With women friends hailing from Holland, Nigeria and Somalia
“To be or not to be, that is the question.” ~ William Shakespeare
Remember being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Adults loved asking kids this question. And there were plenty of books on the market to offer growing children ideas for their future.
One of those books sat in our first grade classroom, right beside the teacher’s desk. In it, girls were depicted as future teachers, nurses and secretaries. Boys were featured as carpenters, mailmen and firemen. No book of this genre would leave out the favored options of astronaut or U.S. President.
My generation, and those of others, are well beyond first grade and beyond stereotypes, too. We’ve matured into physical adulthood, obtained degrees of an academic or technical nature and probably occupied at least one profession.
Yet the question remains: Who will we be?
Being v. Doing
I was raised to “be” a lawyer. Like teaching, medicine or engineering, it was a profession that could be depicted in one of those earlier referenced children’s books.
I conjured images of a future me wearing boxy business suits, spending endless hours studying case law and feeling inwardly torn in representing the special interests of one party over another.
I possessed a different streak, one that could represent the best interests of all, the whole rather than a part. I also wanted the option to frame ideas beyond structured, written laws.
So while I applied myself academically, my soul yearned for something more.
In some inescapable fashion, I carried a dream. It stemmed from an early childhood vision as well as an inner desire.
I wanted to “be” a friend to the world!
There was no title, no image, no official profession I could attach to this future. It was a feeling, a purpose, a value that inspired and propelled me forward. This elusive desire prompted me make certain choices in life, starting with marrying a man who would encourage me to grow to my fullest potential. But I’ve made other choices, too, some that felt confounding even to me!
In addition to exiting law school so I could connect with people in a different way, one choice involved stepping away from a lucrative corporate management position. Sounds crazy, I know, especially because women who interrupted their careers years ago were signing a death knell to future corporate growth.
I wanted growth in a different way. After ten years, I recognized some areas of my life were well honed. But other parts of me remained underdeveloped, untested and totally unexplored.
Leaving that corporate job helped me find and nurture some of life’s riches rarely promoted by the world of commerce. As a mostly stay-at-home mom, I grew emotionally and socially doing simple things like cooking, keeping house, entertaining guests and raising a home schooled daughter.
At times, our life choices and unexpected detours can feel like the proverbial “one step forward and two steps back” adage. But if we’re being led by an inner desire to “be,” we can use these slices of time to acquire life lessons. They help build our constitution and our soul.
Along the way, we can even learn how “being” what we don’t want to be can help us choose again — in better ways.
Podcast 138: Who Will You Be?
If we’re ever going to see a happier us, and if we’re ever going to experience a more peaceful, harmonious world, we can benefit by pausing to ask ourselves anew: Who will I be?
In this latest podcast, I explore several definitions that speak further on this topic. I share stories of others I’ve known who have transformed themselves through life and careers, be-coming greater and more evolved versions of themselves. Finally, I address human bondage and trafficking, reflecting upon a young woman from years ago who lacked the momentary option of choosing who she would be.
In all cases, I deliver inspiration and hope to the hearer.
You may be a carpenter, a teacher, a painter or a candlestick maker. But there’s always something more enriching and fulfilling you can be — when living from the inside out!
Click here or on the bar below to enjoy Podcast 138: Who Will You Be?
Maura is an International Speaker on Self Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
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