We all strive for success.
Success in our work. Success in our lives.
But sometimes we get lost along the way.
We do everything that everyone else expects of us.
We follow the rules. We get good grades. We get into the right school. We follow the recipe for success that is laid out for us by our family, friends, teachers and social media experts.
But sometimes, we still don’t feel fulfilled.
How often have you unplugged from the noisy pace of our 24/7 world and gotten quiet?
When was the last time you listened to you?
Did you know that if you listen long enough, you will hear the answer? The answer to who you are meant to be in this life? The you that brings you joy, success and a sense of freedom that no one can take away from you?
And in that calm and easy listening, is a key that can unlock the you that you are meant to be in this life.
And that key is called, childhood.
I listened to a #TimFerris podcast with the uber-successful designer, #DebbieMillman.
She went through a lot of rejection in her life – a lot. Many of us do.
But it was a drawing she made when she was 8 years old that predicted her future success. She just didn’t know it at the time. She had drawn a picture of Manhattan (where she dreamed to move to from another borough someday), and on one of the trucks in the picture, she had drawn the Lays Potato Chip logo.
After many attempts and rejections as a journalist, she ended up as a product designer. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear her whole story.
Debbie’s story got me thinking.
When I speak around the world (and in my recent TEDx talk), I explain in one of my MISOGI stories about the secret of finding what you are meant to do by going back to your childhood. So when I heard the interview with Debbie, I smiled.
While I did not grow up in an abusive household, I did grow up with my parents splitting while I was in junior high and I did grow up with little money. And, like Debbie, I made up for my self-perceived flaw-filled life with getting involved – in everything. This was my way to soothe myself: I surrounded myself with activities that I loved.
- I made it onto the centerfold of the Village Voice Newspaper, (a picture of me cheerleading), when our football team won the New Jersey State Championships.
- I was a long jumper, hurdler and sprinter.
- I did the vault, beam and floor competition. I was best at the vault.
- I was on the YMCA dive team.
- I made covered cardboard bracelets and yarn dolls, and sold them to the local hippy dippy store to have enough money for notebooks, saddle shoe polish, and snacks.
- I put on plays in my neighborhood and was always the lead. I charged people to come.
- I was in the church choir that traveled up and down the eastern seaboard to perform at other churches.
- I wrote songs, poems and short stories in a small, black hardcovered journal that I still have today. I wrote every address where I have lived on the inside cover. It’s fun to look at my handwriting now.
- Playing Games Outside – Unsupervised
- Hide n’ Go Seek was my favorite.
- I always had a lot of friends, because I invested in those friendships.
Can you guess which of my childhood joys guided me toward what I ended up doing in life?
- I became the biggest cheerleader for my children, especially my disabled son.
- I sang in adult choirs and always sand with my kids. I taught my disabled son to talk through singing.
- I have written four books and am in the middle of launching a series of books called The MISOGI Method, for every topic you can imagine.
- I have a new podcast called The MISOGI Method, where I will be interviewing people from all walks of life in order to explore ways that people can leapfrog their happiness.
- I had a TV show. I worked for a major television network. I was the Assistant Producer on a television series.
- I just did a TEDx talk.
- I speak at conferences, on tv, radio, at events, organizations, and within corporations.
- I create and facilitate workshops that change company culture.
- I have made scrapbooks, cakes, crocheted blankets, Halloween costumes, slideshows, videos and more.
- I ran 14 marathons and qualified for the Boston Marathon.
- I didn’t do much with gymnastics later in life, but I love yoga now.
- Playing Games
- Hide n’ Go Seek helped me to strategize and take calculated risks. You have to plan when you run to a base so that you don’t get tagged. Now, in my corporate strategy work, it’s all about calculated risk. But risk needs to be the driving force of the strategy.
- I still have many close friends (some since I’ve been 5 years old). I still invest in friendship.
- I dive into everything I do now. Well, jump. I don’t believe in headfirst. Just jump.
So, while my intention is not to show you what I have accomplished; it is to show you that there are things that gave you joy as a child, and that influence and shape you as an adult.
If you want the key to finding who you are meant to be, go back to your childhood and remember what brought you joy and happiness and a sense of freedom. And then go for the big reach and follow your bliss!