I have asked myself that very question so many times throughout my life – as a young girl filled with angst when I thought that the whole world was smarter, prettier, and better than me; as a teenager about to go to college wondering what I should major in; and repeatedly as an adult, always checking to make sure I was living up to my potential.
Truth be told, I think it is impossible to objectively see who we are and how we fit in with the rest of the world, especially when we are “in the moment”. But hindsight brings greater perspective and a whole lot of clarity…and with it the ability to be objective with ourselves as we are.
For instance, I had no idea what I was capable of until I became a recruiter—and I became a recruiter at 24 years old entirely by accident. Up until that point, I was taking my directives from everyone and everything BUT my own “inner GPS” (that is, my soul). I had been listening to my father, my college professors, my friends…heck, anyone who had an opinion. I don’t think I had any idea that I even had an inner voice, let alone give myself permission to let it guide me.
Then one day in 1986, while trying to find a new job in the accounting field, I visited a search firm that specialized in finding jobs for people like me. The woman who interviewed me said she “saw something in me…a spark.” And instead of sharing job openings for accountants, she asked me if I would like to come work for her firm as a recruiter. Wow…That was a twist I didn’t see coming! A job, but not as an accountant. At that moment, something opened up inside of me, allowing me to answer her with a resounding “yes!”
Little did I realize that I was really saying “yes” to a new path, to freedom, and – for the first time – to my own agenda. And it felt amazing!
As I look back now after almost 3 decades of recruiting, I know these things to be true:
I am a people person, a connector;
I am not a numbers person;
I am a good listener;
and an efficient thinker.
I discovered all of these traits along the way—they were certainly not things that had ever been nurtured in me nor that I ever even knew about myself. By walking my own path, discovering unique gifts given to me and following my own heart, I found my “self” and my true capabilities. Perhaps, most importantly, I also found joy, passion and success—the greatest gifts that come along when you are living up to your true potential.
What I wish is that I had given myself permission to listen to my inner voice much earlier and followed it to find my real capabilities…to allow my own story to emerge, rather than allowing other voices to build a story for me that never felt quite right.
Although I received a nudge from the person who hired me back in ’86, looking back, I realize that I had started to question my goals, direction and future long before that. I knew that what I was doing didn’t make me happy, yet I didn’t know how to allow that feeling to help guide my next steps. Today, when I feel I am at a crossroads, I’ve learned to “summon” my inner voice, and I allow myself to listen for the answers. While it’s not easy, nor do the answers always come quickly, I have found that these 5 practices allow me to focus, listen and ultimately respond in a way that is in my best interest.
Journaling has also become a big part of my life: The act of putting pen to paper causes creative energy to flow and for the truth to emerge. Even if you think you have nothing to say, just start writing. I shoot for 3 pages daily, and I am always amazed what shows up. You can use journaling to reflect on your day or ask yourself provocative questions…it’s a blank canvas for you to open up your mind and allow your thoughts to emerge and become tangible.
When we allow ourselves to follow our own heart, we begin to walk the path that was uniquely meant for us. This path brings with it love, light and knowledge of our true selves. Things feel “right” as we walk it, because we are in sync with ourselves and our surroundings. And it is there that we can really see our true capabilities – and live life to its true potential.
So if you find that you are wondering what you are really capable of, be sure to ask yourself. But don’t stop there: you have to listen for the answer.
Originally published at bestbusinesslife.com