Somewhere deep inside you lies a treasure. Maybe it’s buried deep within you or perhaps it’s hiding in plain view. Hiding from you, that is. Your treasure may be visible to others, yet remain completely oblivious to you.
It is also possible that you unwrapped your treasure before, maybe even shared it with others. Then, misfortune struck. Rather than encouraging you, people around you laughed, scorned, or ridiculed you. Instead of finding joy, you felt shame and embarrassment.
How about this common scenario? You launched out in some venture based on sharing your treasure with the world; unfortunately, things did not turn out as you planned. You failed! Or at least that’s what you allowed yourself to believe.
That’s what you heard and the version of the story you believed. It could have been the voice of your critics. After all, there is nothing they love more than to remind you of that something you dreamed possible that didn’t pan out as planned. [It excuses them from not leaving comfort zone.]
But what if everyone else has forgotten that “event” and moved on except you?
You are the one who simply cannot get beyond the disappointment or humiliation of such an “enormous failure.” Your inner critic won’t let it go. So you buried your treasure. You decided it is easier, and safer, for you to live with the disappointment of never ‘making it’ than risk being disappointed again (Brene Brown).
How I hope this next scenario doesn’t apply to you, but chances are good, that it could. See, you might be one of the millions who grew up in a toxic environment, so venomous and filled with animosity and hostility, fueled by who knows what, that you were repeatedly told, “You are no good. You’re worthless and a waste of resources”. It pains me to type those words, but I know some of you have heard them…and still hear them now.
If that’s you, I understand, or at least I want to empathize with how painful your journey has been. After years of belittling, you cannot imagine that you could have anything of value to share, especially, not anything that someone else could treasure.
I have to believe that deep inside, you genuinely want this to be true — as much or more than anything else you want. You want to feel that you matter and you, yes, even you, have a treasure to share. More importantly, you are a treasure.
It is also possible that this is the first time you hear that you have a treasure. Until now, you believed you were an accident and are here by accident. That, life is random. Here are some of the most common variations of the meme:
The Hedonist version “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”.
The Materialist version, “s/he who dies with the most toys wins.”
The Cynic’s version, “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”
Finally, the Skeptics, “It didn’t work for me, it can’t work for you.”
Their bottom line message sounds like Pete Hogwallop (played by John Turturro) in from O Brother, Where Art Thou.
These memes may be funny in the movies, on a bumper sticker, or some media share, but it’s a pathetic way to live your life. All of these conceal the truth about your treasure.
YOU Have a Treasure
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find your treasure and then share it with the world. Or at least your world.
Throughout the ages, philosophers, poets, composers, and theologians have used different labels to describe your treasure. I call it Living Your WHY.
Living Your WHY (LYW) is all about you finding your treasure — your life purpose as well as the gifts, talents, and abilities entrusted to you, but meant for you to share with others.
LYW is a journey. It is the journey. It’s the quest. It is both a lifelong journey as well as being the journey of your lifetime. You will never be fully alive and fulfilled until you are when you are Living Your WHY.
Let’s explore each of the three words in this phrase, Living Your WHY.
Living conveys this as an active, not a passive quest. Living is not something you did only in the past or a someday thing you will do in the future.[clickToTweet tweet=”Living always has a NOW element to it. It is always present tense. ” quote=”Living always has a NOW element to it. It is always present tense. “]
While it is true that LYW includes both historical and future elements, but only as part of one connected continuum that you experience in the now.
Living your why is relevant to every age and stage of life. As long as you have a pulse, you have a purpose.
The living of your why is always unfolding — it’s active, not static. It morphs, evolves, unfolds. Or, perhaps it’s your understanding and expression of your why that evolves as you continue your journey.[clickToTweet tweet=”Living is an adventure. Your adventure. And you only have one shot at it. So make it count. ” quote=”It’s an adventure. Your adventure. And you only have one shot at it. So make it count. “]
All of this is immensely personal. After all, it’s your why. Your why is unique to you. Everything about your journey shapes and influences you and what’s important to you — how you see the world and your place in it and relationship to it.
You are unique, and no one else is exactly like you — even if you have an identical twin. Likewise, your why is unique. It encompasses the highs and lows of your life’s journey. It is influenced by your environment, but it is neither determined nor defined by your environment.
There is no one else whose treasure is exactly like yours. Your contribution is unique, and we need it.
Living Your WHY is not about you becoming someone else, Living Your WHY is about you becoming the best version of you there possibly is. The world needs you and your WHY.
Why is the essence, the center, the core. Some people think of it as purpose or meaning. It is enduring. It’s your raison d’être — your reason for being.
Why is the universal quest that spans the globe and time. Last century, Viktor Frankl called it Man’s Search for Meaning and saw such power in the search that it helped thousands endure unbelievable pain and suffering during the Holocaust.
Centuries earlier, Irenaeus and Thomas Aquinas called it the Imago Dei, the image of God. These theologians saw it as God’s imprint on all of humanity that creates a deep longing in everyone of us that seeks expression. And centuries before Irenaeus and Aquinas, Solomon called it “eternity set in the heart of man.”
You have a WHY. You will find your greatest joy and fulfillment in life when you are Living Your WHY. Whatever your WHY is!
Living Your WHY
If Living Your WHY is the quest, how do you pursue it?
Now, that’s a great question.
Granted, there may be wrong ways to go about it, but there is not just one single right way. I hope you find that more encouraging than frustrating.
Look for the clues around you. Some of the best clues often come from conversations with those closest to you. Ask them what they see you doing better than most. What is it that people seek you out to ask you about?
Here are some powerfully profound questions to help you on your quest:
What are you doing when you experience joy and delight in life?
What did you love doing most as a child?
What is it that you are doing when you lose track of time?
What energizes you?
What excites you?
What angers you?
If you knew that you were going to die one year from today, what would you do today, so people will remember you as someone who lived life fully?
It’s helpful to answer these questions; it’s even more enlightening to talk through them with someone. Hopefully, you have someone with whom you can have this conversation. If not, contact me, and we’ll explore options for us having that discussion.
Please join the Living Your WHY journey, a virtual community connecting through Facebook. Here’s where you go to can learn more about the group and request membership.
Living Your WHY is a community and at the same time, it’s more than a community. It’s a movement. Join it. Live it. Love it.