Wow! That thought hit me and I had to sit with it for quite a while. It's a powerful question and that was one reason it struck me, but the second reason was that I had walked away from what I was paid to do thirteen years ago, to do what I was made to do...and the transition was long.
What I realize now is that I struggled with the shift so much more than I would have if there had been a true mentor to walk with me and lead the way. And, you might wonder why I didn't find one. The reason is that I thought I could do it alone. In fact, raised as I was, I thought I should do it alone. You might recognize the self-talk:
- "You chose this. You can make it work."
- "There is enough information and you can learn it by yourself."
- "If you had it together, you could pull it together."
- "You're as smart as anyone you would ask for help."
- "I can figure this out."
- "I'm not going to pay someone for what I can do myself."
So, I went to conferences, seminars and teleclasses. I bought books and programs and promises. I engaged a coach or two, a counselor or two, and, even, the head of the World Psychiatric Association. (P.S. Titles, credentials and longevity don't necessarily make people bright, helpful or insightful.) And, I met the dragon, over and over and over. Sometimes, I was able to fend it off. I slayed a few not so little ones. Other times, I was injured, and crawled away under the porch to heal my wounds.
OK, I learned. I grew. I strengthened. But, still I was caught in the trap. I had taken frequent drinks of the "Cultural Kool-aid." You know, the part that says that only becoming a gazillionaire will make you good enough in the eyes of your mother...or whomever...lol. Even though I knew in my heart that money was not the prime driver for my life, I was living as though it were. At the time, I was married to a man who taught me what I did not want. I'm thankful for the experience, and was glad to move on with new learning. It took a while because, being a nurturing, stick-with-it kind of woman who had more than the maximum dose of Cultural Kool-Aid, I kept believing I could make it work. Oh, the programming that kept me thinking things would change.
Not to go too much more deeply into my personal journey, suffice it to say that the sojourn with this man taught me much--about myself, about my willingness to "dance for two," and my insights into my inherited, adopted and adapted personal script. You may know that my doctorate is in psychology, so, it's not my first time to the rodeo, either! I had thought I'd looked at myself from every uncomfortable angle already. But, no. This was the painful portal to a huge awakening.
I'll shorten the story to make my point. Within six months, in the most amazing and unlikely way, the Universe gave me the gift of a brilliant, kind, compassionate, committed, wise, inquiring, intense, deep and unconditionally loving man. He and I walked over all the previous terrain, found the potholes, learned from them, blessed them and moved on. This has helped me to unpack and dissect the Cultural Kool-Aid and choose to make my own libation, something clearer, cleaner and more transparent.
So, how does this inform today's question: "Is what you're paid to do what you're made to do?"
- I dumped out the old Kool-Aid and created my own healthy, sustaining reservoir that I can drink from at any time safely.
- I returned to what was always in my heart: "Give your gifts and trust the Universe." (Sorry, Mom, but I just cannot find my dollar-chasing shoes anywhere."
- I looked through my journals of the past twenty-five years and found that every year started with a commitment of one kind or another to sow peace, although never in those words. Sow Peace™ is what I'm made to do.
- I brought the pieces of myself together in one container, rather than keeping them in compartments so they wouldn't fight.
- I released myself from the Kool-Aid script and no longer define myself by the bank statement, but by my heart's capacity to love.
- I fully embraced--to my ability at this moment which is all there is--the wisdom of my spiritual mentor, and continue to stay conscious and aware of my choices as much of each day as possible.
- I understand the interactions of the vital pieces of sowing peace so much better: clarity, understanding, alignment, boundaries and the well-developed skills I teach to communicate in ways that are totally kind and totally honest at the same time.
- I do my best to demonstrate those interactions in my daily living, and allow myself a margin for error and a little wiggle room without beating myself up.
- My work is, in my opinion with regard to the marketplace, "right-sized." I charge what I feel reflects the value offered while not putting it out of reach of people who want or need it. Fair market value.
- My speaking, writing, coaching, consulting and mediation flows from who I am, not what I think will make me the most money or market share. It's about giving what I have to give. And, delightfully, that released the spigot on flow, just as I have always taught that it would. Go figure!
So, I started with a very big onion. I whittled it down to one-third its original size and thought it was perfect. I learned that the onion is endless, and, unpeeling is a lifetime, inside job. By walking with my partner, I learned the joy of total honesty in a safe environment that is always supportive and caring. Being a therapist myself--and with a fair wattage of brain power, I had to really be able to trust any partner in the helping arena, trust his brilliance, his insight, his patience and his understanding. Finally, I found someone I could trust...with the bonus that I also trust him with my life!
So, are you doing what you're paid to do or what you're made to do?
Here are questions to ask yourself:
- Do you know what you value...really know from deep introspection, and not the Cultural Kool-Aid?
- Are you willing to live your truth and release yourself from the expectations of others?
- Are you willing to give up any slight or intense addiction to drama that keeps your knickers in a twist?
- Are you clear what lights you up, warms you and incites you to sustainable action?
- Are you willing to trust someone to listen to you, encourage, challenge and walk with you?
- Are you currently mistaking activity for progress in your life?
- Are you investing in yourself in terms of time, information, focus, energy...and, yes, money?
- Are you doing what's in your heart to do and not being over-ruled by your head, your personal Kool-Aid recipe?
- Are you willing to walk in focus, faith and fearlessness?
If so, with a good business and marketing plan based on who you are, and what you have to offer, you will live a joyful, passionate, aligned life that brings you energy, enthusiasm, grace and fulfillment. It's not about what the market will bear. It's about who you bring to the market. Oh, yes, and, you'll make money, too. All by doing what you're made to do, rather than only by what you're paid to do.