Around 10 years ago, my therapist surprised me with a question that was so simple it threw me for a loop: “Who are you?”, she asked.
The question fell on me like a ton of bricks. I stared blankly at her for a minute before she repeated the question, this time more emphatically. “Who are you?”. I looked down at my hands and nervously twisted a tissue around my finger while the awkward silence continued.
My mind darted in multiple directions, scrounging for an answer. I managed to mentally generate lists of things about me – personality traits, preferences, roles, experiences. I sputtered a few out loud and then retracted my words.
Was I overthinking the question? A wave of embarrassment came over me as I wondered how a PhD student could fumble over such a simple question.
This went on for about five minutes until I burst into tears. The nothingness of my response made me feel like an incoherent jumble of… nothingness.
Being unable to define myself, particularly my vocation, was a major pain point in my life. Whenever I latched onto a new field or landed a new job, something inside me would instantly revolt against it. Almost immediately the new endeavor felt like a straight-jacket and I wanted out. Nothing felt like me.
During my life I’ve made a dozen or so career transitions in search of the profession that would make me feel at home within myself. These frequent transitions created the annoying experience of feeling like a perpetual beginner who always had to prove her worth.
While I had no problem ‘selling myself’ to employers and succeeding according to their standards, I struggled to truly appreciate my gifts. I carried a fear that I would never accumulate the depth of subject-specific expertise that would enable me to feel like a true ‘expert’.
I was caught in a loop. I believed that I was only as valuable as the expertise that I could share with the world, yet this expertise was completely elusive to me. Being unable to name my true profession made me feel like a nobody, yet whenever I defined myself with a job title, field or industry, I felt restricted.
On April 14, 2019, I was jolted out of the loop. I received a powerful psychic reading about my career that challenged everything I had just learned from my entrepreneurship training – which happened to be led by the start-up experts of the world.
Stop molding your ideas to fit the requirements for commercialization.
When you design your ideas according to what the masses want, you stray from what you love. You stray from what you’re really good at.
Ohhhh. Wow. Do what you love. It was that simple, and it finally sunk in.
And so I found my identity. Hiding in plain view.
When I love something, I merge with it, energetically. I no longer feel like a being who is disconnected from her world. The boundaries between me and the thing I do cease to exist. I experience myself as pure consciousness flowing in the moment. I become one with what I do.
I am what I love. I am one.
Next post – Destination:transition