By: Katie Benson, Director of Expansion for Xperience Real Estate
The Ancient Greek truth “know thyself”, is inscribed at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This truth has been repeated with variation over the years by some of the greatest philosophers of all time and yet in the busyness and distraction of the digital age we live in, how often do we embrace the question while in the stillness and quiet of reflection?
I’ve been reading “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday and it always blows my mind that what you read, what you hear, what you experience, and what you learn all end up having one common theme or message AND frequently it’s the area of greatest opportunity and growth for the individual in question.
“Know thyself” – Socrates
“Do thine own work, and know thyself” – Plato
“To KNOW thyself is the beginning of WISDOM” – Aristotle
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing YOURSELF is true WISDOM”- Lao-Tzu
“Man, know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and God” – Pythagoras
In the most recent “Sunday Letter” from our CEO, Chris Suarez (ONE DAY AT A TIME) he mentions WINNING THE DAY through focusing on the 5 C’s (Create, Clarify, Choose, Commit, Control). The 2nd “C” (CLARIFY) reminded me of an idea presented on a coaching call I had recently with Coach Kate Patulski. It was around the pivotal process of discovering purpose through “PROJECT ME”.
DISCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE.
It feels like a tall order, right?
That’s what had me a little bit stuck. We can sometimes judge ourselves harshly in that discovery process and can be tempted to think “Well it’s just not big enough”. As Coach Kate stated this week, “If you’ve fully realized your purpose, YOU ARE DEAD, it’s about the DISCOVERY PROCESS, your soul’s journey, and being aligned with your soul’s true intention”.
We have two forces at work inside of us, OUR SOUL and our personality. The SOUL is much BIGGER than the BODY and yet the BODY houses the PERSONALITY which is the “conditioned mind” or our “PROGRAMMING”. It’s basically our LEARNED behavior. The PURPOSE of the PERSONALITY is the ‘earth journey’ to further the SOUL. EVERY SINGLE EXPERIENCE we have is part of that JOURNEY and is designed to further the soul. Simply put, the farther we get away from our soul, the harder it is.
Coach Kate used an analogy I found highly effective, she said “think about the SOUL as a CRUISE SHIP and the PERSONALITY is the dinghy. While the dinghy is part of the cruise ship, it has the ability to go wherever it wants”. When the PERSONALITY (physical body) is aligned with the SOUL, we experience SMOOTH SAILING. When we are moving against the soul, the waters will be very rough indeed. When actions are aligned with purpose, the soul GROWS and when we are ‘moving AGAINST’ or fighting that purpose, we will experience turbulence and resistance.
Whatever you are FEELING right now, you were meant to feel. Whatever you’ve experienced along the way (whether you’ve labeled it GOOD or BAD) you were MEANT to experience because it’s part of YOUR soul’s beautiful JOURNEY! Rest in the calm knowing that life’s situations – life’s perceived ‘challenges’ – arise to expose any missing or limited parts of ourselves SUCH THAT WE MAY GROW! It’s all part of the journey. You are EXACTLY where you are MEANT TO BE at the exact time you’re meant to be there and the MOMENT you JUDGE YOUR JOURNEY, you lose your personal power. The moment you judge YOURSELF for not “being farther along” or not having mastered a specific challenge yet, you lose the lesson and the growth opportunity. Isn’t that FREEING?
That doesn’t mean that we have license to ignore the growth opportunities life presents; however it DOES MEAN that each circumstance, each challenge, each event we experience is moving us closer to our soul’s purpose. In consciously creating AWARENESS, we are able to fully embrace our current position with the INTENTION of GROWTH.
You have FAR MORE CAPACITY than you could ever imagine! The more you MOVE TOWARDS YOUR PURPOSE, the easier things become. Our INTENTION is what is behind alignment with our purpose. If “PROJECT ME” is about discovery of our life’s purpose, then choosing our INTENTION is the FIRST STEP towards alignment with that purpose! Understand that this doesn’t happen with a flash of light or with a loud clap of thunder, it’s in the stillness and the quiet awareness around WHO YOU ARE that clarity begins. It all begins with examining the INTENTION with which we walk through the world. INTENTION is the ESSENCE behind what we’re DOING.
Steve Jobs had an INTENTION to provide technology in a beautiful package. His intention wasn’t necessarily to have incredibly fulfilling work relationships while doing so and yet it is with great respect that I say Mr. Jobs embodied his intention which led to the fulfillment of his ultimate PURPOSE.
I would offer that your INTENTION already exists within you. AWARENESS around that intention is what brings clarity to our perfect steps towards alignment of soul and personality. This is the described “FLOW STATE” Mihaly Csikszentmihaly talks about. When purpose and personality are aligned we experience the effortlessness of FLOW within ourselves.
PROJECT ME is about getting more connected with PURPOSE!
The PROCESS is moving through discovery and creating AWARENESS around core intent or what is meaningful to YOU specifically!
Coach Kate repeatedly asks “Are you going to use the time or are you going to allow the time to use you?”
WE ARE NOT GUARANTEED another 24 hours. We have NO IDEA if we’ll remain on this earth for another week, month, or YEAR. Intuitively you ALREADY KNOW that living in alignment with your TRUE PURPOSE will provide a peaceful fulfillment that many never fully realize.
So make the choice, take the steps, and DO THE WORK required to live a WILDLY JOYFUL life because we just don’t know how long that life will be.
THE THREE PRACTICAL STEPS of “PROJECT ME”
BLOCK the time for STILLNESS, or as Chris Suarez would say “create the space to set your intention for each day”. Without dedicated time to reflect, nothing happens, nothing changes and we continue to live OUTSIDE of our awareness. Content to operate at minimum capacity and wondering why there is so much resistance in our lives.
WHO ARE YOU REALLY?
What are the characteristics of who it is that exists at the CORE of your BEING?
ASK YOURSELF the following questions during your quiet focus and reflection time and journal your responses:
What have I learned about ME that I LOVE?
What have I discovered that sparks JOY for ME?
What have I discovered that I never want to experience again?
WHAT IS TRULY MEANINGFUL TO ME?
When do I feel MOST ALIVE?
What is available to me that I just haven’t accessed yet?
What would I do that would PUSH BEYOND my BOUNDARIES?
Asking yourself that last question FORCES YOUR BRAIN into the 90% capacity that isn’t often accessed. REMEMBER, all humans are accessing roughly the same 10% of the brain on a regular basis. We think the same thoughts over and over and over again. We do the same things over and over and over again. We OPERATE in the same 10% day after day after month after year and NOT MUCH CHANGES as a result.
There is HUGE VALUE in pushing against the self imposed boundaries of the brain and thinking in ways we haven’t thought before. Over time, if done repeatedly, it causes a massive INCREASE in capacity.
There’s a YouTube video of Jim Carrey talking about having a purpose and an intention that PUSHED beyond the boundaries of what he believed was possible for himself when he wrote himself a 10M check for “acting services rendered”. Ultimately that next year, the movie Dumb and Dumber earned Jim over 10M for acting services rendered. Now, make no mistake, it was A LOT of HARD WORK to get there and yet with CLARITY around his INTENTION and PURPOSE, he achieved a target that pushed beyond his own ‘self imposed’ boundaries. It’s important to note that Jim Carrey didn’t pursue acting BECAUSE OF the MONEY. Jim Carrey pursued acting because it was aligned with WHAT MADE HIM FEEL MOST ALIVE. Jim Carrey’s style is unmistakably HIS OWN, right? He wasn’t acting like ANYBODY ELSE, he wasn’t mimicking great actors of the past, he was most certainly marching to the beat of his OWN DRUM! AND YET to do this, Jim Carrey had to KNOW HIMSELF and fully embrace all the idiosyncrasies of HIS OWN STYLE.
Most humans walk through the world without regard for any intention at all. We’re on autopilot, permanently stuck in the same 10% thinking yet yearning for something different. This is the RESISTANCE that causes dissatisfaction with the current state of being.
Ask yourself the next level questions around the INTENTION held around each important area of your life:
WHAT IS MY INTENTION?
What is MY INTENTION around my work?
What is MY INTENTION around PEOPLE?
What is MY INTENTION around my FAMILY?
What is MY INTENTION around the impact I would choose to make in the world?
If your intention is to ‘leave people better than you found them’, that is your OVERLAY for every single interaction you have. In camping on this, I came to the realization that my INTENTION is to “Create an environment where people are more EMPOWERED”. SIMPLE and SUCCINCT and this is the overlay with which I choose to approach EACH interaction, each challenge, and each experience. I am ALIGNED with my PURPOSE as long as that INTENTION is at the heart of the way I walk through the world. When I truly CONNECT with another human and truly connect with where they’re at in their journey (keeping my intention at the forefront of my mind) something BIGGER happens in the world as a result. Keeping integrity with intention causes ALIGNMENT with PURPOSE.
As Coach Kate shared with me on our last call, “If it feels TOO BIG to connect with your LIFE’S PURPOSE, narrow the field”.
What is my purpose (intention) through the end of the year?
What is my purpose (intention) through the end of the month?
What is my purpose (intention) through the end of the week?
What is my purpose (intention) through the end of the day?
If it’s more manageable to focus on your purpose for THAT HOUR, SO BE IT! Remember, don’t judge the journey. It’s not about the END (because that would mean you’re DEAD), it’s about the PROCESS of GROWTH as we discover and realize the potential we already have inside of us!
YOU and only you were born with the UNIQUE GIFTS that only you possess. Part of moving closer to your incredible POTENTIAL will require access and development of THOSE UNIQUE GIFTS. YOU and ONLY YOU arrived on this planet with YOUR SPECIFIC PURPOSE. NOBODY ELSE BUT YOU has the ability to walk the path of your specific PURPOSE. It is only when we fight against that purpose that we feel strangely at odds with the world. THE ANSWERS YOU SEEK are ALREADY INSIDE OF YOU! In the stillness of reflection, the path will be illuminated. Choose to operate in the 90% of your brain not often accessed. CONSCIOUSLY choose to LISTEN to the wisdom that is already inside of you and in so doing, alignment of SOUL and PERSONALITY will occur and resistance will become non-existent. BE UNWILLING to fit into the BOX of what others feel you should be.
Embrace the uniqueness that is YOU and ONLY YOU.