Most people think they are engaged in their lives, because they are busy, active, and doing something. You may be pursuing your goals and keeping yourself moving every moment, but are you really engaged? Our research shows that true engagement, the kind that leads to fulfillment in every area of your life, is guided by your deeper yearning.
More In Touch With Your Wants Than Your Yearnings
The problem is we’re not accustomed to talking about our yearning let alone identifying it. The word yearning may seem too touchy-feely or old fashioned to us. In our career goals, we know what we want to achieve, but we may be uncomfortable relating our goals to a deeper yearning. Even in our personal life, we may be uncomfortable orienting to our yearning, because we are so accustomed to talking, instead, about all the things we want–the next iPad, a promotion, a vacation, a new car.
Real engagement means having the courage to identify the deeper yearning beneath our goals and activities and then orienting our engagement from there. So what is this yearning and how do we identify it?
The “So That” Test
One great way to find out what you yearn for is to give yourself the “so that” test. Let’s say you’ve got a goal to run a marathon. Say to yourself, “I want to run the marathon so that….” and fill in the blank. Maybe you respond that you want to run the marathon so that you’ll be in better shape. Give it another “so that.” Well, if I’m in shape then I’ll have more energy, be more attractive, and maybe attract a relationship in my life. Give it another “so that.” Well, if I do all of those things then I will feel like I matter and am loved.
Great! You’ve hit the jackpot. Underneath my marathon goal, I yearn to matter and to be loved. Terrific – go ahead and run the marathon but don’t wait for that moment to meet your yearnings to matter and be loved. You can start meeting those yearnings immediately, before you even dust off your shoes simply by calling a friend or offering support to a co-worker.
Apply It In Your Career
You can apply it immediately in your career. Let’s say you’ve been frustrated at work, because things are taking a direction that you think is problematic for the company. You haven’t been willing to speak up. You’re afraid of being fired. You’re afraid of people not liking you. But if you stay oriented to your yearning to matter – to make a difference, it gives you more fuel. Because you’re in touch with your yearning to matter, you choose to take a bit more of a risk to have your opinions to be known. Yes, people may not agree with you, but you are more fueled because you are acting more in integrity with who you really are, with your deeper yearning.
This week, try out the “so that” test. See if you can pick a goal or activity and keep giving yourself the “so that” test until you identify the yearning beneath. Here are some of the common universal yearnings beneath a lot of what we do: We yearn to matter, to exist, to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to learn, to grow, to create, to love, to be loved, to connect, to make a difference. See if you can take what you want and identify one of those deeper yearnings underneath. Notice how, just identifying your deeper yearning-and engaging in ways that meet it-can shift your day.
Be prepared to be delighted by the progress you make in your life project!
Wishing you a spectacular week,
Bob and Judith Wright
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Guest Authors Dr. Bob Wright and Dr. Judith Wright
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No matter what your life looks like or what you want it to look like, the Wright’s will help you develop a vision and live your dreams. Find more at their website Wrightliving.
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