Skip to main content

Your innate strengths, passions, and personality are the raw materials that you have available with which to build your career.

The problem is… while you have all of these beautiful raw materials, you weren’t born with a list of what they are or instructions about what to build. No one explained that in order to discover what you’re made of, you just need to be yourself and listen to the experiences of your life that are constantly revealing who you are and directing you toward your path.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen easily.

The organic unfolding of the pathfinding journey gets interrupted by cultural conditioning and the challenge of being human. What typically happens is that people experience incredible pressure from family, friends, and the culture to fit in and succeed. So, they start trying to reshape themselves and live their life in a way that is acceptable by other people. They start trying to look good, be successful, be liked. Instead of listening to their inner voice, they look to what other people are doing for the way. Instead of giving themselves permission to express their uniqueness and authenticity, they try to fit in. They start living someone else’s life – doing what they “should” be doing, not what is innately aligned with who they are.

I’m guessing some of this sounds familiar. I know it from my own life and from my 20 years of professional experience as a coach. This could be happening to you at any age. I have clients ranging in age from their early twenties to their late sixties that equally suffer from trying to fulfill a definition of success that has little meaning to them. They didn’t do anything wrong. This is just what happens. But it doesn’t have to continue.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs said it well. You can’t live your best life by listening to other people’s ideas. The first step to living your own true life is to become aware of all the ways you are being influenced by other people’s ideas about what you should do. That cleans the slate so you can listen to your truth.

How to Let Go: The First Step

The first step in figuring out what to do with your life is to let go of the limiting beliefs and ideas about what you “should” be doing so you can hear your own truth.

Activity: Stop Shoulding on Yourself

What are all the things you’ve been told you should be doing with your life? Set a timer for 10 minutes and do a free write about all the things you’ve been told you should be doing. If you get stuck, think about what the influential people in your life have told you that you should be doing (parents, partner, friends, culture, etc.)

Letting that stuff go cleans the slate so you can clearly see who you are and what you want. It also creates the space for your true path to emerge organically without any limitations from predefined ideas of what you think you should be doing. If you don’t acknowledge the limiting beliefs you have about what your life and career should look like (and start letting them go) you may not create the space for your true self and your true path to emerge.

With a clean slate, you can authentically discover who you really are, how you want to live, and what you are built to do. Once you have let go, you can discover what you’re made of. Then, you can figure out what you are made to do.

Further Reading:

If you’d like to dive in to this area deeper; we’ve written more on these topics here:

Leave a Reply

Black Lives MatterStatement of Solidarity