If you could go back in time, what would you teach your younger self? What does that reveal to you about your sense of purpose? Your Past Identify any turning points -- events, circumstances, or challenges -- where the wisdom of what you would teach your younger self might have made all the difference in the world. These moments -- these forks in the road -- might come when you complete the statements:
- "If I'd only known ..."
- "I wish someone had told me..."
Careful now -- this is not about judgment and it's not at all about regret -- it's simply to identify what you came here to learn. We tend to learn the "hard way" -- but I don't believe we came here to suffer; I believe we came here to learn how to transcend suffering.
Your Present You're already doing it. You are already everything you've ever wanted to become. You live your purpose with every breath you take.
I'm very careful these days to discuss a "sense of purpose" -- too many people hear the term "life purpose" and equate that with a job. Your sense of purpose is not a job -- you can bring your sense of purpose to just about any job. Your sense of purpose has a way of emerging, of potentially coming to the surface, within any environment or relationship. Your sense of purpose is a theme that finds a way to express itself through you, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Other people are drawn to you because of the sense of purpose for which you are a vessel or conduit.
One very effective way you can become conscious of your purpose is to look for recurring themes or patterns in what other people request of you. This energy radiates out from you and behaves like a sign on your forehead -- the people around you (even strangers) can often "read" this sign more effectively than you can. You need a mirror to read this sign -- and relationships are mirrors.
- What are some of the questions that people always seem to ask you?
- What topics do others always seem to want your input on?
- What service are you called on to provide?
- What message do you find yourself delivering over and over again?
- How might this message be related to what you most need to hear?
Ask your closest friends and family members what they believe your purpose is.
Awareness is powerful -- even if you are currently in a job you'd hardly call a "dream," look again at the opportunities you have every day to align with your sense of purpose. This may be very informal -- it may not be an "official" duty, but a message you deliver or an energy you project through your interactions with those with whom you come into contact.
This awareness can work wonders in transforming how you feel about your everyday life. Working with that energy in a conscious way is like turning on a light that will reveal potential new paths and directions for you.
Your Future Obviously, some careers provide more opportunities than others for you to engage your sense of purpose. Know that The Perfect Career for you may never be found in a Classified Ad or a Job Board Posting -- it may not exist until you create it.
Look again at your answer to the initial question -- what you wish you could go back in time and teach your younger self.
How might you deliver that lesson? A message, an insight, a piece of wisdom requires form and function (action) to move through you and out into the world.
- What would the message sound like?
- How might the lesson be packaged in such a way that it can be received?
Maybe your wisdom can be conveyed through some ethereal, creative experience:
- Is there a story that reveals the truth?
- Is there an image (or images) that illustrate the crucial details?
- Is there a melody that evokes the emotional state?
- Is there a joke that wraps the truth in the elevated energy of laughter?
- Is there something that could be witnessed?
Maybe your wisdom can be conveyed through entirely practical, down-to-earth information:
- Is there a specific skill that can be acquired?
- Is there a technique that can be taught and practiced?
- Is there a source of data and facts that can be shared?
Working with my clients on creating careers, I often see that the most unique and potentially valuable concepts combine some of all the above -- an intersection between:
- A Message
- A Creative Vehicle for the Message
- A Practical Skill or Technique in the Take-away
...all coming together in a package that is as quirky and unique as you are.
My personal answers to the initial question -- what I would teach my younger self -- is the truth that my creativity is my divinity. That I am already everything I've ever wanted to become. That what I most want to do with my life is something that I must invent, fully-customized to me (and for others who are my mirrors, who see themselves in me and me in them).
This must be why I have boundless energy for counseling other creative people in the areas of Work and Process. I deeply know what it's like to have shitty jobs, tons of talent, and yet be lost in putting it all together. Nothing is more satisfying to me than assisting other people with these puzzles that are all too familiar. My intention is that the articles here provide the insight and inspiration, and that even my marketing tutorials leave behind a practical "bread-crumb trail" you can follow.
We have all been "broken" at some point in our lives -- that's where the materials come from, the pieces with which we build. Simple joys are the mortar and glue.
image credit Miss Blackbutterfly via Creative Commons on Flickr