I AM    

a journey of discovery


We all focus so much time on the what in life; and spend so little time on the who?


Often times, I ask my clients to define who they are and they just stammer and stutter… then finally say “I never really thought about it.”

For many of us, much of life is spent focusing on what we want, where we are going; what image we are projecting; how much money we are making; who we are seen with and the designer name on the clothing we are wearing. With that as the focus most have never really thought about who they are or what they value in life.

In the decade of 2010, the focus was on the external aspects of life with little time spent on getting to know who we were as individuals or what we valued.  We were so focused on the external elements, that we rarely looked at how we felt about where we were in life or if we were even happy where we were.  Staying in the rat race seemed more important at that time; thus, becoming the way of life for most in that decade.

The decade of 2020 will be spent on getting a clearer vision of what life is, can be and what truly matters.  Everything that has been is now being questioned!  This makes for a very uncomfortable time as most individuals like the comfort of knowing, familiarity and controlling.

The greatness of times like this is, that in this questioning and experiencing the unfamiliar we are more open to take a road less traveled.  An exploring journey causes us to observe, pay attention and probe; whereas, in the familiar we assume we already know the terrain.

I recently reread an article written by Amber Rae, published in Fast Company in September, 2012. https://www.fastcompany.com/3001647/what-do-i-want-do-when-i-grow-wrong-question-ask   It was focused on a question she had asked herself for years.  However, on this particular day she realized she had been asking the wrong question all this time.

The question she had been asking was, “What do I want to do when I grow up”?  She wrote that after years of disappointments and dissatisfaction in careers and life, something magical happened that day.  Instead of focusing on the end goal – the perfect job and the one thing she wanted – a realization came to her that she had been asking the wrong question… the real questions were… “Who am I?”  “How do I want to live my life?”  And, “What do I have to give?”

Her story is such a great lesson for most of us; and, especially in the decade of the 20’s.  The disruption at the outset of this decade has raised society’s realization that an extrinsic focus is of little value in a time where intrinsic understanding and awareness are key to successful survival and forward movement.

The decade ahead will require very different skills, attitudes and behaviors for personal and professional fulfillment, growth and success.  This shift from a focus of extrinsic to intrinsic will require cultural and societal norms to move from competition, greed and control to cooperation, compassion and giving.  There will be a demand for coaching, mentoring and learning approaches which will shift leadership from being all about titles and organizational structures.  The new role of leaders will move from a ‘working for attitude’ to a ‘working with attitude’.

The ‘I AM…’ in a job search and career in this decade is so critical.  It will require finding a position or lifetime career that is value focused, offers personal fulfilment and serves the whole.  Interviews will shift from mostly focusing on competency to more of a focus on compatibility, chemistry, personal passion, values and community involvement.  Professional and personal interests will become more aligned than in the past decades.  With those two parts of an individual in partnership; interests and careers will prove to be more personally and professionally satisfying!

It is now the time to ask ourselves the right questions about our career desires.  Focusing the career and job search on the three questions, Amber Rae, spoke about will serve the good of all involved.  The professional will be more satisfied and, with that satisfaction will potentially bring more value to an organization.

Honoring our ‘I AM…’ matters and makes life’s journey of discovery much more fulfilling.  Remember to ask yourself the right questions on your journey through life.   Beginning with the earlier mentioned three questions is a great way to start: “Who am I?”  “How do I want to live my life?”  And, “What do I have to give?”

If you discover that you are ready for a career change or have a desire to create your own business, I offer DIY workshops on resume writing, interviewing, career management and preliminary business planning.  Check out the workshops at my online Runway to Success Career and Business Learning Center by going to:  https://runwaytosuccess.teachable.com

Patricia Leonard

Patricia Leonard, Inspirational Speaker on Career and Life Management

Runway to Success