Another tool for exploring what makes you happiest (also from Koch's Living the 80/20 Way): charting your "achievement islands."
When you look back over your life, what eight or nine achievements stand out? What accomplishments do you take the most pride in?
This was an easy list for me:
Co-creating my life with Clyde. Hands down, without a doubt, falling in love and making a life with Clyde has been the best thing that ever happened to me.
Coming out. The decision to be honest with myself, my family, and the world was hard to make, but making it transformed my life completely -- and all for the better.
Starting a journey of faith. Admitting I no longer believed in many of the teachings of the church of my childhood was the first step on a life-changing voyage of discovery that continues to this day.
Maintaining MadeByMark. This site has been "on the air" for more than twelve years. There are thousands of posts on dozens of topics. Comments and emails from readers bring me a lot of joy.
Finishing books. My shelf is lined with lots of books I wrote and Tarot decks I designed, and I take great pride in these, mostly because they're reminders of the joy associated with finishing and shipping a project.
Weight loss. I was really happy to drop the extra pounds and, for the first time in my life, genuinely like what I was seeing in the mirror. The confidence I felt when I saw the new me bled over into other areas of my life, too.
Making a good living. I'm proud that I have an opportunity to use my talents in a way that provides us with good health insurance and a degree of financial stability.
Moving to Atlanta. I owe Mississippi a great deal (it's where I met my husband and a number of dear friends), but life became richer and more satisfying once we moved to Midtown, where we found a supportive community, a walkable neighborhood, easy access to the arts we enjoy, and a better way of life for us.
Looking back, what are the achievements that make your heart swell with pride? Make your list.
And I promise: what we're about to do with these lists can lead to important insights into what really makes you happy.