Shared from Guest Contributor, Cheri Maben-Crouch, Ph.D.
Welcome to November. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Powerful question: “What are you thankful for?”
As we enter into this month I am reminded of how thankful I am for my life and every single experience – triumphs of great joy and crucibles of pain. I believe they mold us and make us into who we are as great leaders – men and women of powerful, positive influence in organizations, communities, and families.
This writing comes from a reflection of a particular crucible from my life and has significant relevance for those of us who have experienced a toxic person or toxic environment in our work or lives. The wake of these experiences can leave you listening to your offenders’ critical voices and even your own for a time.
After the experience, there is a natural and normal experience of reflection on the pain of what you have gone through. I felt lost, buried, devalued. For along time, I didn’t move beyond that thinking and I told myself, “I’m not going to feel. No passion for me. No way!” But after having re-processed the pain with a coach; what was lost was re-claimed. And for me, it was received in a powerful moment when I once again found a quiet call to action for a cause bigger than myself.
This short article is dedicated to those who are feeling lost, buried and devalued within themselves and try as they might, they can’t find their true joyful and authentic self. It’s gone and it might seem like it won’t return.
For those of you that are there, please use this post to spark the possibility of re-planting. What might bloom? Still you, of course, but an even better version of you!
LOST: Somewhere In Between
Have you ever said something like: “I would have never said that my life didn’t matter but right now I’m living like that.” It’s that place in between where it’s difficult to see what’s ahead. There are glimpses in our mind often of the way we were. As we look back at the pictures, the person in the picture frame has a smile on his or her face. We remember: it’s a truly authentic smile because in that picture we knew and felt God smiling when we were living a life using our gifts, strengths and talents every day.
But something happened and our lives were suddenly interrupted and now we are not sure what we’re supposed to be doing. We are someplace “in between.”
Are you watching the flowers grow on the side of the road but you won’t tend to them? Even though, your heart is saying, “Wouldn’t you love to . . . ?” “What keeps from living ‘your’ truest, most authentic joyful life?”
I’ve seen so many become disappointed with what happened in the past and they won’t choose to walk into the future. They’ve squelched their own gifts, strengths and passions and traded them in for the obligation and duty of someone else’s voice whispering, “This is what you should do.” And for others, they hear their own critical voice within whispering, “You can’t do that!”
What does it mean to take personal responsibility to discover who you are and then intentionally do something that is calling your name?
CALL TO ACTION: WHO ARE YOU, REALLY?
There’s a bloom inside of you. It’s somewhere deep inside. I just know that it’s there. There is something you are passionate about. There is something you desire. You’re extraordinary! There is only one you and you have a unique life to live. And when you discover what’s truly inside of you; it can burst forth and propel you forward. You can then offer it back to the world.
I was at my Bible study about a month ago and we were talking about desire and one woman said, “I never really thought about it before but somehow I thought having a desire for something was somehow wrong or selfish.”
But I remembered, “God wants to give you the desires of your heart.” Right? The author of this quote is unknown to me, but it goes something like, “God’s gift to you is your talent; your gift back — is to give it.”
Some of us are numb in this life. We are doing the perfunctory thing, performing our everyday duties and responsibilities in Stetford style. We’ve given up and we continue taking the same path each day. And . . . we don’t remember that beautiful dreams were fashioned for our lives.
What problem keeps you up at night? What problem were you put on this earth to help solve?”
Many of us lead comfortable lives responding to the above question with, “I don’t know.” And sometimes, “I don’t care.” We don’t want to really desire to start something because, “Well, what if….?
Fear hides our potential. Fear and the thought, “what if” are often coupled together. “What if I’d fail and people would reject me for taking the risk? So, it’s just safer if I don’t take that kind of action.”
Some have been serving others for so long and they too have fear: They fear the rejection that might come from significant others who like them just the way they are. After all, they are being served. We say to ourselves, “Isn’t that worthy enough?”
But secretly inside we wonder, “What if I said, no, just this once and stopped serving their voice, their needs, and became passionate about something I authentically care about and thus allowed something that filled me and my own path?”
Some of us fear success (e.g., What if I am successful and then it’s more than I am personally prepared to give?) I kind of enjoy my comfortable, leisurely life.
COMPLETELY LOST – IN A DRAWER SOMEWHERE?
Some of us give up so much of ourselves until we’ve completely lost our own identify. Our unique passion, gifts and strengths are in there but have been put in a drawer and can’t be taken out.
Aren’t we cheating those we love when they don’t ever get to see the fuller version of our truest authentic joyful selves?
MORE POWERFUL QUESTIONS:
* Are there hobbies or job possibilities that you’ve only dreamed about?
* Does your calendar reflect your passion?
* Are you living your life or someone else’s?
* What would an encouraging circle look like?
* If you were to write your own gravestone now “What would your epitaph say?
It may be time to reclaim and celebrate the one and only unique you. Sometimes it helps to have a process partner come along side if you’re at that place in between. A life purpose coach can be that partner. You can find me (Cheri) at www.bloomlifevisioncoaching.com. I can’t wait to see you b-l-o-o-m!