I am the mom of three -- One teen and two tweens. Thank you. (I heard your applause.)
I have a musician who can play multiple instruments as easily as most of us choose a snack, a song-and-dance performer who is a great little writer, and one builder of things who also loves animals and sees the world from a very unique perspective.
In my work, I strategize with mid-life adults who can't stand their jobs and are trying to figure out what to do next.
What does one have to do with the other? These unhappy adults are having a delayed reaction to the choices their parents help them make as kids. Not everyone hates what they do or got off course, but goodness knows, we are allowed to dream of whatever we want to be when we grow up until we are forced to look at how we will make a living. Then, we better get practical.
So, here I am. I see the effects of conventional wisdom and old paradigms, living in a world where they don't work as well as they did, while I parent three children toward making choices for their lives. Easy, right? Just let my kids be whoever they are going to be and keep working because I'll be supporting creatives who won't ever make any money! That's my fear.
It's not the truth.
From the core of my being, I believe that there is a GPS for our soul. I call it a Life Blueprint®. It doesn't set a course for our destiny, but it is an indelible foundation for who we are, how we will contribute to the world and what will allow us to feel fully expressed in our lives. Living the blueprint allows us to be happy and satisfied, dare I say.
The reason why most of us don't feel that way now is that we are not being who really are in our daily work. We put on our game face, perform our "game" strategies and reap the rewards that make work "good enough" but not great. Loving work and feeling great about it comes down to more than the money, and most of us would not even know how to get there. (Hint: It has to do more with who we get to be everyday vs. what we get to do.)
That takes us back to the kids. When you were one, you may have had dreams that you are not living out now. You may have abandoned a talent that could not make you money. Or perhaps, you are still waiting for the right time to get back to one or the other. That thing you left by the side of the road is exactly what needs to come back in some form or another.
If you dreamed of being a dancer, you may not do exactly THAT at age 52, but there are aspects of grace, movement, expression and music that need to be back in your life and work. The piece to borrow from that past may just be doing work where you move and don't sit on your duff all day, but something from that past must come back in to today to feel satisfied. Nothing we ever dreamed of or did in the past is a waste or meant to be written off as a flight of fancy.
That leaves me to declare a manifesto: My kids will be encouraged to grow where their "sweet spots" are. I won't persuade them to give any of it up to get serious, practical or make a living. I will nurture their innovative, creative selves to find the perfect way to use all that they've done or cared about to live the dream as they've named it, or in some form they haven't found yet, or to create a job that no one's thought of yet or the invention that will transform lives.
I vow as I write this to have the courage to let their soul's GPS speak for itself and teach them to trust its voice more than they trust mine. (Their life blueprint was not set by me. It's their operating manual that preceded them entering my life.)
As our world screams out for new ideas that will secure our future, this is how the next generation will generate them. Not, by teaching them the fears and mandates that causes more than half of us* to wish we were doing something else for a living, but by teaching them that who they are is exactly the ticket to what they'll do when they grow up.
For more by Laura Berman Fortgang, click here.
For more on GPS for the Soul, click here.