If you want to lead a purpose driven life, you need to go through a rite of passage into responsible adulthood
Maybe you are already looking for your calling for years. But somehow, you don’t get further – you seem to be stuck. You have read many books and worked through tons of questionnaires encouraging you to reflect yourself – for example, about what you would do if you had 1 Million Dollars. Maybe you have also consulted your horoscope or finally asked a fortune-teller to get a hint why you are here on this earth. Or you have sacrificed time and money for a coaching or a consultant to figure out what your calling could possibly be.
And perhaps by all these things you achieved more clarity about what your talents are, what you would like to do – maybe even about what your purpose might be. And yet you are still doing the same job, maybe even in the same company, day by day, and you started asking yourself, why you do not succeed to change things and to lead a purpose driven life. I constantly experienced this phenomenon working as a vocational coach. There are good reasons for it. The frustration about this phenomenon made me realize that finding and living your calling cannot be achieved by a mere intellectual approach – such as most books and coaching are trying to do. Although intellectual reflection may lead to more clarity, we don’t learn to make decisions. Becoming our destiny in action however is a multidimensional process that requires a profound transformation of our inner orientation.
There are (at least) eight factors that keep us from fulfilling our desire of leading a purposeful life and work and to live our calling (Note: in this article I write about no. 1 to 4. Factors 5 to 8 will follow in my next article):
1.You’re using the operating system Survival 8 instead of Destiny 1.0
We come into this world with a kind of basic programming, an operating system, whose primary objective is our physical survival. To survive as babies or as children, we are dependent on the care of our environment. We are not yet able to feed ourselves, to keep ourselves warm or to protect ourselves. Therefore, this preinstalled operating system, programmed for survival, makes us develop security strategies and automatic behaviors to prevent us from dying. We adapt unconsciously as well as possible to the circumstances and avoid anything that could be dangerous for our survival.
Yet we are designed to make an exchange of our operating system at the age of about 15. We would be able by then to replace the old operating system “Survival” with the operating system “Destiny1.0” by going through an initiation process from the irresponsible adolescent to the responsible adult. Unfortunately, this reprogramming is not provided in our modern society. So we continue to run on “Survival” and follow the instructions by always installing the latest updates of this operating system.
The problem is that with this operating system we can only use system-compatible applications. The application “Living your calling” is not compatible with the operating system “Survival”, not even with the latest version. It just does not run on this operating system. To use this application, it is necessary to change the operating system completely. But we hesitate to make that change. Anyone who has ever thought about switching from Windows to Mac OS or the other way round knows that fear. Therefore, we often prefer to remain with the known system, even if it limits our possibilities. At least we know that it works because we have survived so far.
The secret is: If we choose to switch to Destiny 1.0, we are free to still use the old applications. However, experience shows that the new applications running on Destiny 1.0 are much more interesting and even more fun than the old survival apps, so that we stop using them automatically.
What operating system do you use?
Requirement # 1.:
You install the operating system Destiny 1.0 by going through an initiation process into responsible adulthood. That way you transform your inner alignment from safety orientation to destiny orientation. The application “Living your calling” then is accessible to you.
2. You believe in your own stories
Humans are great storytellers. We give a meaning to every circumstance and situation. And we tend to believe our stories. Our stories become our reality because we are able to find hundreds of evidences to prove that our story is true. Nevertheless, it remains a story.
It rains. A completely neutral situation. Drops of water are falling from the sky. Full stop. Nothing else. But we do not stop there. We invent a story about it, which might be something like this: “Oh, man, this fucking rain again. I wanted to go hiking today. If I start now, I’m going to be drenched like a drowned rat in no time. Who might want that? Definitely not me, anyway. That happens to me every time. Whenever I plan to do something, the weather is bad or something unexpected happens. I always have bad luck. … “
Great story! In contrast to that “It’s raining. Full stop.” is just boring.
We also have lots of stories regarding working and vocation that we take for reality. Here are a few examples – some classics:
- “Well, I’d really like to do XY, but you earn no money with that.”
- “Self-employed work is not really my thing. I’m more of a security type.”
- “I need at least XXXX Euros a month to survive.”
- “I just do not have enough reserves to live my calling. I first have to build up some reserves. But somehow I never get there. Whenever I’m about to get there another big expense, I have not thought of, comes along.”
- “No one will pay money for that.”
- “To get there, I would have to study first. Otherwise, people would not take me for serious. This would take far too long and I cannot afford it.”
- “There are already so many people doing exactly this. I don’t have a chance to build up a business in this area.”
If we believe these stories to be true, we probably make the unconscious decision not to continue in following our calling.
The secret is: We are the creators of our own stories – and stories are stories, that means they have nothing to do with reality. Therefore, we can decide to invent a different story at any time. We could choose a story that does not discourage us to follow our calling.
Which stories regarding your vocation or your talents are active within you?
Requirement # 2.:
You are aware that every day you are inventing stories about yourself, your life and the world. You take responsibility for your stories. You switch to create your stories consciously and decide to use stories that give you strength and bring you closer to being your destiny in action.
3.You don’t yet own the power of your conscious feelings – especially of your fear
In terms of feelings I have written so many articles that I want to be brief on this aspect. What I have found out is that the access to our basic feelings (anger, sadness, fear and joy) is necessary for fulfilling our true purpose in life. If we do not own the power of our feelings, it is our feelings that have power over us, and we are not able to follow our calling. In our modern society feelings are seen as bad and unprofessional, which normally prevents us from getting full access to our feelings. On the contrary – this attitude usually leads to making ourselves as numb as possible.
Our feelings can serve us as a precise navigation system to our purpose. If we are authentically angry or sad about certain circumstances in this world, it may be an indicator for a job on our table. The sadness or anger arises because we have that vision of a better world, we know or sense that something else would be possible and we are sad and/or angry that this possibility has not yet been implemented. If this is the case, it could be part of your calling to create these possibilities. But also joy, e.g. in the form of enthusiasm, and even fear give us valuable information about our purpose. My personal motivation to go further into unknown territory to fulfill my purpose resulted mostly from my deep fear that my life might otherwise remain meaningless.
As long as we don’t own the power of our feelings, they will prevent us from being our destiny in action. As long as we don’t own our fear, our fear dominates us and we will always find a lot of good reasons why we still cannot realize our purpose.
The secret is: Our feelings not only give us valuable information about our calling, they also provide us with the required energy to make the necessary action steps. All feelings – when we use them in an adult, authentic and responsible way – constantly provide us with the fuel to be our destiny in action. In particular, the access to our fear is necessary to be able to enter the unknown territory of our vocation.
Do you already own the power of your conscious feelings or do your feeling still own you?
You do conscious feelings work for some time to lower your numbness bar step by step and to re-gain access to your feelings. Once you’re able to feel and express your feelings in their pure form (meaning not mixed) up to an intensity of 100% you can use them responsibly as a navigation system and an energy supply to be your destiny in action.
4. You do not yet possess your underworld
There is a part in us that does not want to grow up and instead wants to avoid responsibility. There are already different names for this part – the shadow part, the inner demon, the dark side, etc. In the context of Possibility Management, that part is called the Gremlin. The Gremlin is the king of our personal underworld. Our Gremlin mostly acts unrecognized in the unconscious and uses many tricks to sabotage our highest objectives, just to prevent us from taking responsibility. Each Gremlin has other strategies and serves so-called shadow principles, such as manipulation, arrogance, laziness, resentment, abuse of power, destruction, perfectionism, control addiction, lies, deceit, hypocrisy, being right, etc. If we are not aware about this part of us, or even deny its existence, our Gremlin has free rein to prevent us from living our destiny. Because to put yourself into the service of your purpose, of something bigger than yourself, without being concerned about your own advantage, is nothing that your Gremlin would voluntarily do.
If your Gremlin for exampleserves the shadow principle of perfectionism and you are not aware of it, then he may keep you away from fulfilling your purpose, by constantly telling you: “Sweetie, you’re just not good enough – others are much better”. And as long as you’re not good enough, you cannot live your vocation, because you will not succeed and you will end as a beggar under a bridge. No matter what you are trying to do to live your vocation, he will try to sabotage it. That sounds now as if that part in us is despicable and therefore has to be destroyed. Oh no, not at all – because, firstly, that would not work anyway and secondly, we often need especially our Gremlin for being our destiny in action.
The secret s: Our Gremlin part has many extraordinary skills that can be useful for living our purpose. Our Gremlin, for example, is able to break rules, to destroy things or to be rude, because he is not afraid of authorities. When we start on our path to live our purpose, we usually have to move out of the ruling system. Therefore these skills are especially useful. Maybe we have to break a few rules or destroy someone’s illusions. Or maybe it is necessary to call someone we do not know or who is regarded as an authority in the ruling system and we would normally be far too shy to call that person. The Gremlin part has no problem at all with it! To be able to use these skills, however, we first have to become aware of our underworld and have to take it into possession, so our Gremlin sits on our side on a short leash.
What’s the name of your Gremlin and what are his favorite tricks to keep you from fulfilling your purpose?
Requirement # 4.:
You went through the transformative process of a journey into your underworld within a safe space to gain clarity and awareness of it and to gain full possession of the kingdom of your personal underworld. You have given a name to your Gremlin, you know his tricks and his favorite food, you hold him on a short leash at your side, feed him according to your plan and give him some exciting tasks that support you leading a purpose driven life.
And these are just the first four requirements! That sounds like a lot of work! Yes, to really grow up and take radical responsibility, costs a bit of effort and does not happen overnight. A deep transformational process takes some time to complete. The results, however, are completely different from a mere intellectual approach to the subject. I experienced the following: Going the path of initiation step-by-step leads to all the above mentioned requirements, and when the soil is prepared our purpose and destiny starts showing up automatically. Because our purpose is already there – it just waits inside for us to become aware of it. We only need to create the conditions, to hear this inner call and let ourselves be moved by our authentic purpose.
To say it with the words of Alixa from Climbing Poetree:
What do you most deeply desire to give?
“we were born right now
for a reason
we can be whatever
we give ourselves the power to be
and right now we need
give what you most deeply desire
every moment you are choosing to live
or you are waiting
why would a flower hesitate to open?
now is the only moment
rain drop let go
become the ocean
possibility is as wide
as the space
to hold it”
(by Climbing Poetree, www.climbingpoetree.com)
Read more about factor # 5 to # 8 next month:
5. You are hypnotized by the ruling system and believe that you can choose only from what is offered to you
6. You live somebody else’s life
7. Very old unconscious decisions are still active within you
8. Destiny shows up at a certain level of responsibility