It may not be what you think. It’s not:
- The profession you will pursue
- Who or if you will marry or commit
- Whether or not you will have children
- Where you want to live
- The lifestyle you will choose
Make no mistake. These questions matter, big time. But they are the architecture of your life, not the foundation. The foundation is what sustains you as you make these choices and pursue the paths that follow.
The foundation is rooted in this fundamental question: “How do I want to be as I go through this life?”
It’s a question that has nothing to do with the architecture and everything to do with:
- how you experience yourself
- how others experience you
- how you respond to the surprises, wins, losses, disappointments, betrayals, reroutes, and reboots that are an inevitable part of the journey.
How will you be in this life?
It’s the question I challenge myself with in my life’s “big” moments, but mostly, and most-tellingly, in the small ones that make up the fabric of my days. I know how I want to be: aware, perceptive, compassionate, kind, open, generous in all respects, fair, non-judgmental. I want to quell whatever “nastiness” may simmer within, to hit pause, and to choose a better response, the one that reflects who I want to be.
It’s going pretty well, because that’s what happens when you become clear and intentional. But there is still room for improvement. There will always be room for improvement. Why do I, and why might you trouble yourself with this seemingly-esoteric question anyway? Here’s why:
The most intimate relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. “Divorce” simply isn’t an option. How you choose to be in every moment, with every person, and in every situation, is the experience you create in the world and, undeniably, the experience you create for yourself.
Like it or not, the world acts as a mirror on your being: Ouch, yuck, dang. Wish I could take that back. And at other times: Cool! Yeah, it’s all good. Who knew?
If there is one question that you embrace with your whole heart and with full-throttle accountability, consider this one: “How will I be?” Make a decision, then start acting from that place. That’s how you will discover, “meet up with,” your peace, your contentment, and your best, authentic expression of who you are.
I don’t have much control over “what happens to me,” but I reign supreme over how I respond. And when I respond in a way that is true and right, as in, aligned with who I want to be, I find my happy place.