If you are a frequenter of this blog, you already know that I am a hardcore nerd. I guess it just comes with the territory of being a motivational speaker and life coach. This goes back as far as I can remember. As a kid, when my friends and I were playing baseball, I was the weirdo who didn’t mind being on the bench. After all, it gave me a chance to do my best yelling, “You can do it! I BELIEVE in you!”
I stood there trying to raise my voice loud enough to quiet the guy next to me telling me to shut up or he would promptly shove his nachos up my nose hole, I began to perfect the ability to project my voice (and heal a bruised nose bridge at the speed of light). I still use that neat little party trick when I speak to college kids, yelling things much as I did as a boy, “You can do it! I BELIEVE in you!”
I think if we all look back on our lives, we all have moments when we realize that destiny has been trying to speak to us and through us ever since we can remember. Often times, those moments are not realized until we find ourselves where we are supposed to be and take time to look back a while – but I am a firm believer in this inner voice and the guidance that it has to give to us. If we take time to listen, it will never lead us astray. (Unless your inner voice tells you to go rob a bank or steal a basket of baby kittens. In which case, break up with your inner voice immediately because at this point your inner voice is like that drunk friend from freshman year who always tried to convince you how much cooler watching Diehard was wasted – and you listened, wished you hadn’t and felt like you might die… the hard way in the corner.)
When speaking at universities one thing I get asked about often is “How did you know what you wanted to do with your life?”
That’s a tough question!
But, basically, I took the time to realize what I did well and how doing what I did well made me feel on the inside. Helping other people makes me feel like the me-sized hole in the universe, no matter how small, is filled up now because I am doing what I am supposed to do. It is always a full-circle moment when I see the lightbulb go off for someone else because I know that little glint in their eye and that subtle smile on their face. I know what content looks like. I know that they are having that fitting-together-of-the-puzzle moment that I had all those years ago. It really is like finding the middle piece of the puzzle that you lost under a table leg or found behind the bookshelf. That moment when that Dutch windmill actually starts to look like a Dutch windmill. (I told you I was a nerd. Wanna do puzzles with me? Hours of entertainment.)
Even though this is often something discussed at large with younger audiences, you would be surprised, however, at how much more often I get asked this question by people pushing 40, 50 or even 60 who still feel like they are not where they are meant to be. It is incredibly common. There is no wrong age or wrong time in your life to figure out where you are going. In fact, the older you are, the more likely you are too, as the Greeks would say, “Know thy self.”
If you have reached a crossroads in your life or career, your inner navigational system is trying to tell you something. It is not necessarily to “jump ship” or “start over”. In many cases, that inner voice is simply trying to get you to branch out, expand your reach, and pay attention to what is bugging you. It is trying to get you to ask it a few questions.
Unhappy in your marriage? It may not be time to call it quits. Maybe it’s time to call up your spouse and make time to connect. You just might find that you fall in love all over again.
Bummed about your cubicle job? Maybe your purpose isn’t leaving the cubicle. Everyone around you in those cubicles may be feeling the same way. Find fun ways to make now better. Then, decide if you really want to run away to join the circus.
Are you positive it is a life-changing time? Then, branch out. There is no shame in realizing that you hate being a lawyer and want to become an actor, a clown, a mime, a doctor, or a giraffe…
There are no wrong answers. (If you chose giraffe though, I would really like to come over and watch you attempt to become a giraffe. I feel like you are my protégé already. You are my spirit animal. I will bring popcorn.)
Only the right questions.
Ask yourself what you want out of life. When you know the right questions, you will be able to find the right answers, with your inner voice as your guide.
If your inner voice is bugging the hell out of you and keeps telling you to make U-turns into the dark, creepy forests like Beta Siri, (Seriously ‘tho, why is Siri trying to lead me down a road-less path of National Forest?) it is ok to ask for directions. And in case you needed to hear it, in case you are having one of those days, in case you have nachos and an urge to send them in the general direction of my nose... let me just say, “You can do it! I BELIEVE in you!”