We often challenge our patients to look deeply to find their own answers as to how they can live better, happier, more satisfying lives. But, frankly, when was the last time you and I spent time seeking to uncover our own answers to the question: “What would it take right now to create my best possible life?”
It is clear that COVID-19 has required all of us to change certain things in our lives. While being forced to make some changes, we have also been given the invitation - should we choose to accept it - to spend some time extracting the data from ourselves: what will most likely lead to expanding my life’s satisfaction and joy?
For example, because of the pandemic, I haven’t been in my therapy office since March 13th of last year! One question I never expected I could ask myself before COVID that I’ve been asking myself currently is one you may be asking yourself too: when the pandemic is over, will I be living my best possible life were I to continue to “see” patients solely from my home or were I to return to my office?
This question naturally prompts more questions: Would my life be better if I had a hybrid schedule with “office hours” one day a week and the remainder of my sessions online from home? Do I do better work in my office? Do I miss the camaraderie of office life? Would I most enjoy the option of both home and “office” offices? If I continue to offer telemedicine, will I be opening myself to be able to help many more clients - those who live in all parts of the state I’m licensed in rather than limiting myself to a smaller local population of patients?
As a result of the pandemic, we seem to have a more wide-ranging quantity of professional and personal choices. Hence, it’s even more important that we make the time for a focused self-inquiry: where am I in my personal and professional life? What do I want my days and nights to look like? What can I afford financially? Do I want to do something different with my career, expand my learning and my options? What have I dreamed of doing, being, and having that I might now make possible?
To some of you, this type of inquiry - what is best for me in this one wonderful life I have - may appear narcissistic, self-involved or otherwise objectionable. But truly, isn’t that what we are trying to offer our patients? Don’t we all want to live our best life possible? Certainly, we must feel that we deserve no less than we help others see what they deserve. And let us take note that the single most popular courses ever at Harvard and Yale are about happiness!
One of the “pandemic bonuses,” is normalizing the value of spending time to not only allow but to encourage ourselves to find and then live with more happiness, fulfillment, peace and love - maybe live a life that up until now we’ve only dreamed was possible?
Perhaps this type of inquiry will then become a regular and valuable way to check in that we are maintaining the goal of actually living our best possible life.
Thinking about what we’d like to see improved, or have less of, is one very useful way to discover what we’d like to create more of in our best possible life. For example, let’s say I might want to stop seeing the juvenile population I have been working with for a few years because I find it depressing. How can I take that data to expand the population I do want to work with and develop a different specialty that I might see as more appealing at this point in my life?
I can offer a specific scenario for you to have what may become your best possible life, one with a whole new set of clients that will allow you to help needy folks from every state, work online in your office or from home on confidential connections, learn a new skill and become an expert in something everyone on the planet is facing - aging families.
During my 50 years as a psychotherapist, attorney, professor, coach, and author, I created a program where I train and certify qualified individuals - mostly psychotherapists but also counselors, ministers, priests and rabbis, nurses, and other professionals to become Parenting Our Parents (POP) Family Coaches. With this teaching, they - or you - can practice anywhere in the world as you help families transform the challenges of our aging loved ones into a journey of love.
Even prior to COVID, my certified coaches were conducting almost all sessions online, so no office was needed; neither are there limitations on whom the coaches can help imposed by state licensing boards. When you think about how you’d like to spend your days and how you’d like to make your contribution, consider that your best possible life might be becoming a POP Family Coach. If so, I encourage you to explore https://parentingourparents.org/. We are currently offering a discount on our Certified POP Coaching Program until October 10, 2021 to My Wellbeing members.
Whether it be a decline in our caseload, self-isolating at home with family, or moving out of our offices, we’ve all had to learn how to implement “COVID-19 required” changes with as much grace as possible. But let us not forget that we can effectuate optional changes as well. And so I urge you, my fellow therapists, to make the time for yourself to discover what will lead you to have your best life possible - and then go and get it!
Family love expert, coach, advocate and author, Jane Wolf Frances, M.S.W., J.D., is a licensed psychotherapist, attorney and the founder of ParentingOurParents™ (POP) and its unique POP Family Coaching Program that helps families with aging seniors successfully navigate the many confusing and complex practical, emotional, financial, legal and other challenges. Jane offers qualified professionals the opportunity to become Certified as POP Family Coaches as well as offering POP Family Coaching to families. She has spent five decades honing her skills as a problem-solver, applying her special brand of “listening” to the concerns presented by her clients. Please visit ParentingOurParents.org to see if becoming a POP Family Coach could add to your best life possible.