ONE exercise to find out what you’re good at or what you need to do (includes a FREE gift)

Zilvold Coaching & Training BLOG choices
8 min read

Summary: In this article I am introducing the lifeline and how it can help you discover what you are good at. It helps you discover the common thread in your life so that you can make easier and more conscious choices to perform better and live a happier life. I also have a (FREE) blueprint for you to make your own lifeline.

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Today, you are the result of the choices you have made in the past. The education you chose, the first job you accepted, the partner you chose and the house you bought. They are all at the basis of your current situation.

Every day we are overwhelmed with choices, both on a business and private level. And often these choices are made by others: by your boss, your colleagues, your customers but also by your partner or the media (advertising!) forces you to make choices. Many choices are thus made unconsciously or too quickly. For me, it was because I was afraid to miss something (an opportunity) or to hurt people.

The lifeline

Do you want to work today on your ideal world of tomorrow? Be aware of your own behavior, your daily thoughts and your own convictions that you have adopted in the past. This is possible by discovering the common thread in your life with the help of a lifeline.

I invite you to go back to significant moments in your life. This way you discover what you are good at or what you have to do at a moment of choice. It can also help you to discover your values ​​and character strenghts.

The exercise is very simple and I encourage you to take some time for it. What you do is to identify important events in your life. This can be your graduation from high school, the beginning of a new relationship, another job or the loss of a loved one. Events that were a turning points in your life. Moments with a lot of joy, self-assurance, pride, or disappointment, sadness and frustration.

The Horizontal Axis

The lifeline is a graph. The horizontal axis represents the time. This can be the years or your age. I would recommend you to start with the year or your age at graduation from high school. Some psychologists say that you can start from your 8th year of life. From that age you are presumed to have conscious memories. If you have significant events from 8 years, write them down!

The Vertical Axis

The vertical axis represents energy and can be high or low, depending on your experience during this event. How did it feel when you delivered an important project successfully and how was it when you were fired?

On the graph, write several important events in your life and rate according to energy. For each event, record which activity (or activities) you performed, with whom and where you were. If that’s too much, write them on another sheet of paper.

The next step is to connect the most important events in your life. That way you get a graph, your lifeline.

The Lifeline of Jane

In Jane’s (fictional) lifeline below, a key event was the completion of the building of her house. At that moment she lived with her husband in Birmingham, England. She took a lot of time to explain her vision to the architect and to convince the municipality to grant her a building permit. And of course she had a lot of meetings with the contractor.

Example lifeline Jane Zilvold Coaching & Training BLOG

Another important event in Jane’s life was her resignation from the accountancy firm where she worked for more than 10 years. The company in London did not do well because of various lawsuits. That period was extremely stressful because she had no idea what was expected of her and where the company was heading. At one point she and her colleagues ran in one direction and one day later they ran in the opposite direction.

How a Lifeline can Help you

The lifeline can help you identify activities that you enjoy doing, give you energy and what you are good at. It gives you insight into your values, beliefs and character strengths. It can also give you insight into the people (and where) you need to be with to perform best. This is particularly useful in times of emergency or low energy. In Jane’s example, she needs an environment in which she can communicate clearly with different parties and have a clear vision of her goals.

The lifeline can also show you how you can deal with experiences that you are sad about. It can give you insight into which situations, people, projects, environments or activities you can better avoid doing to perform best. For Jane, this means that there must be no ambiguous goals or tasks for her.

The bottom line is that you can make a conscious decision about what to do, what not and with whom. This way you discover what you want and what makes you really happy.

Your own lifeline

Do you also want insight into the common thread in your life? Make a lifeline! Complete the form below to get a free blueprint!

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    Your Future

    An extra step is to go to the future. Close your eyes and choose a moment in the future. That can be in 5 years but also in 10 years from now. What do you see at that moment? What are you doing? Who are you with and how do you feel? Take the time here too and come back to the present. Now write down what you have experienced and draw it on the lifeline.

    If you want to realize this ideal world, then you know what you have to do today. You know which decisions to make and what actions are needed to make that world a reality. You may have to learn new skills or habits, find another job or move to another city. Only you know what you have to do to be truly happy.

    What are you good at now? What do you need to do and how did you find out? Let me know in the comment field below. I and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you!

    Need help?

    Do you need help to find your what you’re good at or what you need to do? I can help you through coaching. Contact me today for a FREE intake by clicking on the button below!


    You can also follow a workshop that will help you to find what you need to do. Together with Marjolein Diks & Marius van Vlijmen we will be exploring what your WHY is, how to make better choices in line with your WHY and how you can communicate this. Habits will play an important role in all this. Stay tuned for more information soon!

    Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends or family. And please SHARE this article with your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from this article with a FREE lifeline.

    Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!


    Business Model You, Tim Clark, Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, e.a.

    De vierde dimensie, Hans Peter Roel (in Dutch)

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