“Ask me whether what I have done is my life.” — William Stafford, “Ask Me”
This question stands at the heart of what I engage with people and teams on when addressing LifeWork™. LifeWork™ is an internal paradigm shift that orients you to be yourself in all the spheres of your life, enabling you to realize the total good you are meant to do.
I first came across William Stafford’s poem, “Ask Me,” as I considered the shifts I needed to make to align my life for its maximum impact:
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
Parker J. Palmer uses this poem in his book, Let Your Life Speak, to invite people to explore the undercurrents of their life and story. He says that “vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening.”
In my coaching practice, I want to come alongside people and help them listen to theirs lives, and stop fighting with them. Palmer says, “before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.”
As you engage with your work, family, friends, and community, begin to ask yourself:
- What truths do I embody and offer naturally?
- What values and perspective do I see most clearly?
This will help begin the journey of listening to your life, rather than trying to impose a projected will on to yourself and those around you.
Get 3 Quick LifeWork Tips below to begin integrating the spheres of your life for increased influence by being yourself, and discovering your LifeWork™.