What Am I Going To Do When I Grow Up?

Archive for January 2009

What is the power of music?  Does it change your mood or frame of reference when you listen to an upbeat song or a old favorite?

What if song is not only external but also internal? How might our thoughts be like lyrics in a song with a specific refrain?

How might you choose to express your voice in ways that better serve you?

What if we could see life not as a series of arbitrary barriers preventing us from experiencing success?

What if we could believe that life is not a chronological time-line where we struggle, gasping through each day holding out for the mystical “someday” of calm security?

What if we can imagine  life not as a marathon run at spring pacing, where we never measure up to the insistent to-do list, and we perpetually aren’t good enough to enjoy happiness

What if instead we could choose to see life as a building process where learning from each experience, each relationship, each layer has purpose?

What if it was possible to believe that we create our solid foundation of success by living our values in daily practice?

What if we could imagine that we find success every day when we move with passionate curiosity?

How might the whole process become more meaningful, joyful, and successful, if we each had a purpose we could practice with passion each day in each relationship?

What if life is an improv dance? What if you could read through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrical_dance and see how each element could apply to how we might choose to live our life? How might you apply the ideas of fluid movement or passionate expression in your life? in your relationships? in your career? What would it mean to see it that way?

Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVPKnNXWr9s for inspiration

When we tell ourselves we “have to” do anything, what is the result? How often does “I shouldn’t eat that” turn into eating it? How often does “I should study or complete this work” turn into procrastination? So, what if we said, “I don’t want that?” How often would we then eat it? If I say, I want to clean my living room, what is likely to happen? When we shift our language from “have to” and “should” to “want to” and “choose to,” what happens?

We discover the power of choice. And so, if the power of choice is a conduit to motivation, when we know the purpose of something, it provides a rationale or a reason to motivate, then the goal or task takes on a new level of priority for us. Suddenly, we care. And, when we truly care about something, we move.

So, what would you WANT TO change from a HAVE TO to a WANT TO? What might that mean for you today?

How often do we say “I just have to get through this?” What does “getting through” really mean? How does that drain your energy? What does it mean when we set up educational goals, classes, career aspirations, family get togethers, and other activities, but tell ourselves that we just need to “get though” it?

Many of us envision our lives on a time-line , like in history class… Often this timeline has only the big milestone markers on it, like high school graduation, college graduation, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, and then die. There is a distinct beginning and end to things. There is a sharp fracture between milestones, at each marker a total shift of being or behaviors. Often these goals or milestones don’t seem very connected to each other and then also, even when we do reach these milestones, they frequently feel like hollow victories. At each milestone moment we expect that we will feel more complete, more “grown up,” more successful, but each time we get to the milestone and are left feeling like “this is it?” and then move on to “face what’s next.”

So, what if we are not really on a timeline? What if, instead, we are building our foundation with each thing that we do? What if we are not getting through calculus, getting through the degree, or getting through the day? What if we are really building our foundation with our education? What if each class, each conversation, and each new idea or experience is part of our foundation of success?

What is the purpose of a foundation? How does the foundation function in a building? What happens if my foundation is very broad? Very deep? Very intentionally set together? What am I able to do with my house if my foundation is very solid? How does a strong foundation empower us to have a more fabulous house? So, how could that change the value of education, if we saw each experience as part of our foundation? What if each experience is set in place as a piece of our foundation when we consciously decide to learn from our actions, others’ responses, how we feel, the material, the patterns, the connections, in essence the building material of our foundation. How is it helpful to see how each experience as connected to previous experiences and set an intention as to future experiences? How could it be beneficial to explore how we could practice our new intention in specific ways? How does that empower us to take our foundation to the next level?

What might the value be of not “getting through” anything, but rather simply celebrating each learning experience? What if we could see not mistakes, but rather opportunities to learn and grow? How could that release us to enjoy our present and truly celebrate each experience? How might that change our energy to transform our image of moving through life, one huge far away milestone at a time, to an image of building foundation and like a spiral staircase, we circle around the same values because we are still ourselves, but each time, each learning experience, we become better, truer versions of ourselves, when we learn?

How could this shift of energy be helpful to our friends? Our families? Ourselves? What might we change in our interactions with them if we saw each experience, each class, each conversation, each moment as having the potential to learn and to grow? What if we were looking for the growth and could focus on what we are doing right? What would be the benefit of building on each person’s strengths? How might that focus on what we are doing right change our engagement in the learning process? In life?

How might that build stronger foundations for ourselves when we see what we can do? What we have learned? How might it color our college and career experiences if we saw the meaning and relevance of each moment? How might it empower us all to compose our success with each learning experience?

Evelyn Van Til

Practicing Purpose with Passion!