For as long as we have wandered this planet we have asked ourselves “What is the meaning of life?” I will share a few observations and reflections from my life as a transformational coach, manager, father of three amazing daughters, husband, friend and as one of over 7 billion human beings on the face of the Earth. Here we go.
Most people I meet want to have a job they like. But when we together scratch the surface a little, that is usually not enough for the vast majority. People don’t want a job they like. They want a job they LOVE! And that is fair. We all should have jobs we love. Because it makes our precious time truly meaningful. Agree?
Most people I meet want colleagues they like. And again. Surprisingly often, that is not sufficient. Either. Most people actually wish for colleagues they LOVE. Yet, it is hard for most of us to state that, since we have a created a norm that restricts love for family, and maybe a really close friend or two. But still. What people say between the lines is that they would like colleagues they LOVE. Because that makes us come alive at work.
That most people wants friends and family they love does not need saying.
So how do we get there? To a job we LOVE, with colleagues we LOVE, and friends and family we LOVE. Is it even possible?
I don’t have all the answers, so before I give my view on the matter, please STOP right here and reflect. How do we get there? To LOVE. Is it even possible?
One thing is certain and has become increasingly obvious to me during my years as manager, as coach, as transformational leader developer, as a vertical development pioneer. It all starts on the inside. Of ourselves.
Even if most people I meet do not clearly state it, it is evident. We all share a longing to LOVE ourselves. And to be loved. This is the real quest in life, isn’t it. To LOVE oneself. But that’s where it starts. It has been true for me and for all of those I have shared a transforming journey with. The way to be loved, to have colleagues you love and to have a work you love is to start loving yourself.
So… you might think. That’s an easy thing to say, and hard thing to do. And yes, I agree. But there are ways, with scientific evidence, to get there.
My passion is human growth. expansion of consciousness, to be more specific. And I use a vertical lens to facilitate that growth. In myself and with others. In a vertically transforming journey we develop in many ways. We transform in many ways. And a key aspect of those shifts and transformations is that we enhance the capacity to LOVE. Ourselves and the ones around us. That is why I LOVE my work. To help people to grow LOVE is a blessing and a gift.
But how does it work, you might ask… I’ll try to share my perspectives and experiences.
A vertically transforming journey can be (extremely) simplified into four domains.
Start to live in presence.
Most of us live without being fully present to ourselves, or to what is really going on around us. Missing out on the beauty of life. And missing out in a lot in input that we can use to navigate reality. When we start to increase our present centered awareness, really paying attention to our interior selves, we start to utilize more of the magnificent sensing instrument we all have. The body. The mind. Our heart. Our spirit, or energy. This is a key for listening deeper to yourself, as required in the rest of this article.
If you have a hard time being present - mindfulness and meditation is excellent practice to help you choose what to focus your attention on.
Start listening for your gifts..
Start to listen to your inner values and drivers, to your aspirations, to what is dearly important to you in life. Dare to ask yourself – what gift is mine to give right now, and to receive? And listen for how to give those. And recieve. In every little action. Every day. A thousand micro shifts will create a huge difference when “the fat lady sings”.
Listening for your gifts and your inner values and aspirations will set a foundation for you to act and choose from. Like a guiding star, inside. This will enhance your self-coherence, strengthen your sense of self, and grow your ability to LOVE yourself and what you do.
Dare to meet your Self
In a vertical journey, you WILL meet your inner shadows and figures. A shadow, simply explained, is a psycho-emotional reaction pattern, or a hidden belief or construct that you unconsciously hold. Something that you do, react to, or believe that you are not consciously aware of.. Sometimes it is your previous psychological states, your inner figures, messing with you. Hijacking your emotions, actions and responses. Sometimes it is patterns shaped in your life journey. And sometimes it is inherited, or cultural norm that you carry. In a vertical transformation unsettled shadow and earlier stages will hold you back from development. So, you will need to face them, and meet them when they show up, how they have helped you. You can then be grateful for them being there. Having served you to become who you are. And you can start to set them free from hijacking you. And convert them to allies, informing you of their opinions and insights, but letting YOU make the choice of action. And when you do, you can actually begin to like them, or even LOVE them. And they will transform. Into figures that will help you rise to who you are here to be.
And the best part – when you get to know yourself this way, you grow the capability to LOVE yourself.
Convert inner insight and wisdom into outer being. It starts on the inside, and it manifests in the outer world. In acting, being, talking, listening, caring… So, when you start meeting your Self in the above ways, ask yourself what questions that would be valuable for you to hold. To widen your awareness.
E.g. holding the question “What if i stop fighting…?” will direct your attention to other ways of being in dialogue or relations. And there is immense power in attention.
The question “What if I stop valuing myself for what I accomplish…?” will direct your attention to how you give yourself love and appreciation, and new ways will emerge.
So, along the way, find the questions that are important for you to hold. And hold them. In a way that make them be present to you every day. In this process, new awareness will emerge.
And that is it.
All my gathered experience summarized in a short sentence.
The meaning most of us search in life.
To spread LOVE.
Has always been, will always be. So, for your own sake, maybe begin holding the question to yourself: “What would love do?”