A Blank Piece of Paper: 5 steps to the life you want

I write this from New Zealand where I have had to quickly come due to the sudden death of my father. Being so far away from my London home, friends, business and the routine of life to face the death and burial of my father has left me questioning many elements of my life that I had taken for granted.

I feel deep grief and sometimes the numbness that this loss can cause one to experience. My children have lost their last remaining grandparent and I feel bereft. Yet here we are, half a world away from our home, having Christmas in summer and travelling around the country visiting family. I feel disassociated from my normal life in London and also my business.

It has been hard during this time to find a silver lining to this experience.

What it has given me though is the chance to deeply reflect on what I want my life to be about, where I want to be and what I want to be doing. It has given me a sudden wake-up call to reappraise all aspects of my life.

It is as if a blank piece of paper has appeared in front of me for me to create the life I want from now on. Could this be the gift I have from this shock?

I haven’t been one to amble through life aimlessly but I have noticed in recent years as a business owner, mother and sole breadwinner, that my perceived options have become more limited. It is now, from all of this, I realise that it’s time to shake my perceptions up and broaden my horizons!

When I coach and mentor my clients, if they perceive their options to be limited, they start to close down their thinking and their opportunities. As their coach, it is my role to open their minds to other possibilities and alternatives.

I have had a shock to get me to reappraise my options and this is not something I would recommend! So as we start the new year, this is the perfect time for you to take stock of where you are in your life and business and take a blank piece of paper to create your own future, free of any thinking that may be constraining you. This is a wonderful opportunity to imagine ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ and ‘maybe’.

Really stretch your thinking and your imagination as the further you are stretched and removed from your current reality, the more options you will perceive.

The one thing I have truly learnt in the last two weeks is that we do only have one life, so we may as well enjoy it and make it a life where there is pleasure in every day.

This is your life, your future, so you take an afternoon to ponder, imagine and design! Follow the steps below as your guide.

Step One: Throw Away Your Inner Critic

All of us have a little voice in our heads, our ‘inner critic’. That is the voice that may be telling you ‘you don’t deserve this”, or ‘you don’t have the right experience to be successful” or that ‘the economy is so bad, how will I survive”.

This inner critic does a great job of protecting you but it also holds you back and stops you from living up to your true potential.

So, for this exercise, put that voice on hold! You can control your thoughts. Practice silencing your inner critic as you let your imagination unfold!

Step Two: What Do I Love About My Life?

Take a piece of paper and write down all the things you love about your life and business right now.

Consider the following as you start to write your list:

  • what has gone really well for you in the last five years
  • what experiences have given you fabulous memories
  • what’s made you laugh
  • when were you filled with pride
  • the people you have connected with
  • special moments that you cherish
  • how you love to fill your day

Are there any photos, mementos or objects you would like to add to your list to make this life-love audit three dimensional?

Step Three: When I was Little I Used To Dream Of……..

Cast your mind back to when you were younger and you truly believed the world was your oyster. What did you used to dream of doing?

I dreamt of travelling the world, living in an orange grove in Spain and working in New York. Considering I grew up on a farm in country New Zealand, these were pretty big dreams!

What were your dreams? When you were 21 what did you imagine your future to be?

Jot down your memories and thoughts on a fresh piece of paper.

Step Four: If I Could Be, Do or Have Anything……

Time to get your imagination into action!!!

Imagine you had no limits, no financial constraints and time is on your side……what would you love to be, to do and to have?

Where would you be living, what would you be doing, what would a week in your ideal life be like? Who would you be friends with? What type of business would you be doing – how would you be making an income? What would you do in your spare time? What passions would you be following?

You may want to think about people who inspire you, what would you love to emulate about their lives?

What legacy would you like to leave behind? What do you want people to say about you when you have passed away?

Often when we do our business visioning we forget to consider our whole life yet as business owners we are our business and our life needs to be integral to all of our considerations.

Dream away and again, jot down your thoughts and ideas…..remember no judging!

Step Five: Gathering It All Together

Now you have had a chance to recollect your dreams, imagine your future and think about what you love about your life now, let’s pull it all together onto your new blank sheet of paper for your life!

Again, remember to silence your inner critic!

Review all of your jottings and notes from the previous steps.

  • What key themes are you noticing?
  • What stirs you?
  • What makes your heart sing?

Take your blank sheet of paper and write (you may prefer to draw) the description of your future.

You may wish to use these questions as a framework to pull together your thinking from the previous steps.

  • Where am I living?
  • What do I do in my spare time?
  • How do I earn an income?
  • What type of people do I interact with?
  • Who are my customers?
  • What does a typical week hold for me?
  • Am I travelling?
  • The passions I am following are….
  • What flexibility do I have?
  • What new experiences do I have?
  • What type of close relationships do I have?
  • When I fall asleep at night what am I most happy about?

Now you have created your future, what next? Ponder your creation for a month, add to it, refine it, make it real. Next month my article will be about bringing it to life.

About the Author: Wendy Kerr is an expert in Corporate Crossovers® –  women who have left corporate careers to start their own businesses. Her company, Corporate Crossovers®, offers coaching, mentoring and resources to enable these women to thrive in their businesses and their lives. For more information, and your free guide on “Discover the Four Blocks that Stop You From Earning What You Used To and How to Overcome Them ”, visit http://www.CorporateCrossovers.com

Wendy has been coaching for over nine years and has worked with hundreds of clients to help them achieve their goals.  Before she became a Corporate Crossover herself, she spent 20 years in corporate, including as General Manager of high profile internet start-ups, FT.com and Quicken.com.au and marketing global brands including Apple, Smirnoff, Tia Maria and Colgate.

Through her company, Corporate Crossovers®,Wendy works with women business owners to help them get more focus in their business, feel more in control of their work and to make more income. For more information, and your free e-book to “Discover the Four Blocks that Stop You From Earning What You Used To and How to Overcome Them ”, visit http://www.CorporateCrossovers.com


Wendy Kerr

Director for The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Auckland University.The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is the hub for the development and promotion of innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurial activities within the University.We create experiential programmes, workshops and events to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, to transform the mindsets of our students and staff to support the growth of New Zealand as a prosperous and creative nation.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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