How do you know your dreams and goals are yours indeed?
I often dreamed about my graduation.
In my mind I had a clear picture of myself, holding my Master’s degree, beaming with joy, elation, and proudness.
It was very different though when it actually happened.
I still remember sitting there and getting honored,…
While I was watching my daughter, my boyfriend, my parents, friends and felt… NOTHING!
Even though I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t my own decision originally, I was lucky that my choice didn’t let me completely go astray. It did fit – to a certain degree.
First, I had a more holistic approach instead of having profit maximization as my single focus.
Also, because I lacked the natural inspiration and joy in many subjects (like accounting or business law...), I had to work harder than others to succeed.
I already had decided to change university and to start with psychology instead when I suddenly became pregnant. Change of plans! And psychology had to wait...
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Initially I thought, I was not trying hard enough.
Or not knowing enough.
So I bought courses after courses and learned tactics after tactics, combined them into strategy after strategy.
Again it didn't work.
Every single time when I thought I had it, it I still didn't sell anything.
I knew, I was missing something, but had no clue what it was.
If I'm honest, at my lowest point, I even thought there must have been a curse or something like it.
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Living others peoples goals
So having a purpose is essential but equally important is that you’re sure it’s not an imposed one.
Imposed means you’re following others’ expectations and standards but not your own.
On the other hand, knowing and following your soul purpose means you’re having your personal guiding light.
It’s like following your north star.
It guides you.
It lights you the way.
And it also makes you immune to others’ intentions and decisions.
How to tell the difference between imposed or authentic goals and purpose?
How do you know when you’re taking on other peoples’ aims and believe them to be your own?
Honestly, it’s not easy.
Actually it might have happened already, slowly and unconsciously without your knowledge, when you were a child.
That’s when you learned to follow others guidance and orders. After all, you’re too small to understand the dangers of the world. You needed the adults around you to guide you: Your parents, grandparents, teachers, babysitters…
Usually, there are many people whom you learned to follow and obey. And often it was for your own good. But not always.
Why is it so essential to be true to you and authentic?
Remember when I told you about how I felt at my graduation?
Success without an authentic desire behind it is worthless.
At the end of the day all your efforts, your dedication and committment will be for nothing. As your success won't make you happy, nor fullfilled but instead will leave you with a shallow feeling and an empty hole in your chest.
How can you be sure you're true to yourself and your life is set in the right direction?
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The dynamics of adopting an imposed purpose
Let’s have a look at the negative dynamics of an imposed purpose.
1. YOU TRUST OTHERS TO KNOW BETTER:
You absorbed and accepted the aims of adults as being true and valid for you when you were small because you trusted them to mean well.
2. YOU START TO IDENTIFY WITH THEIR GOALS:
After the years passed by you believed those aims to be your own. If you never second-guess if they right for you...
3. YOU START TO FOLLOW THEIR GOALS:
With this, you unconsciously started following other’s expectations and standards.
4. THESE GOALS DON'T MAKE YOU HAPPY:
But once you reach your aims, you feel empty and shallow instead of inspired and might even think “That couldn’t have been all!”
5. YOU KEEP PURSUING THE WRONG GOALS:
Instead of quitting you keep pursuing the wrong aims because you’re too afraid to change your life and /or to disrupt and disappoint your parents or people you care for.
6. YOU RATIONALIZE WHY IT'S OKAY:
So you limit and comfort yourself by telling (and convincing yourself) that you should be content with what you have because others have it worse than you.
7. YOU'RE SETTLING:
As a consequence, you stop growing because you settle with less than you could have and deny yourself what your heart and soul longs for.
So how do you know that your aspirations are yours indeed?
Like always, one key factor is awareness.
That’s crucial because the consequences are harsh!
Following the wrong purpose and believing it to be your own, won’t make you happy. It can’t because you’re literally living somebody else’s life.
My most favorite film scene ever
One of my most favorite films (I love dancing!) is Center Stage.
It’s about a group of ballet dancers and the selection process they need to undergo to win a place in the dance company of the American Ballet Academy.
The training is brutal and the competition harsh.
Everybody knows, only a selected few will make it.
One of the sure winners, as everybody assumes, will be Maureen.
She has studied ballet since her earliest childhood and is the star of the trainees.
Everybody envies her, and nobody sees how much she suffers. Even she herselve is unaware of it far too long. But then she and her mother have a showdown, where Maureen tells her mother, she’ll quit.
Her mother is shocked and begs her not to give up all her dreams! The very dreams she worked for her whole life. And then Maureen replies…
“No it wasn’t my dream, it was your. But you haven’t had the body to do it, and I don’t have the heart for it!…!”
I don’t know how often I’ve seen this film already, but this was always one of my favorite scenes. Finally, there's total clarity, full responsibility, and undivided authenticity.
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To your greatness!