One of the biggest questions a person can face is ‘what do you want to do with the rest of your life’?

It’s a dreaded question by many, forcing them to answer on the spot, do deep and share something personal.

Surprisingly, the answer isn’t that hard to discover thanks to one very simple technique used by Dawn Campbell, Director of the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPC&M).  Here, Dawn shares an easy effective brainstorming exercise that’s used in her Positive Mental Health workshops, especially around legacy and the next chapter of our lives.  This is how it works:

Two volunteers are stand up, each holding one end of a length of string.

The average age of the workshop group (for example, 40) is deducted from a person’s average life expectancy (say, 80) and the piece of string is cut accordingly (so in half).

The string that is cut and falls to the floor represents the average amount of years that have already been lived,

The two volunteers have to move closer to hold the remaining string which represents the life that is left to come.

When faced with this visual representation of the amount of life we have left, the one question that the group is asked is “What do you want to do with the time you have left?”

The volunteers (and the group as a whole) must decide: Is it going to be more of the same, or are there any positive changes that can be made?

More often than not, the answer will be that there will be changes that can be made. The magic of this technique is that it forces us to face our own mortality and question what exactly those changes will be. Ultimately, this is the first step; the point where we decide what we want more off (or less of), what’s stopping us achieve what we want, and more importantly, how we’re going to move forward.

It’s a deceptively simple, but highly effective visual technique that can really get us thinking about our futures and how exactly we plan to shape them for the better!