A life of passion as I think about it elicits many different emotions in my soul. When I was young, I knew being passionate was important. Unfortunately, as I embraced my passion, I burned myself, and especially in love. As I grew, I tempered my passion as I evaded the pain I associated with being overly passionate. Fast forward to this moment, and now I realize I have done myself a disservice all these years.
I have a disorder called Imposter Syndrome. It surfaces occasionally, but when it does, it leaves me feeling unpleasant. I feel a need to know everything, and this leads me to believe I know nothing.
I was on LinkedIn a few months ago, and I replied to a post about Imposter syndrome.
I said, and I quote.
I have a serious case of imposter syndrome that I deal with daily. I’m not sure what the answer is because no matter how much I learn, I feel like I don’t know anything about anything. In my role, I am expected to know a little bit of everything about everything, but then I don’t know a lot about anything. It’s quite the challenge to feel like I don’t have to know everything.
When you need to give an answer stay in the present and allow the information you have at that moment be your truth, meaning that if the next day you learn something new, it becomes your new truth as long as you are in the moment and aware of the constant growth we all are subjects to. This is what worked for me 😊 Many people replied and reacted to the post. Here’s the advice that makes the most sense to me.
— Random Netizen
I happened to be working on living in the moment, so this was one more reason to do the work. It took me many years to realize I was living too much of my life in the future. I’m still very strategic, and I like considering the future, but the reality is that the present is all we have.
I believe living in the present is the center.
As I’ve balanced myself by living in the present, life has become vibrant.
Shortly after, I decided to explain why I have imposter syndrome, so I hired a coach. It was the first time in my life that I had done such a thing. I spent a few sessions with my coach and finally realized that learning with intent was triggering me. When I have a clear mind to learn something, my imposter syndrome becomes overwhelming. Shortly after this realization, I pivoted to doing what has always worked for me, and I now teach myself exclusively with purpose. If I need to learn something, I find a goal to pair with my learning. Given a goal, I chase it like a dog with a bone and come out well educated without feeling like a fake. I imagine anyone that suffers from imposter syndrome will need to carve their coping path.
My coach performed a psychological test on me. I am not a fan of psychological tests, but I decided to keep an open mind. We went through a series of questions within the context of past jobs. The questions centered around fulfillment needs which I hadn’t thought about in the past. I know what I gravitate towards, but I’ve never really peered into myself in this way. I suppose that’s why people hire coaches because I would never have thought to take a test.
Once the testing was over, achievement came out on top. I found that when I am reaching goals unchecked, I am happiest.
I thrive in teams. A team gives me a light rail to growth. I’ve found that working with more intelligent people than you is one of the best ways to grow. I’ve concluded that growth and achievement are nearly synonymous within the context of human development.
My need to collaborate is likely rooted in my need for achievement. I’m still exploring my fulfillment needs, so a lot of this is new to me, and the connections in my brain are still forming at a rapid pace.
Collaboration, when done right, is a marvelous thing. I’ve never received a bigger dopamine hit than when I’ve successfully brought people together to achieve big goals. When I was living in Austria, I ran a thriving World of Warcraft guild that regularly ran raids to improve our gear. I intentionally created the guild to learn large-scale leadership skills.
My Warcraft guild’s name was Altruitas which is a play on the word altruism. Our guild was centered around collaboration and helping new players specifically. At the peak of the guild’s strength, we had a hundred active players and over three hundred players in the guild. While running this guild, I learned many things, and most importantly, that leading collaborative efforts isn’t a self-centered act. It’s about the team of people and empowering those people to be leaders. It’s about helping others find their voice.
Find Your Voice
I used to think the phrase find your voice was bullshit until I found it. It seemed like an elusive psychological construct or another way to say good luck, have fun, much like this guy.
I didn’t seek my voice, it came to me, and it changed my life. I used to stumble over my words, worry about what people thought of me, and was generally concerned about the opinion of others. Once I stumbled upon my voice, most of those worries melted away.
I believe I found it primarily by writing down and focusing on my principles. I have a set of principles that guide me. I apply them to every part of my life.
Here is my list. Almost everyone’s list is different.
- I Love Deeply
- I Seek Truth
- I’m Habitual
- I Live Healthy
- I Discipline Myself
- I Work Efficiently
- I Exercise My Intelligence
- I Acquire Knowledge
- I Work Effectively
- I Persevere
- I Let Ideas Flow
- I Keep Life Simple
- I Seek Self Awareness
Writing down my principles and following them gives me purpose and direction. It aligns my efforts, simplifies my life, and makes everything easier. It also fuels my passion and gives me strength.
I didn’t magically come up with those principles. I read books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Principles: Life and Work. Upon reading these books, I realized how important principles really are, so I started using them.
What fuels your passion will be different than what fuels mine. It takes some soul searching to learn what’s truly important to you. It also changes over time, so I adjust and add new unwavering principles to my toolbelt.
I firmly believe that finding your voice is key to a fulfilling life.
A life of passion is elusive. Even the people we associate directly with passion have ups and downs. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to kill himself twice when he was young. If he had been successful, his passion for a world of equality would have died on the vine.
Our world is exceedingly complex. We need guideposts to help us navigate the sea of information, change, chaos, and heartbreak we will inevitably come across. We need to find our passion, hold it, and carry it with us rather than drop it as it burns us. Life burns sometimes, but our rekindled passions will give us a life of purpose, happiness, and conviction. Pick up that flame, let it burn you, then go forth and be the person you’ve always wanted to be.