When I Grow Up

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Maya Angelou

George_Koury_print mediaHow many times have you heard someone say, “I’d love to know what to do when I grow up.”

As I work with people in my counselling practice and speak with so many in my travels, I’ve learned about a widespread pattern. Over 80% of those I meet are unhappy in their lives and work. There is a dissatisfaction that seems to permeate their lives.

People are often taught to be “practical”; to learn a trade or skill that will support them financially. This is most frequently suggested instead of following one’s dream. While having a means to earn a steady income can be a great thing, must we sacrifice a greater vision for our lives; our heart’s desire?

In speaking to people about this, I’ve found that the concept of one’s life purpose falls into two basic categories. Most of the time, people define it as either what they do to make money, or what their “higher” or spiritual path is. Many discover that these two elements can be combined into one.

The two questions I hear on a daily basis are, “What is my life’s purpose?” and “How do I find out what my life’s purpose is?” The answer, like so many things, is really simple. First, answer the following question for yourself, “Who am I?” You are the one who shows up, who comes to the table. What do you bring to life? Are you kind, loving, wise? Are you a peacemaker, a fighter? For example, if you are a fighter, you might be suited to work in an arena dedicated to social or legal causes. If you have a gentle, kind disposition, you might find working with children satisfying. These qualities are what make up who you are. This is part of the foundation upon which you can create a fulfilling life. Having a sense of who you are is an important place to start.

Next, I encourage folks to look at what they are good at and what they absolutely love to do. That’s a big secret. For many people, these two things might be different from each other. For example, you might be a great typist, but have a passion for growing flowers. While these two on the surface seem to be very different from each other, it is likely that what you are good at can lead you to what you love. It is also very possible that the two might work very well together to help you live a life of purpose. In the above example, you might start a business that sells flowers, and also start a blog in which you write about flowers.

Some people are so far removed from their hopes and dreams. For them, it might seem impossible to recall what they are good at and what they love to do. The following quote from Carl Jung provides another clue to discovering this:

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes?
Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.”
Carl Jung

This is not rocket science and should only take a few moments for you to determine. Would you do this now with me?

So far, you’ve determined who you are in essence, what you are good at and what you truly love to do. These steps are centered upon you. This is only part of the puzzle. They are focused on you, on the self.

Let’s go to the next step. It involves others. We are all connected in some way. People, animals and all life forms on this planet are interconnected. We do not live in a vacuum or in isolation. We are deeply dependent on each other for survival, and also to thrive.

So for this next step, ask yourself, “Who I am in service to?” We are all here to serve. There are many who would laugh at this or react in violent or sarcasm, but it is the truth.

After you have determined who you are in service to comes the last step. Here, I urge you to ask yourself, “How do I make better the lives of the people I serve?”

There you have it. Although this is a huge topic today, it is not a complex task to determine the path one is best suited for. Currently on Amazon, there are over 200,000 books written on the subject of life purpose.

If you go through these simple steps, you can have a clear sense of what path is going to provide you with the most fulfilling life possible. I wish you a life of happiness and fulfillment.

“The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.”
Fabienne Fredrickson

The entire contents of this article, photos and column is copyright © 2015 by George Koury. Not part of this may be used without written permission from him.

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