Lesson 5 – Uncover Your Expression

Find Your True Calling In Life

Lesson 5

Uncover Your True Expression


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 Theory

This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.
~ Joseph Campbell

In the last lesson you uncovered your Mission in life, the “why” and wrote it as your Mission statement. That was the first element of your Calling.

In this lesson, you will address the second element, the “how”. How to bring your Mission statement to life.

Like any true mission (e.g. military, corporate), there are multiple ways to accomplish it. Although the mission itself does not change, how you choose to accomplish it can take on many different forms or Expressions.

I will use the word Expression to characterize the way in which a Mission is accomplished.

The contextual meaning of this word comes from the field of biology where protein expression refers to the way in which proteins are synthesized according to the underlying DNA sequence.

This lesson, therefore, is dedicated to finding the Expression of your Mission in life.

 

Build today for the body of work you want in five years. As you look back at your body of work from this year, imagine multiplying that by five. Would you be happy with that? Is that what you want to have built over the course of the next five years? ~ Chase Reeves

 

Finding Your True Expression

In Lesson 4, I said “… when you know your Mission, then you are not limited to any one type of job or any one activity. You can do anything you want as long as it’s aligned with your Mission.”

Since identifying your Mission, I suspect you have been thinking about the possible ways to accomplish it. For example, comparing your current job or activities against your Mission, somewhat like a filter.

It almost doesn’t matter which Expression you choose in order to accomplish your Mission… but actually, it does! Let me explain.

At any given stage in your life, you have one Calling, not two or three, but one. Yes, there are many ways you can choose to Express your Mission but there is only one true pairing with your Mission in life.

That’s why this course is called Find Your True Calling In Life. The exercises in this lesson will help you find that one Expression.

 

Before We Continue, Let Me Make One Thing Clear…

Finding your one True Expression is a very difficult task and may take a long time to uncover. Don’t be so hard on yourself during the search; be patient and work at it but with a sense of ease. Don’t beat yourself up about uncovering it as soon as possible.

You don’t need to wait to have supreme clarity on your True Expression in order to start living your life according to your Mission statement. In fact, take action as soon as you have identified the best Expression that is in accord with your Mission at this time.

The continual process of working in alignment with your Mission will eventually lead you to your True Expression.

 

How To Find The True Expression Of Your Mission?

The process of identifying your True Expression will require two steps.

  1. identifying or recognizing your True Expression
  2. accepting it or answering the call

You may be thinking that once you identify or recognize your True Expression (step 1), then the hard work will be done. But actually, step 1 is the easier step. Acceptance is the more difficult one.

In fact, step 2 can be so difficult that a certain percentage of you may be stuck at this point for a considerable amount of time.

Your True Expression is that one Expression that you will resist the most. With awareness, you can recognize your True Expression by the amount of difficulty you are experiencing in accepting it.

The exercises in the next section will help you identify your True Expression, i.e. step 1. However, to truly find your Calling in life, you must do the work needed in step 2 (more about this important topic in Lesson 6).

 

My Own Story

I offer you my story in the hope that it will facilitate your own journey.

After I wrote my Mission statement, I was excited and eager to start expressing it as fast as possible. Being a person with many hobbies, I had many options in front of me. However, at that time, I did not yet understand the concept of a True Expression.

So I latched on, without much consideration, to the closest hobby that allowed me to Express my Mission. That hobby was photography.

However, after one year of force-fitting photography into my Mission in life, I became aware that I had chosen the wrong Expression.

It was as if the Universe was telling me to keep moving. Telling me “there something else waiting for you”; to keep working on finding the one True Expression that is the perfect key for my Mission.

For one solid week, I went deep inside and interrogated myself in order to find my one True Expression. It was an intense week of soul searching.

I had done all the work of step 1 (identifying the Expression) but I was stuck in step 2 (accepting it).

One night, at the end of that week, I had a very vivid dream that allowed me to finally accept the reality I was facing, i.e. to accept the call, to accept what I knew was my True Expression but that I was resisting.

So now I know that, if you allow yourself to be guided and not resist, the Universe will show you the one True Expression that is the perfect match with your Mission.

The exercises below are the same ones I did to identify my True Expression.

Today I realize that photography is a hobby and not my True Expression of my Mission.

 

A Few Words About Hobbies

You may be asking yourself “is my hobby related to my True Expression and consequently to my Calling in life?”

A hobby, by definition, is not your True Expression because if it was then it would not be a hobby.

It will be important for you to recognize the difference between a hobby and your True Expression.

So what is a hobby? Here’s a list of characteristics.

A hobby…:

  • is fun and makes you externally happy, even when just thinking about it
  • makes you think “I can do this for the rest of my life”
  • fundamentally, has an element of relaxation
  • at some level, is an escape (you do it to not do something else)
  • although you may not realize it, it has equivalent peers, i.e. there are other hobbies that you could pursue that will accomplish the same objectives of fun, relaxation, escape, etc.
  • If you decide to pursue a hobby as a serious endeavour, e.g. make it into a business, then it starts to lose its appeal. You lose motivation, the fun disappears and it becomes a job. You may even end up hating it.

That being said, your hobby(ies) will likely contain elements that will help you uncover your True Expression.

 

The Road To Your True Expression

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential. ~ Joseph Campbell

The path of a hobby is often well-defined because other people have already been there and cleared a well-groomed path. The path is obvious, there’s no uncertainty about it.

Unlike a hobby, the path to your True Expression is not clear and well-groomed; no one has done it before because it’s your path. It’s your unique Expression of your unique Mission in life. And since no one has been there before, there’s a certain fuzziness about the road to your True Expression.

The quote above from Joseph Campbell captures this insight beautifully. Please read it one more time.

This fuzziness or uncertainty can be a used as a guide. When you let go of logic and rational thinking, you allow yourself to be guided by something bigger. That something bigger is the Universe and realize that, its on your side. So accept the guiding hand, let go of the resistance, be courageous and enter the forest at the darkest point and know that you will be okay.

 

The EGO Is Not A Spectator

If your life was compared to a soccer or football match, then you must realize that your EGO is not in the stadium watching the game but is actually on the field playing the game. In fact, your EGO is the opposing team playing the game against you!

You see, your True Expression is not something you must create from scratch but rather, it’s something that is already within you and must be uncovered. Currently, it’s covered by your EGO.

Your EGO is actively hiding your True Expression from you. It has been doing it for a very long time and it’s not about to let you find it, not without a fight. This is the fight of step 2.

Even when you do find your True Expression and you are actually pondering it, your EGO will convince you that it’s not the right one for you. Be very aware of this.

Your EGO will convince you to refuse to accept it. It will convince you to choose a safe path, a path that others have created. But don’t let yourself be fooled, if a path already exists, then it’s not your path.

There will be many Expressions that will play the role of your True Expression, but they are only proxies, not the real thing. It’s your EGO’s attempt at derailing you from finding your True Expression.

 

What Tactics Can You Expect From Your EGO?

It will use the strategy of rational thinking. Be aware of this. If you have been practicing the exercises in Lesson 1 then you will have an easier time recognizing your EGO’s tactics.

While rational thinking is king in the external hobby world, it has no power in helping you identify your True Expression inside this fuzzy world of finding your Calling.

What do I mean by rational thinking? “I’m not qualified to…”, “what will other people think…?” “I can’t allow myself to do that…”, etc.

As you work through the exercises below and ponder the implications of what you write, you will need to learn to let go of rational thinking and become comfortable with fuzziness and uncertainty until you find your True Calling.

It takes courage! Courage is the process of making a decision or taking action even though it goes against your rational belief system. So why do it? Because you are awakening to a new understanding.

You must let go of the attachments you have created all your life to artificial beliefs of who you think you are and are not.

 

How To Recognize Your True Expression?

Since you EGO is playing the game against you and using “logic” to derail you from your True Calling, you may have already found your True Expression but not realize it.

In order to help you, here are some characteristics of a True Expression.

Your True Expression…:

  • is not inherently fun nor something you do to relax
  • is not comfortable
  • requires you to do challenging work
  • creates fear in you
  • pushes you beyond your comfort zone and requires courage
  • makes you question your priorities
  • makes you question your identity (who you think you are)
  • nags you until you take action towards it
  • makes you do non-rational things (as viewed by others)
  • causes your family and friends to question you (sometimes very strongly)
  • is, at a fundamental level, a unique aspect of who you are
  • causes you to reject it, at first
  • creates great satisfaction, joy, meaning, purposefulness and inner peace

You don’t pursue your Calling in life because it makes you externally happy, you do it because you want to express it and in a strange way, to get it out of you.

You do it because you cannot not do it. It’s a force that’s always present and consistently pulling you. It’s the Universe guiding you. Some choose to be guided while most choose to ignore the guiding hand.

The simplest way to explain it is that your Calling in life is…: a calling.

Your Calling in life is not what you think is the right call. It’s not up to you to pick and choose a Calling. The call has already been placed; it has already been assigned to you. You only need to become aware of it and answer the call. And then, start taking action towards it.

 

The Myth Of Comfort

People make the mistake of believing that comfort is something to aim for, something that will bring happiness. It’s not!

Comfort is the enemy of greatness. Comfort is equivalent to stagnation.

The opposite of comfort is not discomfort but rather it’s doing challenging work.

Comfort and work are mutually exclusive. Challenging work is related to accomplishment and a sense of meaning and purpose. Comfort, therefore, is the enemy of challenge and work.

Your life’s Calling is not related to comfort but instead to work that will challenge you.

There’s also another relationship that I want to bring to your attention. Comfort is also related to external happiness. Don’t confuse external happiness with inner joy. Happiness is not the Holy Grail people think it is. Happiness is an artificial construct of external attachments created by EGO. Chasing happiness is not worth it.

If you chase after external Happiness, it will lead you to its twin brother Misery. You see happiness and misery are different faces of the same coin. They are two sides of the same door.

Accepting your Calling in life and doing the challenging work required to bring your Calling to life has the potential to bring you unlimited joy and a sense of meaning and purpose to your life.

You have access to it. It’s actually your Calling in life! It’s what you are supposed to be doing.

 

Accepting Your True Expression Is A Choice

So in the end, accepting to take action towards your Calling in life is a choice. As silly as it may sound, your Calling is like a telephone that is ringing. You must decide to either answer the call or ignore it. This is a very important topic that I will dedicate Lesson 6 to.

 

What To Expect?

When you finally uncover the True Expression of your Mission in life, it will feel like meeting an old and dear friend. The fuzziness and uncertainty will disappear.

Your EGO will have lost the game. Your judgment about your Calling will disappear.

You will realize that the friend has always been present with you because that friend is you. It’s very liberating.

Once you accept your True Calling, you will have great clarity. All other projects in your life will lose some level of importance. Your priority in life will be clear and the Universe will be ever more present in guiding you (pay attention to it).


Practice

At some level, you already know your True Calling in life but that information has been hidden from you by your EGO. Your EGO has convinced you that it’s not possible or that it’s not practical.

The questions below will help you uncover it by challenging your EGO.

I’m here to make you realize that it’s not only possible but it’s who you are meant to be.

 

Exercise 5.1 – The 10 Billion Dollar Question – Part I

Imagine that you have 10 billion dollars. Not 1 million, not 10 million, not 100 million, not even 1 billion but an unreasonable 10 billion dollars.

You have no stress or anxiety about your financial situation for the rest of your life. Anything you want, you can have.

What do you do? Describe in detail everything you would buy and do with your money. Really put yourself into this character. There’s no right or wrong answer so have fun with this.

I want you to think big! For example, buy an island in the Mediterranean, buy a Castle in France, etc. Go ahead and do those things, you have 10 billion dollars!

 

Exercise 5.2 – The 10 Billion Dollar Question – Part II

Assume you live the 10-billion-dollar lifestyle for 2 – 5 years. You buy and do everything you described in exercise 5.1.

Now what? What do you do? What do you do with your free time?

The purpose of these two exercises is to get you past the trivial “wants” that we all wish for and get you into the realm of “must do”.

 

Exercise 5.3 – What Is Your Unique Talent(s)?

What is your unique talent? This is not an easy question to answer for most people because you need to step away from yourself and see “you” from a distance. Take the time to think about this one. What you may consider “the obvious” answer may not be the real answer.

Don’t confuse a hobby with your unique talent. I’m not saying your hobby is not your talent but you need great awareness and honesty about why you do a certain hobby. Is it something you are attracted to because it’s an escape from something else?

It’s very likely that clues to the real answer are hidden within your hobby(ies). So dig deep and understand why you do your hobby.

Ask yourself: what can I do better than anyone else?

You can also ask a close friend, someone who knows you very well.

 

Exercise 5.4 – The Intersection

Answer the following three questions and then find the intersection. You may be able to find multiple perspectives of the intersection, that’s fine, write them all down. You will be able to filter them with exercise 5.5.

1) In your opinion, what does the world need or what change do you deeply want to see in the world? What gets you frustrated in this world? Reframe it in the positive (moving towards not moving away from).

2) What do you love to do (see answer from exercise 5.2)?

3) What is your unique talent or what can you do better than anyone else or what can you become great at (glean answer from exercise 5.3)?

The Intersection

My Own Answers

I’m including my personal answers in order to give you some reference.

1. What does the world need? In my opinion, the world needs self-development and spirituality.

2. What do I love? Since I can remember, I have always loved i) absorbing wisdom and ii) creating

3. What can I be great at? Ability to create a rational and coherent understanding and present my unique perspective to the world.

The intersection: to use the wisdom I have accumulated to create a coherent understanding of self-development and spirituality and teach this unique perspective to the world.

 

Exercise 5.5 – The Moon Shot

What work that you do today will still have an impact in 100 years from now?

This is a simple but powerful question that will help you filter potential Expressions and leave you with your True Expression.

 

My Own Answer

Attempting to answer this question allowed me to quickly eliminate some of short-list contenders. For example, I was able to eliminate photography as my True Expression because I could not foresee how, in conjunction with my answers to the intersection questions, it would still have an impact in 100 years.

 

When we experience panic, it means that we’re about to cross a threshold. We’re poised on the doorstep of a higher plane. ~ Steven Pressfield

 

Exercise 5.6 – What Is Your True Expression

Based on your answers to the previous questions, and on your Mission statement, what is your True Expression?

Expect to spend days, weeks, months and maybe even, in some cases, years on this question. It will depend on how well you play against your EGO.

 

My Own Answer

What is my True Expression? It’s to create my own understanding, framework and method for teaching self-development and spirituality. The result is this website, EGO Hacking. My True Expression is in complete accord with my Mission statement. (The vehicle of delivery, so far, is writing this website but it could also be video, audio, books or visual.)

 


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7 thoughts on “Lesson 5 – Uncover Your Expression

  1. Under ‘My Own Story’ correct “OnE night”

    Under ‘Your EGO is Not a Spectator’ correct “Your EGO is actively hidDing your True Expression from you.

    Under ‘How To Recognize Your True Expression?’ Correct “you may have already fOUnd your True Expression but not realize it.”

    Under ‘What to expect?’ Correct “All other projects in your life will lose some level OF importance”

    1. Yes, absolutely! Although not for all of them.

      I can’t help wondering what your true expression ended up being if it wasn’t photography?

      I feel a bit confused and stuck. Or maybe it’s just resistance. Is it possible that it is simply ‘writing’, or does it have to be. Or does it have to be specific or contextualised than that?

      1. Okay, I added my own answers to some of the questions. You can read about my True Expression in Exercise 5.7

        Janine, being stuck is perfectly normal. You can expect this confusion to last for some time as you do the work to figure it out.

        In my case, it took me over 1 year to realize that photography was not my True Expression and then 1 week of deep inner work to figure it out for myself. But once I found and accepted my True Expression, hence my Calling, all the confusion disappeared and I intuitively knew that it was the right Expression for me because it felt like I had found myself, it’s what I *had* to do after spending the 10 billion dollars.

        At this stage, it becomes more difficult for me to help you in the comments section, because the work needed to be done is deeply personalize. You are dealing with your EGO, i.e. with who you think you are. The labels and categorizes you have created will have to be examined for validity. This is difficult work but the rewards are so worth it!

        Keep working and pushing Janine. Write about it in your journal in order to help you clarify. Revisit the theory section of this lesson because there are important ideas and concepts in there that will help you. Use the exercises as filters…

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