Discover the Themes and Patterns of Your Life
My client was so proud. He’d been asked by his alma mater to give a speech to his old department’s senior class on his career path. He told me he’d been working hard on it all weekend and wanted my review. “Let’s hear it,” I said.
He began by saying he’d graduated more than 20-years ago with his BA in Accounting and Finance from this prestigious university, then went on to become a CPA, and then he did this, and then he did that, and on and on he went. Although his career trajectory was impressive, it sounded like a resume laundry list. “And then… and then… and then… “ If he was not engaging me in the first few minutes of his talk, how in the world is he going to grab the attention of overtired students who often sit in lecture halls like bumps on a log? I called a “time-out.” We needed to come at this from a completely different angle. We needed to find the “story” and meaning behind his career path.
As children, we have dreams of becoming many different things: a veterinarian, a lawyer, a teacher. What did he want to “be” when he grew up? A cop. Right and wrong were very important to him. However, that dream of being a police officer was short-lived. One night, while playing cards with his buddies, there was an unexpected empty seat at the table. One of the guys who served on the city’s law enforcement team hadn’t shown up to play. My client later learned that, although his friend was alive, he had nearly lost his life in a shootout with an armed suspect. That ended that idea. My client was never going to be a cop.
We discussed his childhood, hobbies and interests, and came upon a fascinating, surprising nugget of information. In his spare time, he was an umpire in the national baseball league. An umpire? What? What did he love about that role? It was all about the numbers. Stats never lie. And, just like that, there it was. The beginning of his story.
As we connected the dots of his initial interest in becoming a cop, to an accountant, an umpire, to now, being a forensic accounting expert providing expert witness testimony in corporate fraud investigations, he began to see the patterns and themes of his life. 2 + 2 always equals 4. Right versus wrong. It all made sense. We crafted the story of his career path. Suddenly, it was so easy not only to remember the words he wanted to speak, but also to share and deliver his message in a commanding, compelling, and engaging way. As he practiced it on camera, I could see him light up with excitement at sharing his story. Even more exciting for both of us was watching the playback and doing the real-time video analysis.
A couple of weeks later he reached back out to me; the speech was a huge hit! Many of the students came up to him following his remarks to express how much they enjoyed his presentation. Mission accomplished.
When we step back from our lives and consider what our interests were growing up, where our path turned unexpectedly, whether by choice or by chance, what values we treasure most, or even the people who are in our lives today, there are almost always themes and patterns that emerge. They are like rivers that run through our lives. Connect the dots and you’ll paint a picture. You’ll gain a mosaic of understanding, a leadership philosophy, and yes, a path to guide you to living your best life. It can even help you discover what your next chapter might be!
What would your mosaic look like? What rivers run through your life? I invite you to download this free PDF and begin to discover what your themes and patterns are. You might be surprised at what you discover when you connect the dots.
My grandmother was fond of saying, “no knowledge is ever wasted.” I think she is right. She knew how to connect the dots.
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