In my last last post I challenged you to pay attention to who you truly are. Not just pay attention but to think about who you want to be…how you want to be perceived. I even went so far to ask you to picture yourself at your own funeral and ask yourself some questions around that. Since posting that I have l done some more reflection around this. Most of my reflection has been centered around the fact that I have been seeing a lot of campaigns on TV and social media that are focused on “What is your why?” or “Find your WHY”. This obviously is similiar to my last post. However….
I have concluded these types of questions might just be too overwhelming to answer. Or, when we try to answer them, we land at some grandious idea…”I want to end hunger”, “I want to change the world”, “I am going to create the next Ipad.” Sort like saying you’re going to lose 50 pounds and find out it’s too overwhelming so never achieve it. So, perhaps I was unfair in asking you “Who are YOU?” Unfair because I did not guide you enough. Unfair because I left you to grapple with the question without shrinking it down just a bit so you could wrap your head around it. Now, I do think it is a question worth grappling with but I want to lay out a little more foundation for you.
First of all, I have learned that the best way to explore who we are or what our why is, is to simply explore 4 areas of our being. I have come to believe that if we break these heavy questions down to explorations of our talents, skills, passions and values that we will have a path to our answers. And, perhpas more importatly we will realize that the answers are not somewhere far out there in the universe but rather right inside of us.
I know the above to be true because of my own evolution. I was going to “change the world” as the Mayor of Minneapolis. I wanted to get my PhD. I wanted a big stage. I was going to be important and people were going to listen to me, damn it. Ha! I thought if “I wasn’t going big, then I should just go home”. And then, Dad got sick. And as you have read, his death was “the worst thing that has ever happened to me” and now is “the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He challenged me to Stay True and offer the world what I was innately good at and what he knew gave me deep gratification….connecting with people on a deeper level. It took me many years to truly find deeper purpose and understand more of who I was. But thank God I did because I would have been more than miserable as a Mayor.
Again, I believe if think about four areas to answer these deeper questions you may find a little bit more of what your deeper purpose is and be on route to giving us more of YOU!
Let me clarify quickly…
Talents: These are the things that come natural to you. You know, the things that people say that you are good at. They feel natural to you and you can do them with “not so much” effort. People have told me for years that I have an uncanny way of seeing through someone…an old soul.
Skills: We acquired these all of our life. Whether it has been through formal education or the more valuable classroom of our everyday life, we have gotten pretty darn good at some things. What have you acquired over the years. Are you using these skills in your current relationships or at work?
Passion: My wife has found that she loves helping people. In the past two weeks she has delivered food to our local church, donated a bunch of clothing and has hand made stockings (and stuffed them) for the less fortunate children in our area. But wait, this is not new, she has always loved helping people. Every job she has had she was helping people. It jazzes her. Helping people fulfills her. When she was a Store Manager at Victoria’s Secret she would come home and tell me how she helped a woman’s self esteem simply by taking the time to fit her into the right bra. What jazzes you? You may be able to find a way to weave it into your work today just as my wife did. She could have chosen to simply sell the hell out of panties and bras and run a profitable business but she made it more. Can you?
Values: What do you stand for? How would people describe you? Is being integral important to you? Is simply being kind important to you? You need to give some real thought to this one. And when you are thinking about it please think about how have you been living your values out? Are you?
I believe the answers in who you are are right in front of you and the above is just a small road map for you that I should have had in my first post about this. Remember, purpose does not mean “bigger”, “more important” or “earth shattering”. Our world, specifically reflecting on my very last post needs more of us living out our purpose in small but big ways.
My wife, Angel is an illustration of this. When I met her she was a waitress at a bagel shop I frequented. I loved her before I met her because I watched how she treated people. She was no normal waitress. She cared about her people and they loved her. She has worked hard in her career and has been successful in all that she has done. When we had our first son she decided that she wanted to stay home. She has been home since. I have not heard her once question who she is or what her purpose is. I have never heard her long for a title, notoriety, or a bigger pay check….deeper meaning. All things that I have done in my past and that you have probably done too. She now gives our boys the same deep, sincere, and intimate care she gave everyone she ever helped at the bagel shop, chiropractor office and Victoria Secrets. Her purpose is in fact deep and infectious. She is impacting the world…if you have been around her she has impacted you. And, if my sons get half of her kindness and empathic ways this world will in fact be a better place.
Angel does not spend countless hours looking for profound purpose or answering why. And I admire her for it. Instead she taps into the four areas I talked about and has managed to implement them into her almost everyday and experience. I can’t bare to picture myself at her funeral but I do know there would be standing room only in the church and the things people would be saying about her would be consistent. And they would sound something like….kindest person I have ever met, she found joy in the simplest of things, she loved her family, her name suited her well, you couldn’t help but love her…Angel had such an impact on all that she touched…a giving soul. Well, mostly people would be saying that I was an overachiever and got damn lucky to land Angel as my companion.
The world awaits all the good that is inside of you. Tap into it! I hope this helps even if ever so slightly…at least more than Take 1 on this topic.