Have you done a lot of weird stuff in your life that hasn’t made any sense at the time? Things that, before we look at them a bit deeper, seems completely random? Are there things in your past that you’re hiding? Jobs that hasn’t been “strategically right” with regards to the career your pursuing at the moment? Gaps where you were “the wild one” or educations that you wonder why the f–k you signed up for? For me the answer is yes to all of the above and I can make the list even longer…
The truth is that we all have those things. And when you meet people whose journey seem to make sense all the way and there aren’t any weird gaps I can guarantee you that it’s just because they don’t tell you everything!
In our lives we tend to manifest the story about ourselves that’ll gain us professionally. In that story there isn’t much room for exposing ourselves as non-rational. We want to be perceived as people that know what we’re doing, as people with goals and ambitions. All that is great but the truth is it creates a narrow perspective on life. A perspective where a lot of stuff doesn’t fit. Where the things we’ve done that hasn’t made sense is reduced, in best case, to a topic amongst the closest friends.
I used to live like that! There where so many things I wanted to hide that hardly anyone knew the whole truth about me. And after a while, neither did I. My dysfunctional family, the drug abuse, the numerous jobs and educations I’ve gone through, all the non-rational decisions I’ve made along the way… All of that were things I didn’t want to acknowledge.
Until the day my hole perspective changed and all of the things I hadn’t acknowledged all of sudden were the things that made me into me! And they all made sense!!!
I was designing a programme for a group of high achieving talents and I felt that we were constantly hovering the surface. It was as if everyone of the group lacked their own identity and I wanted to bring forward the unique qualities I knew were hidden inside each and everyone of them. I was sitting in my office and tried to figure out an exercise that would look easy and straight forward at first sight but when finished would have given them a complete new perspective on themselves. I came across the quote by Steve Jobs and everything became crystal clear.
So here’s what I did:
I draw my lifeline. Above the line I plotted everything that I would write on my CV and the story about my life that I normally share. Underneath the line I plotted all the things I didn’t share… From all the dots, on both side of the lifeline, I wrote down what I had learned. The learning’s could be about myself, actual skills, it could be what people had told me or insights… I didn’t value the dots. Even if they symbolized horrible experiences I only focused on the learning’s and all of sudden everything made perfect sense! AND I MEAN EVERYTHING!!! There is no such thing at random events, decisions or what not. When we connect the dots they’ll all make sense and all of a sudden you’re not interested in hiding anything because all those things has made you into the person you are today!
When you start looking at your life with a perspective that, even if you don’t get it today, someday it will all make sense you start paying attention in the present moment. You stop victimizing yourself and use things that has happened to you as excuses for your own shortcomings. You start to be aware of everything that is going on around you and stop living for the future. By acknowledging everything in your life, not hiding it from either yourself or others, you acknowledge the true version of yourself. The version with greater potential then you ever could imagine!
Curious about what happened with the talents? I think it goes without saying since I’m claiming that this exercise and perspective will show you “the true version of yourself”…;-)
And never has a quote being more spot on:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs