What were you born to do with your life? What is your unique gift to the world? What will provide the most meaning for your soul? I have often wished that I had been given a dramatic message slid under my bedroom door or left on my voice mail, or a note left on my car: YOU ARE MEANT TO……… WITH YOUR LIFE! That would make it so much easier—or would it? When I was growing up the two choices for women were nurse or teacher. I was told I should become a teacher and I didn’t like being boxed in to one option so maybe I wouldn’t like a “ one choice only “message from the Universe after all.
Still, there is a yearning for the answer to be loud and clear- atleast inside of me. Po Bronson in his book “What Should you Do With Your Life” talks about the “whispers” . The idea is that most of us have gentle clues, hints- almost out of the range of our hearing about what really lights our spark. For sure, some folks know very clearly from an early age they want to be a doctor or a scientist or a policewoman or an actor, ballerina, or baseball player, but I suspect for most of us, the answer isn’t so clearcut.
So, how do you hear the “whispers”? First, you have to be quiet so you can hear them and then you have to know how to listen when they speak. When you think back over your life, what experiences, interests and activities have been a consistent thread? Did you collect bugs, rebuild cars, swim, sew, organize parties, read? Have you been drawn to Nature, Sports, the Arts, Spirituality, Social Activities, Travel, or Science?
What do you pay attention to in your day to day life now—what kind of music do you listen to? What types of news draw your attention? What are you drawn to learn about? What do you talk to your friends about? What do you write about on Facebook? Are you drawn to group activity or do you gravitate to singular activities? Are you physical or more cerebral? Who are the people you admire and what do they do? When are you the most fulfilled— is it with people, is it being creative, learning, or building something? Do you get excited more about ideas or the physical world? Do you like getting your hands dirty? Do you like inspiring others? What are you curious about?
One way to start getting in touch with the hints and whispers is to keep a small notepad in your pocket and write down during each day the meaningful highlights. Begin to track the “moments” when you felt contented, excited, fulfilled or energized. Keep these notes going for several months and see what pattern evolves. It may be a theme related to a topic- like “bird watching” or “health” or “the environment” or the pattern may be related to types of experiences such as “learning”, “mentoring”, or” building/creating “something, or “designing”. The most important thing in doing this is to let your daily life and experiences speak back to you . Don’t dismiss your “highlights” because they don’t describe a “job” that you can recognize as income producing.
I will never forget a man who once told me his favorite activity was “staring out the window”. He was told by his school teacher he would never get a job if he didn’t change his behavior. He ended up as a pilot for a major airline company and has the job of his dreams- staring out the window. Trust that over time your whispers will speak to you in a message that you can hear and respond to.