Oh what a week! This time last year Huw attended a week long training course as part of the process to become a Registered Life Planner. Well, it was such an experience for Huw that it was arranged that I also attend. The 5-day residential course was in Gaunts House in Dorset, where I was to experience what life planning could do for me. I had an inkling of what was in store for the week. Huw had spoken fondly of his time at Gaunts House, but with the hint of a wry smile. I hadn’t quite appreciated that the venue, a run-down stately home in the middle of Dorset (in the middle of nowhere), also doubles as a vegetarian yoga and mindfulness retreat. I naively assumed that the course was going to involve sitting around in a loin cloth, being beaten with stinging nettles! Fortunately, I was wrong. Upon arrival at Gaunts House the first thing you notice is that there are no signs, no main entrance and no reception. I wandered around the building for a bit and found a door that led inside. I followed the noise of voices and found a group of people drinking tea and coffee. On asking where the Kinder Life Planning course was, they politely pointed me towards the ‘Welcome Room’. I went in and was met by the owner of the property, Sir Richard and a couple of his amazing volunteers. They told me which bedroom I would be in for the week and then told me to head to the library. There I met up with my fellow course attendees. This was Sunday evening and we spent much of it understanding what the week ahead would look like and getting to know each other a little more. Once we had finished, I found my bedroom. It was cold, had 3 single beds in a row in the room and a sink. Not much else and no lock on the door. This may seem strange (it certainly did to me) but throughout the week I grew to love the place. By the end of the week it actually felt entirely normal and safe. The charm of Gaunts House cannot be underestimated. Throughout the week we worked from 8am until around 10pm, but it didn’t feel like work. It felt like we were on a journey of self-discovery, of really understanding what we each wanted out of life. After all, it is not a rehearsal and if we are to preach to you all that you should live life to the full, why wouldn’t we live that mantra ourselves? There were 8 of us on the course and 3 excellent trainers, they guided us through all of the elements that we needed to understand and practice in order to become a Registered Life Planner. Rather than do this through rolelpays (no one likes them, right?) we were partnered up and our partners became our life planners and vice versa. We life planned our parters for real and they planned us! Through each of the stages we looked at what made for a fulfilled and purposeful life for us. What did we need to have in our lives to ensure that when our time comes to leave this mortal coil, that we do so with joyful memories rather than regrets. This took some soul-searching for some and was an emotional process for all. At the same time it was entirely uplifting and invigorating. The Life Planning ‘process’ (I use that word reluctantly) explores our desires, what we want for a fulfilled life and then paints a picture of what that life would look and feel like. The emotional aspect of this important, emotion creates motion, in fact ‘e-motion’ is energy + motion. That might all sound great, ‘but life gets in the way, Russ!’ I hear you cry. You are right it does, but a dream will always be a dream unless you do something about it! Only your best self can life your best life. Which means only a better you can life a better life. Life Planning explores the obstacles that get in the way of you living your ideal life. Most of these obstacles turned out to be of our own making and entirely surmountable. Some weren’t, but the important thing here is that if an obstacle is insurmountable you can look for ways to achieve the qualities of your ideal life without necessarily having to do all of what you desire. For example, if your dream is to take a 12-month World cruise but your finances or circumstances won’t allow you to do that, what qualities within that dream are you looking for? Could you get those qualities from a shorter cruise, or visiting specific places? We are only on this planet for a very short time and none of us know how long that will be. Our role at Proposito is to ensure that you are aware of all the possibilities that are open to you. If you have hopes, dreams, aspirations and goals that you want to achieve, no matter what stage of your life you are at, we encourage you to explore these with us. I left the course with a renewed sense of purpose. An action plan to create the environment and habits that will lead me to a more fulfilled life. One filled with even more precious memories with my family and loved ones. With more experiences and a greater level of gratitude for the world we live in. It is very difficult to explain how a week spent in a cold, draughty, run down old house with a bunch of strangers (two of them Dutch, one German and two from Leeds!) turned into a life affirming experience with a group of friends, but nonetheless I hope that this blog gives you a feel of what Life Planning, and the clarity it delivers, can do for you. And not a loin cloth in sight!