Have you forgotten who you are? I’m not talking about the forgetfulness that accompanies a long night out or the foggy haze that results from pulling too many sleepless nights in a row. I’m talking about who you “really” are. Who you always wanted to be, intended to be and are meant to be. Tapping back into your core is where inspiration lives. So, how do you get there?
Here are two questions you can ask yourself:
1. If you look into my magic crystal ball and see your perfect life 10 years from now, what do you see?
Notice I didn’t say “perfect job.” I said “perfect life.” Imagine what your perfect life is 10 years from now. What would your family life look like? Where would you be living? What would you be doing? Who would be in your life? Now, pretend I didn’t ask you that question. Instead, pretend I asked you to look one year from now and identify what you see as the perfect outcome for next year. My guess is that instead of answering that second question with answers that are more true to what you really want / need for your life you answered with tactical, practical things – a slight increase in your income, a memorable vacation, a promotion, a new car, new house, etc… Now, look at your two answers side by side. Are they pointing in the same direction? When I do this exercise with clients, the vast majority of the answers are typically pointing in opposite directions. They aspire to one day own a restaurant, but no restaurant work is in the plan for next year. Instead they talk about wanting a promotion to senior pricing specialist for the tire industry. No wonder my clients complain they are feeling uninspired. They are living a life counter to where their inspiration lies. Looking far enough down the road frees us from the constraints of “practical” and allows us to tap into what we really want. The next step is then to find practical ways to get there.
2. What did you dream for your life when you were younger?
I’m realistic. People change. Circumstances change. The world changes. However, one of the biggest mistakes I commonly see made is treating one’s youthful dreams as absolutes. Either I can have it or I can’t. Either I can be a world famous novelist or I can’t. Either I can be an Olympic athlete or I can’t. Either I can become a doctor or I can’t. Rather, let your dream for your life morph and change as you do. Identify and capture the essence of your dream. Perhaps you no longer see yourself as a novelist, but blogging about life as a new parent would be inspiring for you and for others. You missed your window to be an Olympian, but getting in shape to run a triathlon could be a challenging goal that you never dreamed possible. Maybe organic chemistry dashed your medical school aspirations, but caring for others in times of need could give you that sense of meaning and purpose you always dreamed of having. So, revisit your youthful dreams for yourself and revise, edit it and mold them to shape the life you have today. In them lies who you are and who you are meant to be.
I leave you with one of my favorite scenes from any movie, Edna’s pep talk from the movie “The Incredibles.” We all need the kind of “pep talk” Edna gives every once and a while (complete with the physical contact). “Fight… Win!”