life coach may be the unlock to success and happiness.
Mentors are still valuable – you just may need more than one.. With a career mentor, it’s wise to seek out someone who’s a few years ahead of you as well as someone who’s a couple decades ahead of you. The reason is because these relationships can help build perspectives that you wouldn’t have and through these conversations, you can create a history that speeds up your own learning curve so you can effectively advance and progress through your career. A good mentoring relationship is just that – a relationship. It should be valuable to both people.
Staying Centered Through It All
As we all know, life comes at us fast. We’re always solving the next problem while trying to keep up with our current way of life and finding time to work on careers while spending time with family, while following your own passions and interests. It’s tough to find that fleeting equilibrium that we call work-life balance.
A common route that people take when trying to find balance in their life is picking up new or forgotten hobbies. This may be something you enjoyed as a kid that got pushed to the side as life picked up speed, or a passion that you’ve never had the time to explore. Having a hobby or activity that can help take your mind off the day to day stresses of life is an effective way to not only stay centered, but to also live a more fulfilled life.
The rise of our digital lives, and in particular social media, is often cited as one of the negatives of modern society – but there is a big benefit, if you avail yourself of it. The proliferation of apps, blogs, and influencers who focus on wellness makes it incredibly easy to incorporate these elements into your life. The level of comfort we all have now with videoconferencing has added yet another element.
Creating a meditation practice, developing a yoga or other spiritual-based exercise routine you can incorporate into your mornings, even joining a like-minded community that works towards change – these can all add a necessary element of discipline, health and clear-mindedness that can be hard to access as we go through our daily lives.
Through intentional relationship building, you can begin to form a team of people around you that can provide valuable advice and necessary feedback. When seeking out a life team, it’s important that you first understand your own weaknesses so you can determine the most impactful relationships to build. To get the most out of your life team, make sure you stay in regular contact and share updates, accomplishments, and challenges because this will make them feel like they’re a part of your story and your mission which will only increase the value of the relationship for everyone.
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