I always wanted to “be” something when I grow up. I call it the “The Credential Syndrome”. I was pretty hung up on earning the approval of others that I thought a title or credential would make me something… or someone important. After all, what is one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new? “What do you do for a living?” Wouldn’t it be crazy if when we met we said, “Who are you? What is your life about? and What lights you up?” In fact, if someone said that to you at a birthday party or backyard BBQ you would not only be caught off guard, but may think they were a bit nosy.
In the midst of my search for significance or as some would say, ‘life’s work’ I have flopped all over the place. My primary job for years has been the care, education and keeping of my children and home. It is indeed THE most important job on earth, but let’s be honest the pay is crap and no one is giving you a bonus for teaching your kids cursive or making a mean peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
I went to college. I dropped out. I had a corporate job, made lots of money, hated that. I had a couple of kids, got into holistic health, homeschooling, fitness. I thought I should go back to school (for that credential) to earn a degree. First counseling, then nursing, maybe esthetics. What the heck am I doing??? Why am I doing it? And for the love, WHO AM I?
Well there it is. The big pink elephant in the room…or in my case the backseat of an über. The driver says, “So what do you do?” UUUUUUGGGGHHHH. “I’m a coach and I write a blog.” The obligatory next question, “What do you write about?”…… <crickets> Listen, I know what I write about, and you know what I write about. But my elevator speech needed some serious help.
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far.
First of all, RELAX. Accept who you are and where you are, right now
Next: Look back over your life, experiences and relationship dynamics and breath. They are all telling a story and leading you down a path if you will just See step 1. and listen.
It may be one small step at a time but it’s forward motion. If you love art, but work as a financial analyst you may feel like you die a little each day because you are denying your creative side. No, you cannot quit your job to pursue art. But you can take a class, create in your spare time or just follow more artsy Instagram accounts. Keep the love alive!
We can tend to get trapped in jobs or industries and allow those things to define us. NEWS FLASH FOLKS! You are NOT what you do for a living. That is NOT who you are.
I have been very antsy for years trying to figure out what is my life’s work. As I have grown, healed, and learned to love myself I can hear that intuitive voice inside much louder than ever before. I am Jilly. My life is about wisdom; getting it and sharing it. My medium for doing so is this blog, and my coaching business, my friendships, my family and even that stranger in line at Target. I do not have letters behind my name, which incidentally makes me no less effective.
Do you have credential syndrome? Do you have a credential that you feel trapped by? If you could be anything and I mean ANYTHING when you grow up what would that be?
I would love to hear from you in the comments section. Complete this simple sentence: My name is ___________ and my life is about ______________.
I anxiously await your response.