Listening To Your Life

I was born in 1950 and country grown, outside of Pittsburgh, where I naturally went deep. The space program was a big deal when I was 12 years old but I can clearly remember it not holding a lick of interest for me.

I was into digging and dirt. I built dams in farmer’s streams. My buddies and I built earthen forts and tried tunneling. One of the best stand-by-me adventures was following a gas line excavation for miles, all day long.

At 12, I took my first job on a farm and my love for gardening grew from there. I worked on the farm for 5 years and loved every bit of it but I especially loved digging up spuds and stacking the wooden crates high in cool, dimly lit storage rooms.

When I was 17, I took a job going deeper into the earth and worked with a backhoe operator installing sewer pipes. I loved carrying those 80 lb. terra cotta sections and jumping in and out of ditches. Can you see the developing theme? Can you see what my life was trying to tell me, even then?

At 19, on summer break from college, I worked as a United Mine Worker in a deep shaft coal mine.

I wasn’t looking for any of these opportunities. They appeared one after the other, as guidance, to write my future life script.

Fast-forward 40 years. Eleven years ago, I was thinking about a name for my new coaching business. I called it Coresight, soon after changed to CoreU. I named it so because I loved getting to the root of deep, messy, emotional issues with my clients and I still do.

Business start up success is always more predicated on an inner game than on the influence of any outside conditions. That’s one reason why every entrepreneur must be able to read his or her own inner landscape.

When I was naming my career coaching company, I hadn’t yet made the connection to those earlier life experiences where I dug going deep so much. It became relevant, years later, when I first read Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak.

He proved to me that my soul, my inner wisdom, guidance from the highest and best part of my being has always been trying to nudge me in the direction of my true calling.

But these calling nudges, (like they often are), were not meant to be taken literally but as a metaphor for my life’s work.

Guess what my friend? Your life has been speaking to you as well. Are you listening?

Clients often ask, “Where will the confidence come from for me to make my best career change? Confidence comes from being able to read the signs and follow your life message. You don’t need a past life psychic to guide you. Your life has been giving you real time hints all along.

But you do need to sort out the authentic nudges from all of the “outside-in” messages and I have a way for you to do that. You could write your autobiography using appreciative inquiry.

You can reclaim the wisdom in your life hints by recalling what has worked well for you over the years. If you want a free guide write me and tell me why you think this approach will work for you.

If enough readers are interested, I’ll facilitate a free class on how to interpret your autobiography to see the most telling themes. This approach is one of dozens I use to guide clients to the powerful position of self-understanding and now you can have it for the asking.

It’s all there waiting to guide you and it always has been. Isn’t it time you listened to your own life?

Are You Sure You’re on the Right Path?

To successfully reach an objective, we need to clearly know our exact destination and our exact starting point. Most do well enough choosing a destination. But when it comes to the starting point, have you ever started walking down the wrong path because you really weren’t sure where you were?

CompassCan we get to where we want to be when we aren’t sure where we are? Sure, we do it all the time. But that’s the struggling, costly, “wait until we hit the bottom” route. There is an easier way. A really good business startup compass would be able to point us in the right direction and start us out on the right path.

(Image by mellowhummer on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

I use a focusing technique that’s a great right business compass if you pause long enough to check it. When we’re lost in the woods or in life, it’s wise to check our bearings before we move. Do this at the beginning of your journey and you won’t be so tuckered out at the end. Whether it’s in designing a life, finding delightful work or building a business, this method will get you started out right so you’ll have more time to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset.

Let’s say that the key to everything you needed to be aware of, work through, realize or take action on, could be found at the source of one of three paths. If that were true, wouldn’t you want to be sure of your path before starting out? Here they are.
Path in Woods

Personal Awareness Path
Personal awareness could also be described as personal enlighten-
ment, evolution, mindfulness, growth or conscious-
ness. Use the term that resonates for you. On this path we courageously work through our personal points of discomfort. Andrea Hess, Empowered Soul has written an excellent post on engaging consciousness.

(Image by Vortech on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)

Personal Productivity Path
Personal Productivity is a willingness to create and honor an accountability structure that increases the probability that you’ll frequently complete key results-producing activities.

Business Mastery Path
Business mastery is our learning path where we demonstrate a willingness to observe, evaluate, learn and adjust whatever methods, language and skills are essential for success in our chosen field.

Here’s how to read the compass.

Select a current objective where your progress might have slowed. While considering where you want to be, ask. Which path, right now, would move me closer to my destination?

Although it might seem like we need to simultaneously walk more than one path, don’t do it! That’s a sucker’s route that will weaken your focus and get you lost.

Tips & Shortcuts
If it’s a really big question or resolution, you probably need to walk the path of personal awareness. Same thing goes if you are uninspired. Get on this path and question yourself intently until you have a clear focus on what you want.

“Even though you are on the right track – you will get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Lack of action is an excellent sign that you are on the wrong path. A path can be perfect one day and a total dead end the next. As with using a compass, we need to pause frequently to check our bearings.

If you keep telling yourself you don’t know how, then jump on the path of business mastery. It begins at your search engine. Get online and find what you need to know to make a sound business decision.

If you procrastinate or are lacking energy, validate your destination by asking questions while walking the path of personal awareness.

If you can’t seem to complete, then build a better personal productivity structure by working with an accountability buddy or a coach.

Especially in the discovery stage of seeking delightful work, business discovery hikers sometimes think they need to go back to school or somehow learn how to function in a new career – before they decide on it. These folks jump on the path of mastery before they’re sure what their destination is. That’s definitely the wrong path. It’s like studying how to ride a bike for four years before you jump on and ride.

Beware of the advice of others because they always see things from their own perspective. If they got where they are through hard work, then they may suggest that you stay on the path of personal productivity. But if you’re on the wrong path, working harder at what doesn’t work won’t get you were you are going.

Which path are you on right now? Is it the right one to get you were you want to be?