Many of us at some point in life ask ourselves this question. It may be we are experiencing a mid/late life crisis or simply we find ourselves at a cross road in life. No matter how hard we think, the answers somehow never seem to come.
We are defaulted to use our minds for answers. Yet, the answers to the life related questions never seem to come no matter how hard we think. We have forgotten, and probably didn’t realize, that when it comes to life questions the formula may work differently.
The answers to the WHAT question lie with WHO. Hence, the more we think about the “WHAT do I truly want to do?”, the more lost and frustrated we get.
It is Who that leads to What .
Who we are decide and impact on what we do.
What we do doesn’t define or confine who we are.
Without knowing who we are, it is almost impossible to know what we want to do in life. So how can we know “who we are”? But wait, don’t we already know who we are?
Today, when we are a CEO of a company, and when we meet someone for the first time, we say “Hi, I am John Burton and I am the CEO of XYZ Company.” Imagine tomorrow there was a huge financial crisis and that XYZ Company went bust. We met someone for the first time again, how would we introduce ourselves this time?
We have mixed up, if not mistaken, our job titles, professions and, at time, social status as who we are. When that title and profession is taken away, we experience an identity crisis. Think of the one time when you were in between jobs, i.e. not having another job waiting for you whilst you weren’t working. Did you suddenly feel unsure of who you were? Did you feel a loss of self-confidence? And did you feel lost with your direction in life?
When it comes to explanation, description, justification, we are accustomed to using words. When it can’t be explained, described or justified by words, logically and rationally, we find it difficult to understand. This is one consequence of unconscious coding – how we are wired by our surrounding environments.
Who I am can be described by words – I am smart. I am reliable. I am honest. I am forward thinking. I am a good leader. I am capable. I am John Burton.
Who I am also goes beyond words. It is a sense of self. I am who I am.
Imagine you are afraid of height and somehow you manage to conquer your own fear and go for bungee jumping. Imagine the sensation you feel inside you when you have done it. That sensation is beyond words and yet it is so real. It is a sense of self – knowing that I have (done the bungee jumping), I can (conquer my own fear) and I AM (who I am). Imagine you go and climb the Mt. Everest. Having spent hours and hours climbing to the top and you finally reach there. How would you feel? That sense of achievement is again beyond words because it is I have, I can and I AM.
We often overlook I AM, relating and linking I AM solely with our identities (e.g. CEOs/CFOs) or our abilities and achievements (e.g. climbing Mt Everest). This is another consequence of unconscious coding.
It is hard for us to feel the sense of self regularly with the way we live (how we are coded), i.e. thinking over feeling, action over inaction, doing over being. After all, how often do we go bungee jumping or climb the Mt. Everest?
The first step to help us connect with the sense of self is to challenge and examine our existing thoughts and beliefs, to become crystal clear of who we are not and what we don’t want in life.
There are many things we say we want in life but they are really things that we think we want, not truly what we want.
When our mind is cluttered with non-serving thoughts and ideas, it’s difficult for us to see and know what we want to do next, let alone feel and connect with who we really are.
Be absolutely clear with your thought, ideas, wants and beliefs. Clarity comes when there is space for it. With space, we can access our own knowing and wisdom which has always been with and within us. We just didn’t, and can’t notice them because we are too busy being the CEOs as we are, not who we truly are. And we have been busy climbing the Mt. Everest in Nepal, not the inner mountains within ourselves.