In my 20’s, I wanted to know ‘what’ I was going to do and was out of the starting blocks and running in a direction but not knowing what the direction was. In my 30’s it slowly started to shift to ‘who’ am I? But still very murky on the journey as I was corporate and on a path that was not mine. In my 40’s, a voice said, NO! STOP…realize the ‘who’…”Sam, who are you?” and I stopped running and began looking around. In my 50’s, it is now about ‘who’ I am and was and solidly focus on that and the ‘what’ I am going to do materialized and I have found fulfillment and purpose. All it took was for me to stop running and to start asking myself questions.
My journey started out no different than the masses as I hurriedly went along a corporate path that was safe and comfortable, but it did not fit me. I always felt that there was something else calling me…tugging at me. A voice saying, “Sam, this is fine, but it is not you”. It was only when I became more reflective, did clarity happen. It all goes back to a quote that resonated with me, “In order to vision my future, I must reflect on my past, while standing on the crack that is the present.” Once I became more reflective, the incidents of my past that I had left behind and ignored started to make a reappearance and more significance. The obstacles of my past became valuable life lessons. Being more reflective, I was able to shift my passion to purpose and when you find your purpose, you have fulfillment and it is a great place to be. I now only take on what aligns with ‘who’ I am. I can describe ‘who’ I am much easier than ‘what’ I do and that is a shift that guides you to fulfillment.
OK, great that I found my purpose and clarity, how about you? There are a few ways you can start focusing on your own journey if you feel you want some focus and direction.
• Stop running and just doing. Stop and start asking yourself, ‘who’ am I? and get to know yourself. Just by taking more time to reflect and appreciate what you have done and can do, will you start to see the potential that lies within you.
• Start focusing on your past and picking up those pieces that you have left behind. Think about previous jobs you have had, what lessons have you pulled from them you might not have thought about. It might be a project you worked on, an interaction with a co-worker or a particular team you were part of.
• What are your Five Core Elements? What are the five things that make up your foundation? Five Core Elements are the five things that guide and direct you in life. Take time to come up with the five things that you are not willing to compromise. To learn more, visit my TEDx talk about this – TEDxLangaraCollege
• Journaling helps a lot. We are always doing but doing what? Even if you have not been journaling, start now. Think about the previous jobs you have done, social activities and people you have met. Don’t worry about structure or refinement, just get it down. After it is down, then go back and re-examine it and see if there are any nuggets that emerge that you can start tracing your past to your present.
• Ask yourself what is important to you. Be selfish and say, “This is what I want!” Not just career but life and career. The older you become, the more selfish (in a good way) you can become on what matters to you in a career. What is important is to ask yourself, what are you not willing to compromise on when it comes to your happiness and how can I balance what I really want to do with still being sensible and earning a living.
• Are you looking at goals or intentions? The difference here is that when you focus on goals, they are linear and absolute. Goals are ‘what’ you are going to do. What if a goal does not line up with an opportunity, do you give up the opportunity or goal? Instead, you might find comfort in intentions where you look at the things that are important to you and balance it against the opportunity and then see if it fits. Intentions on the other hand, are the ‘who’ you are.
• Finally, there are tools you can use to learn more about yourself such as the 16 Personalities Test, Big Five Personality Test and Strength Finders to name a few. The tools are there to offer some ideas on ‘who’ you are.
• If you need some help and support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a life coach or discover a mentor who can support and guide you. Investigate the person who will be a good fit for you.
As you can see, the journey is there and your part is to use reflection and introspection to learn ‘who’ you are and determine if you are on the right path. Based on the ‘who’ you are journey, do you need to alter your journey? Learn about yourself and get to know yourself. It is not about a total change (unless you need it) but rather a re-alignment. I look forward to learning ‘who’ you are!
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