What Am I Doing With My Life?!
I’ve been on vacation and taking a break from a lot of “regular” things in my life. I’ve missed sharing my thoughts and hearing from you. I’m grateful to be back.
If you don’t know Nelson Mandela’s story, I encourage you to check it out. The short version is that he was the first black elected to office in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. He spent 27 YEARS in prison for fighting for freedom for his countrymen. Stop and imagine what it would be like to be told you’re not allowed to work or own property in your own country.
Many Americans can’t imagine this. But some Americans can not only imagine it, they have to live it… everyday.
What Does It Mean, to Free Yourself?
I think it means to have self-knowledge. To see the places in ourselves that need repair and actively look for ways to learn and grow. I know this can painful and hard and most of us, don’t want to do it. Some people prefer to stay the way they are. I get it. For myself, I am on a spiritual (not religious) journey to find a way to serve humanity.
What Does It Mean, to Free Others?
To free others may be a more complex task, but it’s certainly difficult to free others, if I am not free myself. One way I find to free others, is by example. If I can free myself, then perhaps I show another person, just one way, that it can be done.
Another way is to simply listen. I believe with my whole being that listening to another person, with full attention, is the best gift one person can give another. Listening with no judgements, no suggestions, no advice… just expressing confidence that the person will find their way… is a source of power and strength.
And lastly, Mandela talks about serving, everyday. This is even more complex because what is service? Who gains from it? To whom do I provide service and what kind do I provide? I admit that a lot of the service I do in terms of mentoring…is very rewarding to me. It’s not about outcomes, it’s about being trusted by other people, enough for them to want to speak with me. Trust is hard earned and easy to lose. Anytime someone wants to tell their story, I feel privileged to hear it. I feel good being able to be of service. So do I do this for myself, or for the other person?
While this question is important, it’s not as important as the intention of being of service. That it is about someone else not me. I get a benefit, but that is a by-product. The goal is to be of service to someone else, not myself.
I am in awe of all of you who show me who you are and who think about knowing yourself better. You are funny, charming and special. I am carrying you in my heart.
Image credit: Nelson Mandela