Here are my thoughts and steps on how to to "design a life" ..instead of been blown about by the winds of life (like a paper bag), or the currents, like a jelly-fish. Enough similes! 1.Find the VISION. Unless you know where you're going, you are unlikely to get there. Any place where you are is a good place to start. Ask yourself: What activities have you most enjoyed in the last 10 years? What is fun? What do you treasure? What do you most want to be doing in the next 10 years? I'd love to write, help and hopefully even inspire others. Which of your strengths and weaknesses are a joy to you? What do people say you are good at? What is special about you? List ideally what would you be doing? Living at the beach, writing and travelling...and be financially secure, of course! Ideally what would you want to be? A successful author was my goal. Ask WHY do you need those things? What are those status symbols for? Define your vision. Write it down in less than 10 words. Does it involve other people? What do I most want to be doing? Why? What do I most care about? Why? What steps can I take to move me closer to doing what I really want to do with my life? Find your niche - your unique skills? Think about WHO will pay you to enjoy yourself. Instead of worrying about being sacked, think who will pay you to have fun? Where do you want to work? With whom, in what sort of company? Look for a picture of your ideal environment: home, as well as work. 3. PLAN ahead carefully. Doing this reduces false starts and wrong directions. Most people spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do their "blueprint for life". Put it all down in writing. My advice: "Think big, but start small". The prominent American psychologist, Carl Rogers said: "The only real security is the preparedness to embrace insecurity". Be the YOU you most intend to be? Take stock, review your plan and prioritize your life goals. 4. Make the COMMITMENT. Stop saying you're going to do it and actually DO IT. Put in the work and write out the cheques. This involves going past the point of no return. Make commitments: to yourself, to your loved ones in terms of time, energy and money. Then stick to it and take full responsibility for the outcome. 5. Spell out the details of the PLAN. Think it all through and concentrate hard. What are you going to do? How are you going to do it, step by step? What needs to be done and in what order of priority? What resources do you have at your disposal? What are your expenditure needs? Reaffirm your commitment through a personal budget. Be flexible in your thinking, as circumstances usually change...and we can't foresee the future. And most importantly, THINK BIG. 6. Develop a network of people to help you achieve your goals (and you can help them achieve their goals at the same time). First, you must be aware of them. It's a "win-win" situation. Be enthusiastic at all times, because enthusiasm is catching. 7. Take ACTION, that first step...then the next will follow naturally ...and far more easily. Nothing can stop you now. "Roll up the sleeves" and get down to work. I believe the first prerequisite for success is loving what you do. I love writing, although it's very lonely (and probably the world's most solitary occupation). Always remember, life is not a 100 metres sprint - it's a marathon. So rest when you feel you need to and don't feel guilty about it (something I have to learn!). Have fun along the journey. Perservere and persist in your quest. Take responsibility for your own abundance and your learning throughout the 'game of life'. Appreciate your abundance daily and give thanks to the Universe for what you do have. Have faith in yourself - believe deeply in yourself, but even more deeply in a Power far Greater than yourself... who loves you and wants what's best for you. The spiritual journey may take far longer than you thought, so be patient. NB: Always remember, The measure of success is not money, but learning and growth. Measure success in learning and growth - nothing else is important. Work is a place each of us creates in order to grow. It is the laboratory for experimenting with our potential 10. When working for yourself, this is a time of unprecedented change in your life. Work allows you to put into place skills and knowledge acquired through education. It is a time to experiment with our potential and the various demands made upon us. Initially we learn to work in teams, working towards a common objective. Then gradually in our working careers we learn to take on more and more responsibility. Believe you deserve to be abundant - though not more than others. It's a matter of finding a balance between your ambitions and your responsibilities. Be accountable and socially responsible. You can't force people to change. Listen to your intuition, truth and love. That is the "voice" of the Higher Power, God speaking to you. Wherever you are, what better time to start than NOW! Craig Lock * Craig Lock is the author of numerous books and articles on money management and life assurance, as well as how to make the most of your life. He lives in beautiful and tranquil New Zealand), where he has thetime, space and peace of mind to think about life and write.