What kind of career or personal transition is in your plans? How about your spouse’s plans? Your best friend’s?
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman.
This idea of coming alive is exciting because of the endless possibilities, but it can be confusing to know where to begin! If you are considering taking on a new challenge, whether it be embarking on a professional project, volunteering, or changing something in your personal life, then consider Thurman’s words as you weigh the pros and cons of your next step.
Below I provide a powerful 5-step process to help you come alive. Be sure to have something to write with and on!
As you do the steps you will want to keep one area of your life, or the role related to your transition, in mind. You can do the process many times for different areas of your life or roles. In the examples below I have used the area of career transition and purpose as the focus.
One way you will know how much more you have come alive (after you’re done with Step 4 below), is to measure these areas right now: your level of passion, energy and sense of purpose, on a scale of 1-10. You can write down a score for each one right now.
Level of Passion ____
Sense of Purpose ____
Then after you have completed the first 4 steps below, take another look at how you would rate yourself in those areas. Compare your initial rating with your final rating and ask yourself what exactly in your thinking, feelings, or actions contributed to the change you are experiencing.
This information will be valuable to you for the future, because you will know what works well for you if you ever want to boost your passion, energy and sense of purpose quickly!
To support you as a leader in fully coming alive I offer my five-step process.
The steps are:
- Uncover Your Strengths
- Claim Your Passions
- Map Them
- Find Your Intersection and Purpose
- Step Into Increased Confidence and Motivation
Steps 6-8 in my next blog series take you through actions to carry your purpose into your next steps
You could start to do these steps before your transition or once you have already begun your transition.
Step 1: Uncover Your Strengths
Identify and write down your strengths, preferably in the present tense as a phrase such as “My strengths are…. (hmm… you might be asking yourself right about now, what are my strengths?)
Shortcut: simply answer the question “what do you do well on a regular basis?” “In what areas are you talented?” (If you aren’t sure, you might ask 3-5 or more people around you who know you fairly well.)
And/or here is a free website, the VIA Character Strengths Survey, to identify strengths http://www.viacharacter.org/www/The-Survey and here is a website where you pay $9.99 to take the Gallup Strengthsfinder, a highly researched tool, which gives you your top 5 strengths https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Purchase/en-US/Index
Longer cut: You have probably had many different kinds of experiences in your life. Think of a time, personally or professionally, when you were having a peak or best experience. Perhaps it was a new experience, or you were very engaged in something that went well. What was going on? Who was involved? What feelings did you have? It would be worth writing the story down, recording it, or telling it to a friend or colleague. After you fully recall the story, write down what strengths you think you used in it.
Hint: please don’t be humble about your strengths. You could do this using the list of strengths provided above and/or dong one of the web assessments listed.
Examples of possible strengths:
- Managing people
- Helping others
- Solving math problems
- Fixing things
- Teaching skills
- Working with animals
- Connecting people to each other
- Leading a project
Step 2: Claim Your Passions
Identify and write down what you enjoy, value, love, and/or are passionate about in a phrase as above.
E.g., “I enjoy…” or “I value…”
Shortcut: think about things you did over the past 2 weeks and write down everything you enjoyed.
Longer cut: keep a log for the next week-each eve write down 1 or more things that you enjoyed that day.
- Being in nature
- Bringing people together
- Helping kids learn a sport
- Writing stories or other writing
- Making something better
- Helping someone one to one
- Selling a product or service
- Hosting a party
- Getting projects done
- Public Speaking
- Taking photographs
- Training animals
Step 3: Map Them
Draw 2 large intersecting circles in the center of a sheet of paper. In one circle, in the non-intersecting part, write down your strengths from Step 1. In the other circle, in the non-intersecting part, write down your passions from Step 2.
Shortcut: This IS a shortcut!
Step 4: Find Your Intersection and Purpose
Find the blank “intersection” area of overlap of these 2 circles.
What are the things that you do well AND you love doing?
Write them in that space of the intersection. You may have many things listed here.
Examples: (taken from the strengths and passions examples above)
- Managing people
- Connecting people
- Fixing things
- Working with animals
There are other possible things that fall into this intersection, but these are just a few to give you an idea of how this works. Now you can do your own.
Step 5: Step Into Increased Confidence and Motivation
You are probably feeling really good right now. You have identified your power spot or power center. Take a moment and appreciate that you got to this pivotal point!
This spot, this intersection, points to your purpose. Working from your purpose will provide energy and motivation!
Here’s the magnifier: “Now that I’m aware of the intersection of what I do well AND love to do, how could I do those things starting now, and carry them forward into my transition?”
To help you start to answer that question, this is also the time where you might ask yourself these questions -and write down your answers to the ones that you find most relevant: “Given what I now realize about what uniquely “feeds” me (the information in this intersection likely points to what feeds you),
“What does this information mean to me?”
“What do I now realize about my purpose based on this information?”
“How does it relate to my next steps?” and
“What are possible contributions I could make to the world from my unique set of strengths and passions?”
“Where are the best opportunities for someone with my unique combination of strengths and passions?”
Taking this to the next level, ask yourself:
“What is the world asking of me, given what I have to offer?” This is a question you can also ask other people who know you well.
To further support yourself with positive feelings, and fully experience your unique power center and how it feels, you might imagine yourself actually standing in that intersection and recall your strengths and passions that intersect there. It will help you to think back to a time in your life when you experienced your strengths and your passions intersecting.
Now fill in this blank: my purpose in “x area” of my life is _______________________________________________
(use as many lines as you need).
To keep this feeling active, consider “standing” in this center point for a few moments every day. It should remind you of your purpose.
In addition, creating a “vision board” may be helpful to instill your vision of strengths passion and purpose. A vision board is done by cutting or tearing out pictures and words from magazines or other printed media that describe the future you would like to have.
Now that you have come alive, it’s a good time to rate your passion, energy and sense of purpose again on a scale of 1-10.
Summary: From this 5 step process you will get data that points to your next steps while increasing your confidence and motivation to live up to your potential. Doing this process will support you in identifying and applying your unique contributions to the world whether it’s in your work, personal life or volunteer or hobby activities.
If you get stuck, call me for a no cost consultation.
What makes YOU come alive??
(What makes ME come alive: helping leaders maximize their results in a fraction of the time, through coaching and facilitation!)