It’s hard to understand who we really are: what we want, how we feel and why we react as we do. This lack of self-knowledge can be trouble, for it makes us get into the wrong relationships, pick unsatisfactory jobs or spend money unwisely. No wonder Socrates summed up all the counsel of philosophy in just two words: ‘Know Yourself’. -The School of Life
I don’t remember ever having a complete vision for my life. Never locking into the idea of a certain job or industry to work in, where I would live or really what I would be doing 20 years down the line. Full of curiosity and “into” things; played sports, collected stuff, loved music, riding my bike and hanging out with friends. But even though I played baseball, I don’t ever really remember thinking that I could, or even wanting to play as a professional. I never really thought of myself as a BMX rider or a lead singer in a band. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I don’t think I knew those were things people did for a job, to earn an income, and that they lived a life outside of what I saw on a field, or a stage or in a book.
Not surprisingly, years later into an investment consulting job, I was feeling unfulfilled at work and directionless. Toss in a few relationships that didn’t last and I was uncertain and confused about what was next. I was totally unaware of myself and ambitions and up until that point, I had simply settled for whatever came next.
I left that job in 2011 and because I didn’t know what was next, I simply cleared my plate. I didn’t have a “plan”. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have a place to be or a time to be there. I left myself with myself and basically saw what would happen. I trusted myself, based on the foundation of support and education that I did have.
As it turns out, naturally, I analyzed my wants, needs, curiosities, and interests and allowed those to grow and some die and sprout other ideas until those evolved and changed and developed over time.
For the last 8 years, I have dedicated myself to learning who I am. Looking back to connect the dots on the times I remember, understanding where I am today and looking forward so that I can build a roadmap for where I want to be in the future.
I realized that we’re all just trying to figure it out. The world is a fickle place, and life is way more than a job title and position at work.
It’s rare these days that people get a chance to reflect, brainstorm and dig deep into who they were, are, and want to be. The headspace to do so just doesn’t happen without dedicating yourself to it. I know that I’m fortunate for my upbringing, education, and experiences. I know that people cannot just leave their jobs for a year to “figure it out”. I’m a husband, a father, and a homeowner now. What I did 8 years ago, couldn’t happen in my life today.
I understand the challenges faced in everyday life of a stressful role at work, with no respect or recognition for you and your ideas. If you’re possibly in a job that’s not rewarding financially or mentally fulfilling, a long commute, and a busy family life on top of it, and there’s hardly any time for yourself, the last thing that you want to do is attempt to do some inner work on yourself.
I know what it feels like to not know what’s next because there’s limited or no options on the table. It sucks, and it’s not easy. It’s exhausting to even think about which leaves even less motivation and gusto to do something about it. The truth is, I deeply appreciate anyone that digs into the meaning of their life and knows what’s important to them, why they believe what they do and do the things they do. Or simply, working on figuring those things out.
My name is Jeff Possiel, I’m the Founder of Dogwood Projects, the digital publisher & consultant, we have four internet publications we launched this fall and excited to help other people and business get their brand communication strategy shaped up.
I’ve just put together a free “Getting to Know Yourself Guide” complete with assessment recommendations and a process for defining yourself, whether it’s a career change you’re interested in or branding for a business, this will help the “self-knowledge” concept Socrates spoke of.