Tag Archives: self-help

How do I find my passion?

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The feeling of disconnection from ones “true self” is a favorite topic of philosophers, armchair psychoanalysts and navel-gazers alike. And, not surprisingly, the rift between who we are and who we want to be seems to be growing in our age of hyper-connectivity. We are constantly plugged into the internet, social networks, Netflix streaming, texts from friends and coworkers, etc. etc. etc. All of this ‘noise’ (which is fun, don’t get me wrong!) can serve as a distraction from life’s deeper questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want? After all, we don’t have time to pursue our passions if we’re obsessively refreshing our Facebook feeds and putting out fires at work! The cultivation of passion and connection to self require time for silence and reflection–precious commodities in today’s culture.

But what happens when you take the time to reconnect to your heart’s desire, to pursue your calling or to follow your passion and you realize the devastating truth: You don’t remember what it is. You have a vague memory, some scribbled notes in a journal, but it all seems so distant. If you are here right now, don’t despair. You are not alone.

My friend Sarah introduced me to Life Literacy Labs a while back by doing one of C.A.’s inspired exercises on this very topic.  C.A. has identified 62 power questions to reconnect to yourself. Sarah’s courage in answering these questions in a public forum was absolutely inspiring–and I am going to follow suit!

I plan to tackle 5-10 questions per entry. Has anyone else worked through this list? Please let me know how it went for you.

  1. What is that thing that no one, not even your partner, your mother or your best friend, knows about you?

    I swear like a sailor when I drive by myself. I can go from zero to batshit angry in no time flat. This is especially weird because I give my sweetie such a hard time when he gets frustrated while driving, but my road rage is SO much worse. :-/ Sorry, sweetie!

  2.  What would make you feel embarrassed in public?

    Making a mistake, especially in front of a large group. (Hello, perfectionism!)

  3. What do you think is your biggest flaw? What have you done about it?

    Indecision. I’ve accepted it as part of my personality, and something that I need to be aware of. I let my logical brain spin itself out making pro and con lists, and then I try to go with my gut.

    Edited to add: Hmm. After thinking it over, I think my indecision is actually a symptom of my perfectionism. I’m indecisive because I am terrified of making the wrong choice.  I’ve been working on giving myself permission to make mistakes, and recognizing that there’s no such thing as “perfect.”

    This blog is a big part of mortifying my perfectionism. It has stifled my voice for far too long…

  4. What is your biggest strength? How did you develop it?

    My biggest strengths are empathy/acceptance. I try to understand where other people are coming from, even if their behavior seems inexplicable from the outside!   

  5. What do you have to put up with in your life? How long have you been tolerating it?

    I put up with a messy/disorganized living environment. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember.

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Overcoming Procrastination: The Tools

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Be gentle to yourself. Unless you’re gentle to yourself, no method or technique will work for you. — C.A. Kobu

It’s been with me as long as I can remember. The desire to start anew, organized, focused. To finally achieve my potential. The start of every new school year was full of new binders and planners and hopes and dreams. “This semester, I will stay organized. I will not complete papers the night before (or the morning) they are due. I will set deadlines for myself.  I will… I will… I will…”

But it never really happened. I still got great grades, most of the time. But I felt like it was a constant struggle. I could only produce when I was in “the zone,” and I had no way to control when the muse would strike. After graduation, things got worse. Instead of concrete deadlines, I was faced with the squidginess of the real world. And I realized that instead of getting a F if I didn’t turn something in, people would often cut me slack. Extend deadlines. And I abused it. Oh lord, did I abuse it.  And I castigated myself. I tried all sorts of organization and motivation systems. “Muse be damned, I’m getting it done!!” I was hard on myself. And it pushed me farther from any semblance of productivity.

I am learning that motivation isn’t a one size fits all scenario.  The tricks that can catapult one person into “the zone” will completely immobilize another. Our different learning styles, different personalities and different values combine to create highly specific and beautiful individuals–doesn’t it make sense that our approach to work, organization and motivation should be individualized as well?

The creative process isn’t just about widgets and time-lines–we do need to leave space for the muse. It isn’t only allowed, it’s essential! Charlie of Productive Flourishing  voices this very well:

“Creative people approach their work differently. Most of us don’t work 8-5, and we don’t have projects that we can plan to get done during the same times each day. The limiting factor for us is not the amount of time we have available, but rather the type of time we have available.”

We all work differently. So if you struggle with procrastination, or feeling blocked in your projects, take heart! You are not alone. You could be working in a system that isn’t designed for you. Try other planners. Restart your project. Don’t be afraid to get out your markers and draw a picture about how that *expletive* presentation you have to finish by Monday is making you feel.

Download Creative Menthol from Life Literacy Labs and try one of C.A. Kobu’s exercises to get “unstuck.” For the love of Pete, stop using Outlook to organize your task list! Try one of Charlie’s free planners. It is your right to figure out a system that works for YOU, even if it looks like madness or wasted time to an outsider. Give yourself permission to try a different approach. To fail. To refine your process and try again.

You are worth it. Your ideas are worth it.