Finding Your Umbrella
It may be that you already feel clear on what it is you do, in a wider sense. For most of us, though, it can be hard to find the common, uniting theme for all the different parts of our lives. If this is true for you, here are some ways to start discovering the common thread that weaves through all of your work.
1. If you teach yoga (as many of you do), think about you favorite class themes, topics, or tone. Write these down. If you don’t use themes in your class (as I don’t), then think about what it is you speak to most of all. Is it compassion? Self-awareness? Alignment? Authenticity? Whatever comes to mind, jot it down.
2. This next step is for everyone, whether or not you teach yoga. Think about what conversation topics get you excited, happy, inspired. Jot these down. What do you most love talking about?
3. Last, write a list of everything you do in your life THAT YOU LOVE. Please note the emphasis! This exercise is all about finding the over-arcing theme that most defines you at this point of your life.
This list hopefully includes what you do for work, but be sure to include other things you love as well: hobbies, parenting,things you do for love that may or may not support you financially in the future. Truly, list anything you do that you love.
4. Now look at all your lists. Look for connections, for themes that stand out, common threads between everything. Write these down. Maybe it’s a full sentence, such as “I love to start projects and talk about big ideas.” Maybe it’s a single word, such as “Friendship.” Write as many as you like.
5. Once you have these written down, step away for a while. Let it percolate.
6. When you come back to it, look again with fresh eyes to see whether anything else jumps out at you.
7. Now – and this part is key – rephrase your themes in ways that indicate not just what it is you love, or what it is you care about, but also how that contributes to the overall good in the world. For example, if one of your common themes is “I love to start projects and talk about big ideas,” you might rephrase it to say, ” What I do is inspire people to become the leaders / creators / innovators they already are.”
A sentence like that gives you a whole new way to look at your life’s work. It allows you to write materials that explain what you do in a way that people will understand, even if they don’t know the details. It helps tell you what to leave in your marketing materials and what to take out.
For feedback or suggestions on your own theme, leave a comment below.