Coaching Corner: What’s My Work?
What are the key themes that emerge in the mythical stories of heroes? First, that these heroes are somehow uniquely suited to pursue some destiny. Secondly, along the way they encounter trials and tribulations, most of which they could not anticipate. The very nature of the Hero’s Journey is to leave behind the known, called to answer a yet to be known truth. Lastly, the mythical hero perseveres with a servant’s heart. It is this hero’s heart, this dedication and commitment to a cause bigger than they, that puts us in awe.
Each of us is perfectly suited to walk the path to our highest self’s destiny. Once the road is paved with clarity of purpose the hero or heroine can begin to claim his or her birthright. Some stumble upon this clarity, the result of a wounding that can only be healed through service. Others just know, “this is my calling, my life’s work.” And still others only know it’s missing from their world, and long for the adventure and satisfaction it would bring, if only they knew what it was.
For those of us who believe we are doing the work we were meant to do, times of economic upheaval can cause us to question our path, or fear we will have to make different choices. The story this month, Ascending from the Flames, was prompted by an upheaval that my sister is facing in her life. What we learn from mythical stories is that during times of great difficulty, obstacles, and uncertainty the hero, or heroine learns the most. They learn about who they are, what they are made of, and what really matters. What I have learned in my own life, is that
my darkest days became a gateway to something more.
Many people close to me are facing layoffs, losses to stock portfolios, and general concern about what will happen next. Three people I care deeply about (one my own daughter), have been laid off in the past week. During tough times, we can become immobilized by uncertainty. In Broken Open, Elizabeth Lesser shares the growth potential that can come from difficult times. She asserts that the most challenging times of our lives have the potential of becoming a Phoenix Process. That our evolution often comes from being tested by fire, and like the story of the Phoenix, we can rise out of the flames transformed.
For those of you that are facing significant obstacles, sift through the ashes for the jewels that will come from this interesting time. Ask yourself, what can I take from this? What is the learning? How does this impact my leadership?
For those that are on the path of their highest and best use, celebrate! Take the time to remind yourself of what is important about the work you do. Why are you uniquely suited to carry the mythical sword?
For those unsure of how to find the path uniquely suited for you, ask yourself, What is my work? What do I care deeply about? What would I be willing to give my life to? You are after all the hero in your own story. What’s your quest?