I attended a conference last weekend at which Dr. Wayne Dyer was the keynote speaker. I’ll admit I’ve never been a big fan of “self-help” gurus and I’m not even sure if Wayne Dyer fits that description. But some of the things he talked about sent me into an admittedly rare period of introspection. When’s the last time you engaged in some self-reflection?
What Dr. Dyer was talking about that resonated with me was living an authentic life by being true to our deepest self. Have you always wanted to be a poet? Do you really want to work with animals, not numbers, but haven’t since it doesn’t pay as well? Is your true self yearning to be a teacher instead of an IT wonk?
I didn’t block out time on my calendar as “contemplation” time. I didn’t force my mind to think of what I want more than anything else. I allowed my “self” to bubble up at unexpected times, I attended to my thoughts, and jotted them down in my journal.
And here’s what I found out:
- I have a book inside of me. I’ve always known I’m a pretty good writer, but my main focus has always been business. This book inside of me is different. It’s personal. It’s about my journey – what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned, what I still am looking forward to. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever write that blockbuster, best-selling business book. But it does mean that my own book needs to come out first. If I tell myself, “I’ll write it in two years when I’ve accomplished … (whatever),” I’m telling myself it’s not important enough to start it now. I need to make time for writing it.
- I’m blessed to be living my passion. I’ve recognized that my passion is helping people in some fashion. Whether it’s through my business coaching to help people be the best they can be professionally, through the informal mentoring I do with many young career women, or through the formal mentoring I do for at-risk girls through a non-profit I volunteer for, my focus is helping others. I’m lucky to be able to do exactly what I’m passionate about. But having my own business means that I have to do a lot of other things that I’m not passionate about at all. In the early part of our lives, we’re usually focused on accomplishing something, building a life comprised of relationships, family, friends, and community. That’s as it should be. But we should all take a little time to reflect on how and where we can make room in our lives for our passion.
- I need to take time for fun. I love playing golf. I’m not very good, but I love being outside. I love when I hit a great shot and I can laugh when I hit a crummy one. I laugh a lot when I’m playing golf, especially when I’m playing with someone who can also laugh. But I haven’t played in a while. I’ve been too busy. From now on, I am scheduling time in my calendar for the fun stuff.
So my challenge to you this week is this: think about your passion. Don’t worry about your purpose in life – I’m convinced our purpose in life is to experience it. Ask yourself “What If?” What if you get to the end of your life never doing what you loved? What if your biggest regret is living someone else’s expectation of you? What if you did live your passion?
Wayne Dyer said it beautifully: “Don’t die with your music still in you.
(And, no, that’s not a picture of me … but I wish it was!)