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On What a Life is For and Finding My Voice March 6, 2006

Posted by Yvonne in beginner blogger, Distinctions, Dynamics of Resistance, Word in Action.

In my first Master’s level course, it was “Management 101”, the professor opened the evening asking us to provide some basic background info on ourselves, including the answer to: “What is your most important value?” He used to ask: “Who are you?” but it didn’t net much useful response because people were simply too young to answer.

When my sister was about 15, she worried: “I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!” So I gave her the professor’s take on it:

“Don’t worry; you’re not anybody yet.”

Being “in the make” is a tough spot when all that’s around you is pulling for a two-dimensional answer (What? No business card?) to a clearly multi-dimensional question. It’s probably best to put off the answer for as long as you can.

The Situational Me: It’s a darn difficult problem if you’re someone who finds themselves (literally) in many and varied situations. If you have a lot of range, it can take some time to discern the You That You Are – particularly if you’re not anyone else, if the You That You Are has never been done before. There likely is no model to follow. So where do you look?

Other people can help you triangulate on it. I know a woman who married her husband because, of all the people she’d met, “he had the best me” – and then, with him, she gets to be that!

But how much we see of the You That You Are depends on who you can hang around with, what you let show, and what we can actually see. We might literally astound ourselves if we just put ourselves in more new and unusual situations.

Finding My Voice: So now I’m of an age, and have maybe enough living to reflect. And starting the blog has wonderfully exacerbated the quest to answer that nagging question about “finding my voice”.

I’m interested in culling, moving my attention more towards center, closer to whatever that thing is that’s for me to do, bring, and be in the world, that thing for which I’m uniquely suited and which no one else is probably interested in providing, but which may be useful nonetheless.

I want to use my life for my life, not something else.

What My Life is For: So I’m pursuing this inquiry by looking and listening for:

  • what makes me happy,
  • what I can’t help doing,
  • what I let pull me off my schedule,
  • what breaks my heart if I miss it,
  • what I get up early, stay up late and skip meals for,
  • what has me fly across the country or go out without makeup for,
  • what I never pay attention to the cost of,
  • what I never justify or apologize for,
  • what I always make sure happens, and
  • what lights me up.

So far, it boils down to this:

Being with brilliant people, and leveraging leaders through language and love.

I wrote that more than a year ago, and it’s been rolling around me since. And slowly and slowly, I’m actually seeing where I provide that over and over, and in an apparently amazing way that others continually acknowledge as a gift. Brilliant people tell me that when I’m around, people understand them better. It’s something about how I listen and inquire …

But the difference is: now I’m listening to me.

Now it’s Getting Fun. (Yeah, I know, it’s about freaking time!) Just yesterday, Pat (who is on her 4th renovation) shared her wisdom regarding that large, still mostly pending undertaking in my life: the house renovation.

“There are really only two questions”, she said. “And the answers are: Yes or No? and Now or Later? Just choose.”

As I continue to listen, it gets easier to choose. In just the last few days, I can see more clearly and am more ready to let go of the “not that” things that have filled my calendar, checkbook and home to make more space and time for what my life is actually for. This morning, by listening and testing what’s coming into my life against What My Life is For, I saw clearly something that should not be missed. It was crystal: “Yes and Now.” So I made the call, and now it’s happening.

The Learning: I can now see that part of how things get stuck is when I try to generate the answer rather than listen for the answer.

Finding a Voice is less about speaking, more about listening. Perhaps the Voice is always sounding, but gets real only when it’s heard. And that requires someone Listening.

Future Potential Inquiries: Yes or No? Now or Later?, Getting a Good Listening To


1. Benson Flores - March 9, 2006

You said,

“I’m interested in culling, moving my attention more towards center, closer to whatever that thing is that’s for me to do, bring, and be in the world, that thing for which I’m uniquely suited and which no one else is probably interested in providing, but which may be useful nonetheless.”

I love that. Me, too! Great inquiry. When I’m quiet, I can feel that sense of ‘I am everything I was meant to be’. But really, there’s no escaping that me – right here right now – even when I think I want to!

– Benson

2. Ann - July 27, 2006

Benson is right, there is no escaping who we are. As much as we wish we could de-flaw ourselves, we will always be flawed. Humans are not perfect beings. I love your section “what my life is for” because it helps us to all examine our individual lives and try to answer those questions for ourselves. Thank you.

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