What you love is what you are gifted at, and there are no exceptions.
~ Barbara Sher
This chapter is action-orientated and is all about finding the key that unlocks your Vital Vocation. It’s where we go in search of your gifts and talents in the sure knowledge that these lie at the root of your ideal work. If you already think you know what they are, great; now’s your chance to verify that. If you don’t, the exercises in this chapter will really help you to unearth them.
Discovering What Makes You Tick
The simplest way to get a hint of where your talents lie is to pay attention to anything that you are attracted to and in particular, anything that you really love.
Even if you don’t have an obvious talent in that area, you can be sure that your love for a thing points you towards a talent of some sort. Perhaps it will be something as simple as the fact that you have a heightened appreciation of the subject in question. Yes, that is a real talent. An expert wine-taster doesn’t need to be able to make wine, but he or she needs to fully appreciate good wine in order to do the job well. A history teacher may never make history, but he or she needs to love learning about it in order to teach it effectively. So it is with you. If you love something, you see it in a particular way: a way that’s utterly unique and therefore very valuable to you, and to others.
In order to cast the net as wide as possible, I’m going to ask you to explore several areas which will provide you with clues as to what you should be doing with your life. In the exercises that follow we’ll be searching for this treasure in:
- Your memories
- Your future plans
- Your imagination
- Other people’s perceptions of you
- Your unconscious mind
Each area is explored in a separate exercise and I’ll give examples from my own life so that you can see how it’s done.
It’s worth giving yourself sufficient time to do each exercise without having to rush through it. By going searching for what you love in each of these areas (the last two are optional) you’ll be able to gather enough information to spot any pattern in the things that are capable of satisfying and stimulating you. Once you can see a pattern like that, you can begin to build a life and career around it.
Ready? Enjoy this. We’re about to do no less than discover your purpose in life!
EXERCISE 3: Journeying into the Past
For this exercise, you’re going to cast your mind back to things you’ve loved doing in your past.
Wherever you are just now in your life, think back to several earlier periods, for example:
- Your teenage years
- Young adulthood
- Middle age
Write each of the periods you’ve chosen as a heading on a separate page and make a list of all the things you really loved to do when you were that age. List as many as you can recall and be as specific as possible.
However – and this is important – only write down the things you particularly loved. Choose things that would rate a 7 or above if you were to rate them on a “lovability scale” of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest).
Genre – NonFiction / Careers
Rating – G