What Am I Going To Do When I Grow Up?

Archive for February 2009

Ben Zander says in the Art of Possibility “…performance is not about getting your act together, but about opening up to the energy of the audience and of the music, and letting it sing in your unique voice.”

So what if this is true in life?   How can we be open to the energy of our audience and let it sing in our unique voice?

If that were possible, what would that mean in your life?

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Where we often discover our passions in people and develop our purpose in learning, we can discover unlimited motivation when we apply passion and purpose in our practice.

People will ask me “is that class hard?” or “isn’t going to law school hard?   And, I ask, “is cleaning my bathroom hard?  I mean, really, it is and it isn’t.

It is not physically or mentally hard to clear my bathroom.  I still don’t want to do it.  I don’t know, maybe you do?  if you are a complusive bathroom cleaner,  bully for you.   I still find it hard to clean.  That is, until 1 or 2 things happen:

1) If someone is coming over who cares about a clean bathroom, I in let’s say 15 min or so, tidy up the bathroom to appropriately spic and span condition.   This is crisis motivation.

2) I can choose to identify why I care about a clean bathroom.  I can decide I would really like to have a clean bathroom.  I can tell myself that I can clean the sink as I brush my teeth and scrub out the tub as part of the end of  a shower.

So, what if that is true in all of life?  Things can be hard if we choose to see them as hard.  We can make huge mental barriers, invest in limiting beliefs, invent assumptions, and embrace interpretations of all sorts to make things hard.  Many of us live in a state of perpetual stuckness (or “it’s hard”) until we are motivated by crisis.   We resist doing until we finally feel so compelled by outside forces that we “have to” do something.

Or, as in my 2nd option, what if we can choose to identify how we might put what we care about into practice in small ways?  How might that be productive for you?

It’s a great question.  It’s a central question.  The “why” question haunts us in life.  It’s at the center of the myth of the “terrible two’s” when children go through the phase of asking why.  Often their questions are shut down.

People often hear “why” as a questioning of their judgment, their beliefs, their ego. stuck at energy level 1 or 2, many people are insecure. So, it’s an open ended question to use with care.  “What, How, and When” build relationships. “Why” speaks to the core of relationships in our sense of self.  It’s sitting right there inside fear.

Truly powerful coaching goes to Why because Why is purpose and mission. That then defines the What, How, and When.

Still, you can ask Why questions in What and How phrases: “why did you do that?” can become “What was the thinking that led to that?” or “How did you arrive that decision?”

Embracing “Why” means openness and security in questioning.  So, perhaps we focus on building the relationship and sense of self-awareness with “what, how, and when” questions and tools, like acknowledgment and validation, until that opens others to accepting why as merely joining the rhythm of our questions as part of the relationship’s harmony?

What does it mean to have purpose?  to be ON PURPOSE?

A lot of people will start naming goals, like graduate from college or get a job.   Those are goals.  So, what is the relationship between goals and purpose?  Well, goals are defined, tangible accomplishments.   Purpose is the reason why.  Purpose is the reason for the goal.

So, why did you choose these goals?  perhaps the honest answer is that you didn’t choose the goals.  perhaps the goals were given to you, expected of you, and you thought you had no other choice but to pick up the goals and slug through, racing to the finish line, hoping that it will provide happiness.

Consider the following questions:

  • What do you want most out of life?
  • What would you like to see happen in the world?
  • What makes you special?
  • What would you like to accomplish right now?

Make a list of at least 3-5 items in each area and circle the elment that is most important to you or provides the others.  Take those 4 elements and make it a sentence.

I will (Take the circled item from List 4) , using my (Take the circled item from List 3), to accomplish (Take the circled item from List 2 , and in doing so, also achieve (Take the circled item from List 1) .

Read this out loud to yourself and let it settle in.

How does it feel to know your purpose?  How does it feel to know it is YOUR purpose?

Keep in mind this a draft and you can continue to polish it up.  So, what if you can choose to put it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis?  What if you could put it on your screen saver?  put it in your journal?  put it on your mirror?  make it a creative collage?

What would it mean to discover your passion? Many people discover their passions in the people they love. Sometimes this can be positive inspiration such as the child who discovers a passion for biology by walking the woods with her dad. He teaches her all about the trees, the bugs, the birds, and how it all works together. Or, the child who loses himself in video art because his aunt would tape family events, talent shows, and encouraged him to play with the camera. Or, perhaps it might be a negative inspiration such as the child who has a terrible teacher and vows to go into education and ensure quality education. Our passions can run in many directions, but they are key to our drive and motivation.

So, if you are looking for your passions in life, consider talking with people you admire. People who share your values regardless of their career path are likely to want to help you and are likely to have others in their network who also share those values.

Consider asking:
*what do they do on a daily basis?
*what do they enjoy most about what they do?
*how did they get to where they are in life?
*what insight would they share about finding success in life?