“When you thought of that dream, did you feel full of energy and passion? A. Robbins”
When we were young, we were much more in contact with who we really were inside. We responded more based on direct emotions and deepest feelings and desires. The older we got, the more we learned to control these emotions. Sometimes because it was necessary and useful, sometimes under (perceived) pressure of our social environment.
By taking more distance to our real own self, we also took distance to our passion and dreams. These became secondary to studying, work, career, family and mortgage. All relevant and important, but they kept most of us from following our passion. Many of you will now say that it is too late, there is no use in pursuing our passion anymore, and find all kind of reasons not to do so. You might even say you do not have them: dreams and passion. I disagree, completely. From my own experience I know, it can be done. It isn’t easy and it will cost you effort, time and maybe even giving up on things you thought were important. But it can be done. And from own experience, I can tell you: you will be achieving real happiness and even a complete new definition of personal (meaningful) success.
“I knew what I wanted, …at least I thought so…”
For example, I was sure that I knew what I wanted. And what it meant, a successful life. As so many around me, I thought that an impressive job title, a large company car and a generous paycheck would lead to happiness. 46 Years of life experience, 20 years of work experience and a burn-out later, and I came to the strange conclusion that achieving all of this did not make me happy at all.
“My definition of success”
Next it took me several years to determine what it was, that I really wanted to do with my life, what my passion was. But I found out who I am, what my passion was and how to draw (life-) energy from it.
Now I am a life coach and although that also brings its own challenges, I can tell you, I have never been happier about work and felt better about life in general than I do now. I also found my own personal definition of (meaningful) success. Which is that I want to be able to life of working 4 days a week as a coach, helping people who work in stressful environments, to be happier about how they function at work and in life in general. During the fifth day of the working week I want to give back. To give back to family, friends and society. This is my new definition of success. A happy one.
“Giving back is sharing”
This article and the following ones are part of me giving back. And I will do that by sharing my journey to finding meaningful success with you. I am doing that in the conviction that it can also help you, to find your passion and happiness.
I have shaped my approach in the model below. It all starts with knowing your own identity, which will lead to getting in contact with your personal passion, which will lead to being happy and full of life energy, which in turn will lead to meaningful success in your live.
“Not just knowledge from a book, but a lot of personal experience”
I have been trained to be a professional life coach and have read a lot about how to shape your life. But some of the most relevant information that I gathered about this subject, I got from personal experience. I do not just write about it, I have been there and went through it myself. Therefore, I know that it is important to start by getting to know yourself (again). What is it you stand for, what do you find important, what values should be leading in your life? But also, what makes you unique and different from the rest?
“It is not about a car or status”
This search is not about material things or status. Identity is about the deepest inner side of you, not about decoration. Dare to look further than what you think, others should think of you. Look at what you would like to see, if you would be looking in from the outside. It is after all, about your passion and dreams, not about those of someone else.
“You don’t have to do it alone”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t need to go and see a coach for professional guidance right from the start. Start by approaching the people around you.
Come up with a description of what you think is your own identity. Start telling people around you, those that know you well, about it and ask for feedback. Also ask them what they think defines you, what is the first thing that comes to mind when they have to describe you. You don’t need to take their opinion as the absolute truth. Let it sink in, chew on it and then see how it can contribute to your own description.
“Determining what is your own personal you, takes time”
Take your time. Write everything down, even if on first glance it does not look relevant. Read back and take some time to consider what it means to you, what is written there. Write down those considerations as well. Think some more, let it rest for a while and keep asking those next to you for feedback on your (new) findings. You will see that, slowly, an image is forming, which will lead to insights into your personality and identity.
In the next article I will take you to the next step from identity to meaningful personal success, namely passion.
Dare to life your own life and be happy!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!