Do you find yourself playing someone else’s game or the one that honors your strengths and gets you play time? I hope it’s the latter, but for the sake of this post, let’s say it’s the first.
You’ll know you are playing the game of someone else’s making or someone else’s dream when you find yourself wondering why you’re doing what you’re doing. While this is likely to be a question you ponder often in life, hopefully you have a ready answer that resolves that question for you. If you don’t have a ready answer and the question continues to haunt you at every quiet moment, then it’s likely you are playing someone else’s game.
Perhaps your parents played a very influential part in your life (most do) and you did one of two things. You fell hook line and sinker to the path they told you to take or did the complete opposite, jumped ship and found the path that directly conflicted with the one your parents suggested you take. Honestly, what 18-year-old is making decisions that are in alignment with their soul? I would argue that whether you chose to follow the path of comfort or the one of discomfort, neither were what your soul was whispering to you. The truth of the matter is, I’m sure your parents, having observed and interacted with you for the previous 18 years, had a bit of an inkling as to what you might excel at or what to direct you away from at the very least. However, our raging need for independence at that age is no where near listening to the voice within us and is more interested in fighting the voices giving direction outside of us. Is it any wonder that many college freshmen are depressed and drop out or change their major within their first year of college? There isn’t anything that’s going to prepare you for that first year of independence. Naively, as a parent, I’m planning with that in mind. Here’s to hoping!
Voices of direction
As you get older a distance emerges between you and your parents. Peers are everywhere and their voices are louder and more interesting than your parents. Their words are gold and their actions are like witnessing Neil Armstrong plant the American flag on the moon. So, we struggle. We struggle to pay credence to the guiding force of our parents and to the exciting and enticing voices of our peers. The voices of our peers may also be telling us that we can’t do something that we think we can or judge us for not doing something to perfection or as well as another. Does this mean we stop playing altogether? Sometimes that is exactly what happens. We have yet to realize that deep within ourselves a compass is pulling us ever so slightly, trying as it might, to pull us in the direction to the game we want to play.
Every act in life is engaged on some sort of field of play. Our jobs are a matter of showing up and fulfilling parts to a team of players. Even if we are solo entrepreneurs, we answer to somebody. We are part of something bigger than ourselves at every turn. As we get older and begin to realize this, we start to take notice that there are some things we’ve been doing for awhile now that we absolutely do not feel called to show up for. It is not a game we have any desire to play. Maybe it worked for a while or we thought it did, but that’s before we started to be present in our own life and notice that it was not desirable to our soul’s intention.
Stop and listen
When you start to provide yourself more space and time for reflection and contemplation as to what is important to you and where you feel most alive in your life, it will be necessary to evaluate your contentment as to what game you are playing. By welcoming space and silence around this question, be listening to the whisper in your soul. The more you stop to listen to it, the louder it becomes.