“We can change. People say we can’t, but we do when the stakes or the pain is high enough. And when we do, life can change. It offers more of itself when we agree to give up our busyness.” –Ann Lamott
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between change and finding our life purpose.
Do we change and then life changes in response or is change introduced to us as a way of incentivizing us to change?
While, a lucky few come into this world with a linear path, for many of us, myself included, it’s been a long and windy road
When I was younger and less self -aware it definitely took outside change to prompt me to adjust course. Looking back I can see that from my very first job as a lawyer, I knew deep inside it was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Which is probably why after 18 months I was asked to move on. For many years I was deeply self critical about the experience. It was only 10 years down the road when my sense of self was more deeply developed that I realized it was a favor or gift the universe had handed me.
My second job in many ways was my most enjoyable. I went to work for a small boutique law firm in D.C. and had an incredible amount of autonomy and responsibility that made me feel powerful. Ultimately I needed to take the D.C. bar to continue practicing law in D.C. There was also the small matter of my husband who was still living back in Chicago! So rather than commit to the job, I committed to my husband and moved back to Chicago. The real lesson from that experience was that it helped me clarify what I most needed in a marriage.
My last job working in an association showed me that my real purpose less about w changing laws and policies and more with helping individuals change and evolve and most importantly shift their perspective.
The hardest thing about making any significant transition is the identity change that’s required. Being a lawyer provided me with a lot security because I was comfortable fulfilling most of the expectations that come with it, including assertiveness and intelligence. What would it mean to become a Life Coach? We are often asked to take leaps of faith before we have answers to all of our questions.
I decided to leave the practice of law because of the constant acrimony and conflict. Which is funny because if you ask anyone who knows me, you would not consider me to be shy or conflict adverse.
When we are young we lack the maturity and so it is inevitable that we fumble and find our way. It usually takes pain and discomfort as a catalyst to prompt us make changes and eventually develop the inner clarity to find our way.
I decided to become a life coach because as I evolved, I recognized that it wasn’t about leaving my identity as a lawyer behind, it was about how to integrate the best parts of that role with the person I was becoming.
What I now know to be true as a result of having traversed a lot of different terrains in my career is that there are 3 things that influence our ability to find our Purpose: 1) Curiosity 2) Self -Compassion and 3) Our Receptivity.
If we possess all three of things then making big changes is easier. I now know the reason my transition out the law took so long is that I lacked of self -compassion and the ability to receive..
Receiving requires us to be vulnerable. It includes the ability to believe that you’re worthy of better things of receiving support and you’re open and willing to ask for help. This is a key component of becoming an effective networker. We need to open ourselves up to receiving advice, suggestions, support, and guidance from others. I eventually learned how to do that and when I did I landed my last and most rewarding job
Self-compassion is probably the hardest earned of all. I was hard wired to confuse things feeling hard with things being important. It took navigating a lot of ups and downs in my personal life to teach me that its only when we soften toward ourselves and others that we can be open to receiving and giving ourselves permission to create change.
It’s tempting in life to find the process of our own becoming to be tedious. But that’s where curiosity comes in. Fortunately, I have always been innately curious about myself as well as what makes other ticks.
During all the ups and downs I seldom doubted that I was being detoured. I learned to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to learn about myself through my many experiences.
Where are you on your journey to finding your life purpose? Have you unlocked the three keys? I’d love to hear from you....
If you’re interested in learning more how you can acquire these 3 keys, my new group course 7 Steps to Letting Go of Your Fear of Change starts at the end of October. To learn more and sign up go here