Get a Useful “Aha!” Moment – Ask Yourself This Question
The other day, a friend calls me in a crisis about her job search and her career path and her life’s dream to be a published novelist. As she talks of her dilemma, this bit of wisdom just pops out of my mouth and surprises even me! Where the heck does it come from? I don’t really know. Maybe I read it in a book somewhere and it was planted in my subconscious waiting for the perfect time to bloom. I prefer the more romantic notion that some angel is inspiring me to say not only what my friend needs to hear but what I need to hear, too. Whatever it is, we suddenly get this useful "Aha!" moment, and I’m loving it!
My friend says she’s been nurturing a dream to publish a novel. Stories have flitted through her imagination for years, and she’s even dabbled in writing parts of them down. She tells everyone she trusts and cares about that her dream is to be a writer. So, periodically, they ask her how the novel is coming along, and they keep encouraging her to carry on. She makes excuses and says she would love to focus on her novel, but she is pouring her energy into her job search. She’s been an administrative assistant for about eighteen years and she’s good at it. However, for about the last five years, she’s had a series of disastrous experiences. She can’t seem to find the perfect job, boss or company to satisfy her. Isn’t it interesting that her heart is all about writing this novel but her head is all about getting another job as an administrative assistant? Well, that’s where my little inspired piece of wisdom pops up in our conversation. You see, it is suddenly clear that in pushing away the dream realization, she’s creating strife in her administrative assistant career. Why? Because deep down, she doesn’t really want an administrative assistant career – she’s just doing it because she thinks it’s what she’s supposed to do… maybe it’s because her parents expect it, maybe it’s because her spouse or her friends expect it, or maybe it’s because she’s afraid. (Fear – now there’s a whole other subject!) The bottom line is this… being an administrative assistant is not her true passion, so that path is bound to be filled with conflict because she is in conflict!
So here’s what I tell her… I say she needs her head and her heart to be in alignment or she will constantly have a struggle with her career and her job search. If she continues to set one intention with her heart and another with her head, she will constantly attract conflicts that are meant to kick her in the butt so she will move in the direction where her heart is. You might ask – Why would it go toward her heart and not her head? Because emotions make up a far more powerful force than thinking does. Consider the fact that that just about everything – wars, love affairs, inventions, medical advancements, social evolution, procreation, career changes, etc. – get their start as an emotional seed. Sure, the want of money can be a motivating reason, too, but even that requires strong desire, aka emotion. The passion starts things off, keeps things going, and sometimes, but not always, thinking – reasoning – helps lead to the fruit. What you’re passion about or what your heart desires is what you will attract into your life. Then, if you engage your mind to come up with logical ways to fulfill your passion, you achieve alignment. (Successful people call this executing a vision.) However, if you set an intention with your heart and then sabotage it with your head, you are not in alignment, and, hence, unhappiness. It’s really that simple.
So my friend and I have this big, useful "Aha!" moment together. I suddenly realize that I’ve gotten into alignment recently, so it makes perfect sense to me. Maybe that’s why I’m able to articulate the concept. Now, she gets it. She suddenly realizes that she can still be an administrative assistant in order to pay the bills while she completes the novel. Even if the novel doesn’t lead to a new career, she can still honor and fulfill the intention that tugs at her the strongest. We both agree that in order to achieve our dreams, we don’t need to be starving artists – we just have to somehow find a way to act on what we’ve been inspired to do, even if we still do something mundane to pay the bills.*
Alignment between head and heart. Seems so easy, doesn’t it? Well, go ahead and check your alignment. Ask yourself, "What am I passionate about?" Maybe you’ll get a useful "Aha!" moment, too. Warning though – that’s the easy part. It’s putting aside your fear that might be hard. But, hey, you do want to be happy, don’t you? Of course, you do… so just go for it, my friend! And, believe me, putting aside fear is easier than you think!
*For deeper insight to how we can follow our creative passions while making a living even if our creative passions don’t pay the bills, check out Carol Lloyd’s book, Creating a Life Worth Living.