I’ve been interviewing people for Thing Finding Thursday who have, by and large, FOUND IT. Their THING! (Or, arguably, they are happily ensconced in their Thing For Now as we all know that Things evolve.) Yes, it's clear what Susannah, Danielle, Chris, Kelly, Pam, Dyana, Jenny, MMM, Tara, Jasmine, Megan, Amy are bringing forward to the world.
And from the emails I've been receiving since this series' inception, I hear that you're appreciating the informed wisdom they're sharing here.
So, “been there” stories are an incredible source of inspiration (and for a fabulous round-up of “been there…gone HERE” stories to rev up your possible-o-meter, go check out Alexandra’s piece.)
But what about the people that are RIGHT HERE, right now? Who know how they want to BE, and maybe not necessarily what to DO?
Sound like anyone you know?
I would love to write a guest post. I speak from my own experience of feeling a little inertia, waiting until I had THE answer...until I learned to taste all the flavours, take the cues from my friends and family (and myself) and ultimately making some big changes in my working life.
Friends, please enjoy this guest post by Emma Gwillim.
Journaling would be, for me, a great excuse to indulge in my love of stationery (oh the sweet joy of a crisp, new notebook!) but I just don’t seem to have the discipline to get my thoughts down on paper daily. Not in this structured way at least. I am a scribbler though - my creative mind is constantly stirring up new ideas which I write down, along with inspiring quotes and stories I’ve read in books, blogs and, my other obsession, magazines. In looking back over years of dog-eared notebooks, it’s obvious that my thing has come to light by a slow, dawning realisation.
I’m pretty impatient by nature and, if I set my mind to something, I’ll be a woman on a mission - I love a good challenge. And so, finding myself thing-less and a little lost in my early twenties, without knowing what the thing was that I wanted to go after was foreign territory. Uncomfortable at best, sheer panic a worst.
Here I was, working my way up the corporate ladder and earning a good living by giving out 100% of my hard work, energy and professionalism at work, all the while feeling pretty lost and empty on the inside. And without an answer. Terrified at the uncharacteristic prospect of doing nothing, I set to reading all manner of personal development books and inspiring biographies, while the answer still eluded me. What was my thing? The thing would set my heart on fire?
I spent way too long waiting for the answer, waiting for the proverbial light-bulb to go off.
And I’m embarrassed to say, unsurprisingly, I continued trading my time and energy for a monthly pay-slip in a job that left me cold.
Nothing changed until my mind-set changed.
The wonderful Steve Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I’d been waiting to work out, and logically decide, what my next dot would be and all the while I was in limbo.
It was a distraction in another area of my life, the natural end of a relationship, that was the shake-up for me. That ending became a new beginning of the real Emma: I took a flying lesson, I travelled, I began to learn the Italian language, I cooked foods I loved, I read books that interested me, I socialised with people that made me feel happy …. and almost I forgot about my pursuit of that ‘light-bulb’ moment. I stopped waiting and started moving, it didn’t matter in what direction.
And then it came....not in a blinding flash. Instead I instinctively knew the things that brought a smile to my face and my heart and, the more I indulged in things I was passionate about, the more it seemed to open up the conversation with others. In being willing to give things a go and learn if it was “me” or not, my wonderful family and friends seemed to be given the green light to impart their view, their perception of the real me, and added more colour to the picture that was always before my eyes. Clues to which I’d been scribbling down over the years.
I still don’t believe I’ve got the definitive answer of what I want to do, but I’ve got gutsier about what I want to be. As one of these things is brave, I’m going to bravely share, for the first time, my thing: to love and nurture people to live their best life. It’s a simple as that.
And how exciting! The giddiness of this was that I realised I could be this way in every area of my life - rather than the ‘what to do’ I was searching for in my working life. I can be loving and nurturing with my husband, family and friends. I can be loving and nurturing in my work and hobbies. I can even be loving and nurturing with myself - something that was definitely on the back-burner years ago.
If I could speak to my younger self, here’s what I’d advise:
- Your purpose isn’t your work. Your life is. What do you want to stand for? To be remembered for?
- Don’t hang onto a ‘someday, one day’ dream. Stop waiting. Get moving. There’s something gutsy about taking the next, courageous step without knowing where it will lead.
- Feel it. Let yourself be drawn to all the things that interest, inspire and make you wonder. It’s only by tasting a little of everything that you’ll get to know your favourite flavours.
Do you hear the grace in Emma's words that she knows how she wants to BE even if what to DO is still amorphous (and possibly even temporarily irrelevant)?
I, for one, am excited to witness this bright light along her path. You can too, by following her writing about her journey (and sharing inspiration) at her blog or connecting with her shining self on Twitter.
Tweetworthy Emma-isms (for your sharing pleasure)
- Your purpose isn’t your work. Your life is. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8qbny #TFThurs
- What do you want to stand for? @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8qbny #TFThurs
- Stop waiting. Get moving. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8qbny #TFThurs
- Let yourself be drawn to all the things that interest, inspire and make you wonder. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8qbny #TFThurs
- It’s only by tasting a little of e'thing that u’ll get to know yur fave flavours. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8qbny #TFThurs