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Knowing Your Story Archives - Page 3 of 6 - The Meaning Movement

Category "Knowing Your Story"

An Agile Approach to Life and Career Planning

You can’t plan your whole life out. It’s just not possible.

In his book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert makes the point again and again that humans are consistently bad at predicting what will make us happy.

Isn’t that funny? We’re simply bad at anticipating in the present what we’ll want and what will make us happy in the future.

So even if you could plan out your entire life without any unexpected twists and turns, you’d have created a stagnant map to a moving target.

This is something I keep coming back to when it when it comes to career planning and your life’s work. For most people, your life’s work doesn’t change very much, but what will change is how you go about making that impact. You can say that your work is about helping people in a certain way, but you can’t necessarily be sure how you’ll go about doing that work 10 years from now.

Some of the difficulty in predicting and career planning is that at this moment you only know what’s possible at this very moment. Possibilities open and close in sets. What’s available and even imaginable to you right now is based on where you are and what you’ve been exposed to.

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The Psychological Necessity of Breaking the Rules

“We see you as an artist,” he said. His hair was long, thick, and wavy. His face thin and defined. His gaze intense and gentle.

Sixteen of us sat around a big solid wooden table, eating a meal together. We were all part of an Artist Residency at the graduate school I attended.

Somehow I ended up among them.

I didn’t think of myself as an artist. Though I studied music composition in undergrad, I always felt a bit like I was faking it— everyone else had a much greater mastery of their instruments and musical concepts.

I thought my main focus for the week of the Artist Residency was going to be writing music. It turns out it was something much deeper.

His words to me around that table were part of shift in how I thought of myself. It may seem small from the outside, but on the inside it was big. And risky.

I didn’t spend time around artists in my younger years. My family didn’t have a category for them. None of us were artists. In fact, I don’t know that I could find a single artist in my family tree.

We’d go to art events, but there was always a sense that those people weren’t our people. They were misunderstood and called “artsy-fartsy”.

Artists may make pretty things, but they didn’t seem to belong in our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I began to embrace the fact that I really am a creative at heart, and that making is a big part of who I am.
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The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy — Why You Make Them and How to Stop

I was talking with a friend about his business the other day. He’s wanting to scale things up and make a little more income. I suggested he try something he hadn’t done before. It would be a bold move on his part, but it would be unlike anything else in his field.

He bristled and went on to tell me that he couldn’t do that and all the reasons he had for it.

I wasn’t going to push him further than he wanted to go (this was just a friendly conversation after all), but he left the conversation just as stuck as he was before.

I left feeling frustrated. If you ask me for my opinion and ideas, don’t blame me if they’re too hard or scary for you. (After all, if you want to go places that other people are not going, you may have to take a different path to get there.)

I was annoyed that there were options right there in front of him, but he wouldn’t take them.
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Your Life’s Work is a Work in Progress (and What that Means for What You Do Next)

In 2001 Michael Hyatt wrote a book about the importance of internet privacy. The book talks about how marketers, spammers, government agencies, and hackers can use your information against you. Much has changed since 2001, but what has changed most is Michael Hyatt.

Today he’s one of the most successful bloggers around. He’s even written about the importance of writing and how blogging has changed his life and his career.

He’s said himself that he wouldn’t write the book today— not that the content isn’t helpful, but that his view of the internet has changed.  Privacy is not as important to him as it once was. Now he writes to connect and share with people— something he wasn’t doing in 2001.

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Finding Purpose in Life: The Long Guide to Finding Your Life’s Work

It was an earnest request: “I’d like to know how to find your vocation.”

We were sitting in one of Seattle’s finest coffee establishments. It was a sunny May morning— the best kind of day that you could hope for.

And I suddenly found myself unsure of where to start.

This is what I do! This is how I love to help people, but to answer the question so directly is challenging!

This is because the answer is usually pretty nuanced. It has to address who you, where you are, what you’re looking for in that question, and how you think of yourself, work, and life.

Here’s the trick about it: finding purpose in life is both beautifully simple and as complex as every person.

Finding your calling, vocation, and life’s work are about finding your identity. It’s about living into a deeper expression of who you are as a human.

As I expressed in the Meaning Manifesto, you were made to make something. If there’s one message for you to take away from that, it’s that you have something to say. So the question of finding your life’s work in essence is the question: “What do you want to say?”

And by say, I don’t mean actually say with words (though it could mean that), I mean create. Basically, what’s the impact you want to have on the world around you?

In this post, I’m going to lay out how you answer the question. Continue Reading