“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you’re like me, when asked, you begin to feel uncomfortable as you bumble through an answer.
Why do so many of us struggle to answer this question? At first it seems so simple, but below the surface the answer is a complex web. The first reaction is to reply with a job title, but that doesn’t seem right. There’s so much more to each of us than a title. So how do we answer?
In the depths of lockdown in 2020, I felt lost.
I started what I thought was my dream job, but when it didn’t bring the fulfilment I thought it promised, I experienced what felt like a mid-life crisis at 23.
Why was I doing what I was doing?
The money? The status? The joy? It didn’t feel right.
I felt confused but with no idea where to turn for answers.
Fortunately, serendipity caused me to find a coach who guided me through a process to find my “why”.
To empower aspirational changemakers to find their zest.
The experience was so transformational I now have a calling to share it with others. Rudder is a syllabus for self-knowledge, born from that journey.
What is self-knowledge?
It’s not to be confused with self-help, which strives to inform you on how to become ‘better’. It is closer to self-discovery, without the hippie connotations of counter-culture.
Self-knowledge is the knowledge of why. Simon Sinek has been a poster boy of the genre, however even he has failed to provide a process that leads to clarity. His book “Find Your Why” is a perfect example.
It makes the assumption that we know ourselves so well that by completing a few exercises we’ll be able to craft a meaningful purpose statement. However, without deep self-knowledge, this is like trying to complete a 1000 piece puzzle with only a slither of the total picture available to guide you.
The result is an incomplete picture and a lack of clarity on the big answers you seek.
This is why people struggle to answer what they want to be when they grow up.
They don’t have enough puzzle pieces in place.
However, it’s not anyone’s fault. We are rarely taught to dig deep, to self-reflect or practice self-discovery. We get told we are unique, yet never taught ‘how so?’ What are my unique ‘pieces’? There’s no education syllabus that focuses on the internal, on who we are and who we want to be.
Formal education focuses on the external. The knowledge required for a job. It provides us with generic ‘pieces’.
This is fine until it isn’t anymore. A reason for a mid-life crisis is when you no longer identify with your puzzle. You feel ill-defined, lost and confused with who you are.
In her own search for answers Pa from ByPapini described Rudder as “a signpost in a dark forest”. However, the arrow doesn't state ‘Go This Way’, rather it’s a number of arrows saying “This way for your authentic self”, “This way for your values” and “This way for your personal monopoly”. It provides directions to find puzzle pieces where there were previously none.
It’s never too late to begin defining your puzzle. There’s no need to fear that too many of your pieces are already in place. These pieces represent your story to date. However, you’re the creator, you can reorganise them so they hold a different meaning. To choose to interpret them in a different way. Or even take them out and paint over them if you want a new beginning.
Rudder strives to turn the practice of trying to blindly put pieces together into a structured process, where you create your own masterpiece.
What does your puzzle look like?
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