The 9 Questions That Unlocked My Purpose and My Gift
I make my living by communicating. My voice is my hammer and ideas are the nails.
They say the thing you were meant to bring to this world is the exact thing people try to beat out of you, and my life followed that adage to the letter. One of the first compliments and one of the first insults I ever received revolved around my voice.
“You speak with such power for a young person, what an amazing gift.”
“The way you talk intimidates people. You are too bossy. You make people feel bad.”
I’ll give you one guess which statement I internalized until adulthood.
For 30 years, I hid my mind for problem solving, my knack for turning a phrase, my ability to bring people together through sharing, and my love for questions under a rock hoping no one would happen upon them. I allowed the idea that my God given talent would eventually chase people away burrow a whole in my heart so deep the excavation took three years. I spent thirty years pretending to love the acceptable life I had created for myself, then the floor fell out from underneath me and I was forced to admit I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.
The only way I could figure out who I was, was to ask myself the big questions and allow only my inner voice to give the answer. After all, I would have to live out the findings of this expedition, so it only made sense that I have sole input. So I began…
What makes me special?
What talents do I bring to this world?
What could I do for the rest of my life and be satisfied?
What fills me with joy?
What steals my joy?
What does love look like to me?
How do I define success?
Where do I place my faith?
Who do I trust?
I followed each with the universal and all important question…why?, which, in most cases, is the tiny word holding back the floodgates.
Each question was a stronghold I needed to pull down, a lie I needed to dismantle, or a curse needing to broken. For three years, I felt my feelings and thought my thoughts completely removed from the fears, hopes, dreams, emotions, and intent of others.. I dared to reawaken my voice. Then, I set about learning to use it.
Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. Learn more about her at about.me.