Who am I?
Who am I? This is the most significant question of all time. I will tell you that if you try to answer it from your thinking “little self” mind, you will get weak answers. This little self-mind is the seat of your ego personality, and asking your ego will generate responses of an outward nature.
Answers such as I am 35 years old, a wife and mother, a professional, seeking financial freedom, a Republican, a Christian are all an aspect of you, but not the “real you.”
So asking again and again — after you learn to connect and request from your witness — will generate absolute clarity on who you are, and why you exist. Could there be any more important work for us to do in the world than figure this out? I don’t think so.
Stop Dreaming and Start Creating
Greater self-awareness of your who and why will help you avoid making the same mistakes over, and get you aligned with your why for serious forward momentum.
When I was younger, I was a great daydreamer, but if you asked me to describe what my future looked like, what my purpose was, what my principles were, or what I was supposed to do about it all, I would have given you a blank stare.
To be fair, most people are not very clear on any of that either. This inability to see and articulate a future full of purpose, passion and principles were cured by my deep insight meditation and contemplation honed by Zen training.
The lack of self-awareness in my young adult years caused me much angst and lost time. I often wonder how many people are in the same boat, or even make it to their forties, fifties and later lacking the clarity I speak of.
3P’s: Passion, Principle, Purpose
Mastery of self-awareness is difficult but can be developed by asking and answering valuable questions. Such as:
● What are my Passions?
● What are my Principles?
● What is my Purpose?
The answer to these questions will give you direction in life. If you don’t know yourself, what are you are supposed to do besides just get by? Lack of meaning and purpose is a significant cause of despair and despondency in the world.
Some people are lucky enough to stumble upon a vague sense of purpose in their professional lives. And others have their purpose revealed early in life, so they are well into fulfilling it into their twenties.
I think both these cases are somewhat rare… and have found that the vast majority of my students cannot clearly articulate their purpose. They are deeply moved and their lives transformed when they uncover it.
When you gain clarity on the above questions, you will be able to focus in on a single mission in life, what I call your:
ONE Thing Mission
This is the main thing that you are meant to do at this point in your life. When I was able to answer the “3P’s” above, my ONE Thing Mission became to earn the Navy SEAL trident. Then it grew to be the best SEAL leader I could be.
Your ONE Thing Mission will change as you change… but it will always remain in total alignment with your passions, purpose, and principles.
Anytime you begin to veer out of alignment you will sense it in your morning rituals.
In the graphic below you want to be at the number 1, right at the center intersection of passion, purpose, and principles. That is your core, your target, where your life energy is aligned and drives your decisions and actions with effortless joy and flow.
If you sense you are in the areas with the number 2, then you are out of alignment with your principles. This means you are putting yourself and your team/family at risk. Time to get back in alignment with your principles with disciplined action.
If you sense you are in the area with the number 3, then it means you are out of alignment with your passion, so you are getting burned out. Time to shift to work you can be more passionate about.
If you sense you are in the area of the number 4, then it means your work is veering away from your purpose. So you will need to check your focus and get back on track.
And if you have the unfortunate situation of not having a clue as to what your 3P’s or ONE Thing Mission are, then you are at 5 and need to align!
Just keep doing the practices, and you will soon be getting the insights… you can’t force or rush things.
Our uniqueness as a human being is coded into your DNA and, I believe, part of your soul’s yoking to your physical body. Regardless of your philosophical or religious orientation, you may sense that your soul whispers to your mind it’s deepest yearnings. It has likely propelled you in surprising directions already in life.
When you ignored the whispers, my guess is that you felt out of balance, misaligned, as I felt as a CPA in my early twenties. Listening to this inner voice via the witness will lead you to your ONE Thing and help you define your 3P’s. Then you can align them in your actions and march forth with confidence and peace of mind.
PURPOSE IS NOT A CAREER
I want to make it clear here that when I use the word “purpose”, I am not talking about a job, career or vocation. That can overlap and should align, but for our overarching purpose, we are looking for archetypal themes that point the way forward in life.
Your archetype will evolve as you age, you build a family (if so), and your interests change. These archetypes can be (but are not limited to):
- Warrior / Protector. This was mine in my twenties and thirties. Professions could include military, LEO, etc.
- Athlete: Self-explanatory
- Performer: This could include the joker (comedian), the Siren (country or soulful musician), or actor
- Healer / Caregiver: This would include anyone drawn toward the healing arts or sciences… medical, massage, acupuncture, etc.
- Leader / Entrepreneur: This would be anyone inclined to build and lead an organization and embraces change and uncertainty. It covers all civilian professions.
- Bureaucrat: This is anyone inclined to work within a known system to deliver a service or maintain the status quo.
- Parent: self-explanatory. Often my students will come to this as their purpose – to be the best parent they can be to their kids. This insight will impact their decisions regarding their career, how they work (i.e., limited travel, home by 6, etc.), home schooling or volunteering at the school.
What I listed above are what I would term “calling archetypes.” Carl Jung identified twelve common “psychological archetypes” based upon one’s orientation to ego, freedom, social justice and order.
There is some relationship between the calling archetypes and psychological, as you can see from the descriptions in the diagram below. I find it useful when considering this issue of purpose, passion and principle definition. When defining your purpose you want to be general enough to allow for your skills and passions and principles to identify the ideal ONE Thing Mission for you.