In an ideal world, we would all be living our “passion.“ Following our heart. Listening to our gut feeling.

Sadly, the reality is that living our passion is easier said than done. And more often than not, we tend to “react“ to our environment rather than to take the time to get to know ourselves. Finding out what makes us truly happy.

Instead, we often find ourselves in pain. Feeling torn. Sensing that something isn´t quite right. But not being able to pin-point exactly what it is. It´s simply this feeling of discomfort inside of us. Nagging. Knocking.

The truth is that most of the time, we aren´t aware of how much our environment is impacting us. Having an enormous and impressive influence on the choices we make. This environment is made up of our family, friends, teachers, colleagues, media … .

And it´s this environment which – consciously or unconsciously –impacts our thinking. Telling us what a “proper“ job looks like. What a “respectable“ career would be. Imposing views about what is best for us. 

I once worked with a client who found themselves in exactly such a dilemma. Totally oblivious to what was happening. Yet sensing that something was not quite right. 

When I met my client, they weren´t sure of what they wanted to study once they left school. When I asked them, they replied that they were thinking of becoming either a teacher or a nurse.

On the surface, this made perfect sense. My client loved interacting and working with people. Connecting. Helping. Simply being there for others.

And so where was the issue?

Actually, while exploring their ideas of either becoming a teacher or nurse, it became very clear very fast that my client wasn´t 100% committed to either one of these options. There was neither joy nor excitement in their voice when talking about these professions.

And not just that. Every time we went into more depth about becoming a teacher or a nurse, it wouldn´t be very long before my client found something that spoke against pursuing either of them as a career. The phrase they would regularly use was:“ Well, I wouldn´t want to do it for the rest of my life.“ 

Observing this pattern, I decided to ask my client:“ If you had a magic wand, what would you like to be?“ And their instant reply? “I´d like to work in the movie industry.“ The moment they said these words out loud, there was a shift in the tone of their voice. They sounded happy, grounded and suddenly full of energy.

What had happened? What had held my client back from mentioning this earlier when we were exploring the various options and ideas they had?

Well, my client was living in an environment where they were constantly being told that the most important thing in life was helping others. And that in order to be a “good“ person – a “respected“ member of society – they needed to have a job that would allow them to do exactly that. “Saving others“ was what life was all about. This was a belief deeply ingrained in my client.

With my client´s hidden belief surfaced, ease arrived. Along with it came inspiration. And the energy to explore different avenues. Choice had appeared on the scene … and was there to stay.

So, where are you currently? Are you at a similar cross-roads?


photo: fotolia/ Brian Jackson