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This past week our Women’s Employee Network (WEN), one of nine employee networks at BCBSNC, invited Stefanie Zizzo, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), to share tips with our employees about “Creating the Life You Want.” Stefanie addressed over 80 employees, and spoke about how we can take control of our lives to achieve personal and professional success. We understand how tough it can be to carve out time to take a look at personal goals, but planning and vision are essential to success.

Needless to say, the attendees came back truly inspired.

I was able to chat with Stefanie after the event to gather a few additional tips that can help anyone work toward building the life they want – check out what she had to say:

Allison: You shared tips with our employees about how to “create the life you want.” What advice can you share with anyone looking to make a change and live their life to the fullest?

Stefanie: There are many things you can do to create the life you want, but here are a few steps that can help you get started:

  1. Appreciate What You Already Have – When you see the value and potential you already possess, it increases your confidence and resources for your future.How do you find ways to be grateful for what you have? Here are a few things you can do:
  • Reflect on some of your peak moments: Think of your most memorable achievements. Why they so memorable? It’s because these moments highlight times when your strengths, capabilities and passion were being used.  Write these experiences in a journal, as a list, or even use spreadsheet – whatever works for you – so you can remember your strengths.
  • Write daily gratitudes: Choosing at least three things you are grateful for that day, ideally that have to do with different areas of your life, try to choose something different each day. Write these down to make sure you think through the positive things happening in your life.
  1. Imagine What Could Be – Possibilities are endless, so take a minute to think, “What life DO I want?” Many people don’t actually take the time to envision their life goals, but it’s important to live your life on purpose – Don’t just let life happen to you. Here’s some ideas to help you start visioning:
  • Do a little creative writing: Pretend you’re a year or two in the future and write a letter to a friend updating them on your life. Begin your sentences with “I am doing…”, “I have started…”, so it’s as if you’ve already started taking actions and progress on your goals. It may help you uncover the next step you need to take to get started.
  • Create a visual representation of your ideal life: Choose images that reflect what you want your life to be like. You can create this as a vision board, a folder with pictures from magazines, or even a Pinterest board. These images will help you visualize what the “life you want” looks like.
  1. Act in Alignment – Use what you already have – strengths, values, passions – and the vision you have created to make your daily choices support the future you’re trying to create for yourself. There are a few things you can do to make sure you actually follow through:
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Stefanie talks to a WEN at BCBSNC. Photo: Allison Bonner

  • Create a written plan: Write down small, measurable steps that keep you focused on your vision – this could include some milestone goals or even just little to-do list tasks you need to complete to get you started on the right path. Be sure to celebrate your progress along the way!
  • Act like you’re already living the dream: Make your actions, decisions, behavior mirror how you would behave if you were already living the life you want.  Ask yourself “how would I respond to this issue or decision right now if I were living the life I want?”

A: You came for our Women’s Employee Network event – what coaching advice do you give to women in business? Is there a common theme in your career coaching sessions with women?

S: More confidence is what many of my clients are seeking! I often hear women say things like, “when I have confidence I will…”, or “If I had confidence I would…”. We all crave confidence because it feels like certainty, which is something we all crave in our lives. We often stay in our comfort zone because it’s what we know, but simply being comfortable may not be what we truly want. We think we need confidence in order to be able step out of our comfort zone and achieve more, but what we really need is courage to be our best selves and stretch beyond what’s comfortable. What people don’t always realize is that courage builds confidence. So be courageous and confidence will follow.

A: When someone thinks they’re ready to start making changes to live the life they want, how can they decide if it’s the right time to push themselves out of their comfort zone and take that next step?

Some of the members of WEN after Stefanie's talk.

Some of the members of WEN after Stefanie’s talk.

S: People often wait until they reach a very low point – burned out, overwhelmed, over stressed, or fed up – before they decide to make a change whether it’s for a new career, better work/life balance, or setting a new goal.  When you seek change from that low place, you are often in a rush because you’re trying to escape whatever is brining you down.

I always recommend people begin making changes when you are just beginning to feel a sense of boredom, complacency, or the itch to do something new or different. Sustainable life and career improvement shouldn’t be rushed, so make sure you spend some time thinking about what you want your life to be like so you can set goals and take action on the things you’ll need to do to achieve it!

Want more tips from Stefanie? Check out her newsletter.

Diversity is critical for a successful workforce which is why we’re thrilled to have employee networks at BCBSNC to encourage employees with different backgrounds and perspectives to come together, network, build relationships, and make our company a better place to work.

About Allison Bonner

Allison Bonner works in Community Relations at BCBSNC where she coordinates and oversees community partnerships and employee volunteer opportunities. She’s deeply passionate about giving back to the community and changing the world one small step at a time.