Most, if not all, of us would like to live a life of minimal regret. During our golden years, we want ideally to be able to look back, reflect on our lives and say to ourselves: “I’ve really lived a good life.”

Some of us are comfortable with taking life as it comes, and not to be overly concerned about planning what we want to do with our lives. Of course, there is no right or wrong way of approaching this —different strokes for different folks.

Here is just one perspective. If you acknowledge that you only have one life, if you want to live a life of minimal regret, then would it not make some sense to actually plan for the experiences you want to have in your life? Does this resonate well with you? If it does, read on.

Life coaching is just one way of lending some structure and support to planning your life. Working with a life coach is slowly but surely catching on here in Asia.

Yes, working with a coach does come with a relatively hefty price tag — however, if you are willing to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a nice car, wouldn’t you consider doing the same for a professional service that will deeply impact your life choices?

What is life planning? In simplistic terms, it is beginning with the end in mind. It is about knowing who you truly are (versus your identities in this world), your purpose in life, and coming to a situation where you know what life you want to live.

That is, what you want to do with your life, what relationships you want, whom you want to live your life with, and setting goals to achieve your ends. You can consider working with a life coach for the following areas:

Who am I?

Identifying who you really are, minus all the earthly hats that you wear, for example, daughter, mother, wife, boss, etc. For those of us in the corporate world, we typically define ourselves by our corporate roles. For example, someone might say: “Hello, I am Estelle. I am the CFO of XY company.”

Many corporate executives who have lost their jobs struggle with their temporary “loss of identity” and find it challenging to regain their self-esteem and confidence when they do not have a corporate title to associate themselves with.

It is wise to remind yourself that your corporate responsibilities are what I call “temporary parking lots” — you will have to drive off at some point in your life, voluntarily or otherwise. Finding out your real purpose in life will serve as a lighthouse of sorts for you to pilot your ship toward. 

What is my purpose?

Having “found” your real identity, the next question to ask yourself is what you are doing in this world. What is your purpose? What do you want to do? Who do you want to do it with, and where? What kind of relationships do you want to establish?

Some people may term this “your calling”.  I relate this to the “vision” of an organisation — all organisations, profit-driven or otherwise, need to have a vision, a desired destination of sorts. 

What is my strategy?

Your established vision will help you with identifying and putting in place “strategies” to allow you to realise it. However, there are still many people who focus all, or most of their time and effort on fulfilling their responsibilities in their jobs.

This is not wrong, of course — after all, we are paid a salary to do our job. However, you need to acknowledge there are other priorities in your life — your health and emotional well-being, family, loved ones, friends, others in the community, the less fortunate, the physically disadvantaged, and so on.

All of us wear multiple hats to perform the multiple roles in our lives. One hat that we often overlook is the “I” hat. We forget that we also have to spend time on ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves first, before we are able to take care of others who are dependent on us.

Whichever is your preference — self-planning or working with a coach — re-visiting your life goals is a must. You may well end up with having to change and/or tweak your goals on an on-going basis, but not planning your life is akin to planning to fail — and who wants to do that?


Article by Paul Heng, founder/managing director and executive coach of NeXT Career Consulting Group, Asia. For more information, visit