I remember being asked this as a child. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be, and I proudly responded, “I want to be a lawyer”. Why a lawyer? Not because I had an interest in law, though I do tend to be a rule follower. Not because I wanted to see justice served, though I do not tolerate injustice. Not even because I had the ability to argue a case, though I do have a knack for arguing! The truth is, I wanted to be something that most women didn’t do, and back 50 years ago, an attorney was one of the jobs most women didn’t do. I guess, I wanted to be special, unique, and exceptional.
I didn’t know at the age of 13 what gifts and abilities I possessed or would develop over time. I didn’t know my personality type, like so many of us do today, and I had no career counseling to see what I was best suited for.
The older I got the more confused I got about me, my life’s purpose, and what would become of me or my dream. It’s gotten clearer over time, but for years I searched for who I was in what I did. I thought I was the occupations I held! I judged my life by how well I was doing through my performance reviews and promotions (or lack thereof).
I’ve held many jobs over my 63 years – looking for myself in each one. I was a sales rep, then senior sales rep and then regional sales rep. I started and led a crisis pregnancy center for my county (pretty proud of that). I drove a tractor-trailer cross-country with my husband (that was different). I was a receptionist (pretty normal). A sales clerk (ho-hum). A school bus driver (to home-schooling my youngest son). An administrative assistant, promoted to executive assistant to VIPs, and in one job, the executive director of a large and busy swim-tennis center. An author and conference speaker (traveling was exciting). Now, I'm a board-certified health and wellness coach. Some of those jobs were just to get by; many of the roles were rewarding, and a few of the positions were prestigious, but all of them were simply what I did, and none of them were who I am.
It took me those 50 years to realize that who we are isn’t found in what we do, though we are who we are in what we do (read it twice). I am the same me that I was as a sales clerk, school bus driver, executive, or health coach. I have learned a lot in every job, and each step along the way, I have become better at being the best me I can be.
Let’s explore the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, HOW, and WHEN of your potential and purpose in life. Who we are. What we are designed to do. Where we should do; what we are designed to do. How to do it. And when to do it.
Some of the answers to these questions will be simple and others will take some digging. Some you may have known for a long time, and this is merely confirmation, while others will be quite enlightening. Some will jump out at you and others will be discovered while on your personal journey. Many will stay the same for decades, while others seem to change periodically.
Who Am I?
Discovering who you are is a lifelong pursuit. People attempt to “find themselves” in as many different ways as there are people. A 40-day fast, 3-day desert experience, silent retreat, therapy, just to name a few; the list is long, and it keeps growing.
Who am I and why am I here? It is an age-old question that has been asked by our ancestors for generations. What we are looking for may vary from person to person, but I believe it is a question for which the answer is a moving target as we grow, change, and learn along the journey.
We are all unique and custom-made. We are a “Collector’s Edition,” not just a cookie cutter, big box, assembly-line item. We are by prescription only, not an over-the-counter product. We are name brand, not generic! We weren’t painted with a roller or a broad brush, but with a tiny detail brush, and every stroke matters. There is no one like us, and yet we often compare ourselves with others like we should be more like them – but why? No one can be me, but me!
I used to question my origin. Why was I born in 1958 to a couple of regular, everyday, blue-collar workers, and not a millionaire? Why was I number 7 of 7 kids, and not an only child? Why rural Indiana and not LA, and why the United States and not Communist China? Why a Catholic family and not a Muslim family? Why 2 parents and not single parent home?
Why did I get pregnant at 15 years of age and leave home? (Okay, that’s different, that was my fault and my choice, but it was a part of my life journey and though I am not proud of that decision, I am proud of the valuable lessons it taught me and is still teaching me).
I was formed in my mother’s womb. My mom, Ann Sachens, that family, that state, that economic status, that religion, those siblings, and 7th place in line.
Our background, our history, and our life choices are all integral parts of the journey that makes you, YOU, and me, ME.
What Is It That I Am Designed to Do?
So if I’m this significant, custom-made, one-of-a-kind human being, then why am I here and what is it that I am here to do?
What if it is all about the discovery process? The journey to “it” can be just as exciting and fulfilling if we enjoy each step of the way. The problem is often that we think there is just one “it” and if we miss “it” we will miss “it.”
Your what is different than my what and my what is different than their what. Whats come in as many shapes, sizes, colors, levels, depths and combinations. Some whats seem big and some whats seem small, but all whats are important in the whole scheme of things. No one’s what is unimportant or insignificant.
"If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you." – Steve Jobs
We all have Purpose. Purpose as a noun, not purpose as a verb. Just by being here we have purpose. We aren’t here just taking up space. You and I are on this earth for a reason, and like a puzzle piece we all fit together, even when we do not feel like we do. Without you in place, or me in place, the puzzle is incomplete. We complete the puzzle when we are walking “on purpose.”
Some people have such a low opinion of themselves and walk in shame of who they are. They don’t believe they have a purpose.
"Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change." – Brene Brown
Some have set the bar so high and feel like if they aren’t doing what others have done that they don’t matter, but I know the “others” would disagree. They were living out their own purpose and following the journey and so should we.
Mother Teresa - A gift to Calcutta and the hurting of the world.
Martin Luther King, Jr. – The world will never forget his leadership.
Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.
Where do I belong?
Discover where you are and be there; be all there.
You need to know your current location for someone to give you directions. Maps are no help until you find your current position. Like those maps in shopping malls with the arrow that says, YOU ARE HERE.
Bloom where you’re planted!
Some people want to be a big movie star, yet they haven’t even been in a school play! You can’t become a pilot if you’re afraid to fly. Wherever you want to go, start from where you are! Most CEO’s of big companies didn’t start out at the top! They started in the mail room, being faithful with the mail. They moved to the shipping department, proved themselves loyal and trustworthy, and through a progression of performance mixed with opportunity, continued on the journey to success. Be the best you that you can be right where you are!
Don’t get too comfortable. If you learn to be the best YOU right where you are, there is a good chance that you may not always be where you are! Learning to be a better you results in growing and improving, which may lead to the next step in your quest.
Every next level of your life will demand a different YOU.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC
Health Advisor | Email Stephanie