By: Robin Blackburn McBride
What would you love in the area of vocation and creativity?
You may respond in a flash. Or, like many people, you may not have a ready answer. In working with clients, workshop participants, and countless classes of teenagers over the years, I’ve discovered the reply to this most basic of questions does not always leap to mind.
As children, we readily use our imagination to create big dreams, but for most of us this gets harder as we get older.
As adults, we have the benefit of greater experience. We have higher learning, finely honed skill sets, and (one hopes) ever-deepening compassion and evolving wisdom. Yet in our maturity, ironically, our acquired fears of scarcity and judgement can block us from imagining the Life we’d truly love living.
We can so easily forget to dream.
Of course in many ways we’re successful, but success does not always equal fulfillment. In order for the two to be united, our creative success must come from a core sense of purpose – what leadership expert Simon Sinek famously refers to as our “Why.” If not, our routines and even our achievements can feel hollow.
I believe we’d all love a life where success and fulfillment are aligned. It’s my passion and expertise to help you create that life!
Here are six prompts for creating purposefully, with the joy and deep satisfaction of being on track:
1) Invite clarity of purpose and write your own personal mission statement. Ask yourself why you are here, on the planet, at this time. What answer comes?
Gaining a better sense of your WHY helps you become more discerning when defining a vision and dream. You get closer to knowing what you’d truly love.
2) Put things in order: Purpose guides vision, which in turn leads to goals.
That’s the order of a dream builder.
Unfortunately in many workplaces, employees are asked to set goals without identifying an overarching purpose or vision. A company may require employees’ goals to align with the organization’s mission statement and strategic plan; yet little or no consideration is given to anyone’s personal sense of calling, and how it might be nurtured and used to benefit others within and beyond the organization. The result? Goal-setting becomes an inauthentic, make-work project.
Self-employed artists and other solopreneurs can also easily lose touch with their true mission in the drive to achieve and sustain success. How often, in an exhaustingly busy stretch, do we check in with our deepest reason for doing what we do?
Recently I gave a talk on dream building for a professional organization, and attendees told me afterward how moved they were to connect with their core sense of meaning and purpose. The fact that the workshop required them to get personal was both a shock and delight which ignited all of us.
3) Create your career – and recreate it, too!
I love creative director Jason Theodor’s advice to “understand that a career is something that you create, rather than a pre-existing role that you step into.” He urges, “It takes considerable energy to plan your own future, but if you don’t figure out what you want to become, someone else will define it for you.” So blaze your trail. Give it curves! You want adventures, right?
4) Consult your Inner Child.
You were born with genius capacity…
- What were your earliest dreams for your life?
- What memories stand out as happiest and why?
- When did you feel great about YOU, and most deeply satisfied in your experiences while growing up? And afterward? What deeply satisfying moments have you experienced recently?
Use those memories as clues to deciphering your Why. The feeling-tone in those memories is vital. What feeling would you love to create repeatedly?
5) Play to your strengths.
Okay, what are they? I value the distinction that brand strategist Danielle M. Miller makes between strengths and skillsets: “Strengths and gifts are different from skill sets and competencies. Strengths and gifts are the things you are naturally good at; the things that seem ridiculously easy for you and that everyone says, ‘I don’t know how you do it!’” Strengths and gifts are clues to calling and character, and when we focus on those shining attributes over “shoring up weaknesses,” we’re more likely to align with purpose, passion, and fulfillment.
6) Embrace the experiment!
At any age, we can learn to recognize our life as a beautiful experiment. Knowing this can be absolutely liberating when it comes to making changes for growth and greater fulfillment.
So what would you love? Imagine.