“You want to look for your passions (what you’d most love to do), rather than just your competencies (what you can do).” Dick Bolles, Author, What Color is Your Parachute?
What Am I Supposed to Do in Life?
I’m often asked, “How do I know what I am supposed to with my life?” This apparently vexing question flows off the lips of scores of people I have coached in business or in everyday life.
How did we ever make such a simple question so complex? It’s like, “God gave you a purpose in life at birth… but he hid it and your first job is to find it.” I don’t believe God is quite so capricious.
The answer to that question is really simple. The problem is that we have been taught in our production-oriented culture to place our focus on the wrong thing. We long to emulate the success of Bill Gates or Jane Goodall and not Ty Rose or Brett Kay.
You are probably asking, “Who are those last two names?” Well, Ty Rose is a painter and Brett Kay is a high school baseball coach. Ty and Brett are neither rich or famous, yet they have one huge thing in common with Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. That one thing is the difference-maker in life.
What Makes You Excited? What Do You Love to Do?
The one thing: they Love doing what they do.
It’s not difficult to figure out the basics of your purpose in life when you answer two questions: (1) “What excites you?” and (2) “What do you love to do?” Your purpose in life is NOT about fame and fortune, but about enjoying your gifts and sharing them with others.
Writing about the difference between “what sells” and “what matters” renowned author, Ursula K. Le Guin, says:
“Right now, we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of art… Books aren’t just commodities: the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.”
Ty Rose and Brett Kay are fulfilled people when they practice their “arts” of painting and coaching. It matters little about becoming rich or famous, and matters much about finding contentment in the practice of your innate gifts.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate financial success or gaining some kind of fame for your work. I love both. My guess is you do as well. But, are you willing to sacrifice your innermost satisfaction to gain them? Many are and the result is a host of discontented successful people.
I think you have the picture. Satisfaction with life can largely be attained when you are who you were built to be. And you can easily discover who you were built to be because when you do it, you love it. It excites you.
So here are two fun actions for you.
- Make a list of 10 Things that excite you and that you love to do.
- Circle the ones that you do really, really well.
The circled items are indicators of who you are hard-wired to be. Now go and test out the process. For one month try to focus as much time as possible doing what you love to do and you do them well. Then witness the results of contentment, fulfilment, and impact on everyone around you. Practice your art and your world will be a better place.
It really is that simple to get started.
Practice Your Art
As You Focus on What You Love to Do
Photo courtesy of kieferpix at istockphoto