As I sat across from my friend, I could see he was feeling troubled about what to do with his life. “All these years, I’ve done everything everyone told me would bring me happiness. I worked hard and got good grades in school; went to college and got my degree. I got a good job and got married. Within a few years, we had a couple of kids…but, somehow, I feel like I was lied to.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I don’t really feel fulfilled with my life, and I don’t know what to do about it,” he said.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this or something similar from people.
For me, the response was simple. “Well, what do you want?”
He looked dumbfounded. “I…I…I don’t know what I want. No one has ever asked me that before.”
Now, this was a very smart, well educated man. He had experienced a level of success in his life with running his own business with several employees for over a decade. Yet, here he was at a loss as to what he really wanted. I saw his mind wander as he began to think about the possibilities.
I suggested to him that he make a few lists:
• What do you want?
• What do you love?
• What are you good at?
“Some of the things may be the same on the different lists, and that’s okay. For instance, I love loving people, and I’m good at it. Write things that may not seem relevant.
When I first did this, I wrote things like I love to hike in the woods, and I love good sex. Let the little kid in you come out, and have fun with this. See it as an adventure; not as a chore. Then, if you’re really committed to getting clear on this, add to the list every week. I got to where I was adding new ideas every time they came to my mind.
As the lists get longer, start breaking them out into categories like career and relationships, including friendships. What kind of car do you want? Do you want to travel and where? If you want a house? How many rooms does it have? Does it have windows? What color is the carpet, or does it have hard wood floors? Get specific!” I could see his eyes light up as we talked like something deep inside had been awakened.
I was first guided to do these lists when I was 26 years old. Back then, I didn’t know I could want anything for myself, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted. My lists were pretty pathetic in the beginning. I knew I was good at loving people, but how do you make a living at that?
Within a matter of weeks of doing this, I went in for my first breath session. Halfway through, I realized it was everything I’d put out on my lists in the way of a career. I wouldn’t have known or allowed myself to do this if I hadn’t written those lists.
Here I am after all these years still loving what I do, and it’s such an expression of who I am.
If you’re up to it, I encourage you to do this for yourself, and let me know how it works for you.
And live your passion.
With Joy, Maren