Finding Your Golden Thread to Reconnect the Disconnect
Ever had that moment where you’ve got so much to say – but you just can’t find the right words?
It’s a sensation that’s not simply related to articulation or word mastery – it feels deeper. A feeling of there being something key embedded within you, but it’s stuck, you just can’t quite dislodge it to allow it to surface.
I used to think this sensation was simply a lack of focus.
I, like many of you reading this article, have a busy mind and a busy life. I read a few books at any one time. I have a few projects on the go at any one time. I’m constantly spotting opportunities or having new ideas.
So… when someone asks me ‘what do you do?’ – I always have the same soul freezing dilemma. I DO a lot of things. I AM a lot of things. So - what do I say…?
I’m a strategic marketer - I plan strategic marketing campaigns and help people and organisations market their businesses effectively. I run my own digital agency – so I understand the nuances of this hyperconnected digital landscape we operate in – and how to serve clients in a way that has kept the doors of our business open for 16 years. I’m a digital coach – I train people to understand how to practically connect and communicate via digital and social technologies to better engage with audiences. I manage people – inspiring my direct team and the extended project teams I bring on board to deliver successful outcomes. I’m a mother of two teenage girls – so I’m care giver, hug giver, chef, taxi driver, life coach, time management pro and fair disciplinarian. I’m a mentor – guiding excellent minds in how to realise their potential and be the best that they can be. I’m a business coach – I share insights from the 25 years of client work and from running my own business and successfully helping other businesses to succeed. I’m a great friend – whether in life or business (let’s face it for many of us the two are inextricably linked) loyalty is imprinted throughout my every cell. I’m a wife – and enjoy and manage all that comes with the flotsam and jetsam of marriage. I’m a shortlisted writer – I love business books and I write them too - sharing practical insights and teaching. I’m a problem solver – always have been, I constantly seek and see solutions – to me nothing is insurmountable. I’m a radical optimist – goes without saying ;). I’m a woman – still learning to embrace the highs and lows of hormones. I’m an entrepreneur – starting new ventures and driving initiatives. I’m a yoga teacher – and share tools that have kept me sane, centred and well with others. I’m an action taker – I get things done. Throughout my career and life I’ve been the safe pair of hands that makes things happen.
As you have just experienced, as a ’60 seconds intro’ or ‘tag line’ – all that just rolls of the tongue – right? Hmmm.
This isn’t self-promotion. I don’t share this to shout from the hilltops about just how amazing I think all that we do as humans actually is (which, when one steps back – we have to asks ourselves what the hell is wrong with a little bit of self-amazement at just how fracking ;) awesome we are and how much we actually do – but hey, no one likes a show-off – right?). And yes, as a marketer, trained within an inch of my life in all aspects of communication - I fully understand there are a lot of ‘I’s in this piece.
But there’s a method to this communication madness.
Commenters - I’m not trying to be a martyr or a show-off or a philosopher – I’m actually showcasing just how challenging it can be, even as a trained communicator, to figure out how to clearly articulate an answer to the seemingly simple question… ‘so what do you do?’ – or the equally deeper one of ‘so what do you REALLY do’ – ‘what do you REALLY want to do or say?
I am fully aware I am not alone in this dilemma. As a fellow human, if you too wrote out exactly what you do – then it’s likely to look similarly diverse and verbose. There will be so many things that are pretty incredible about you and the work you do. Passions, loves, skills, quirks, life scenarios, business, businesses, projects, initiatives, communities, management, inspiring, empowering etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. All components of your story. Yet often sat on, suppressed, unmentioned, not discussed, lost and at worst, forgotten.
So, this leads me to the mighty F word
FOCUS. And, is answering the ‘what do you do?’ question, simply a case of homing in on one thing and deciding exactly what to focus on? A case of choosing and then decoding all that we are and do so that one can articulate the answer to the question ‘what do you do?’ – clearly, succinctly and in a compelling way. After all – on a practical level, we know that people’s attentions spans are short, (indeed, I may have already lost you with this lengthy tome – so if you’re still here – thank you for your attention).
In some cases, the answer will be a simple yes. We choose an area of expertise, or a solution to our audiences’ needs – or a message that we’ve been told will resonate with audiences or is the latest ‘personal development speak’ - and we focus – our message and how we are of service. Job done.
However, from my own experience, whilst focus is a mighty important aspect – alone, it’s not been enough.
Remember, that ‘stuck feeling’ I started with at the beginning of this piece? That feeling of not quite being able to articulate to ourselves, never mind anyone else, quite what we really do. We feel something’s embedded within but we just can’t quite get it out there. Well even when doing the work and selecting an avenue to focus on, this has remained a challenge for me.
To articulate how the challenge manifests, let me use the analogy of weaving a tapestry.
We start with a big pile of possibility. It’s messy. There’s no structure, just a heap of raw material made up of all we are, our values and beliefs, what energises us and what doesn’t and all that we do.
We’re trying to get from raw material to creative or communicative endeavour. From mess to clarity in a way that feels congruent.
What I’ve tried to do many times – is leap directly into creation. Eager to do and eager to share my story and artistry with the world.
You too may have done a lot of work on working through your raw material – and like me you may even have decided upon an area of focus… but – even though there’s focus, there’s still that feeling that you’re not quite aligned. There’s a feeling of unrest – a sense of disconnection.
At this point, or perhaps sooner, we reach outside of ourselves. And within arm’s reach -thanks to networks, both physical and digital, there are a lot of options to explore. Perhaps it’s a skill we don’t have, perhaps there’s something lacking, we need to learn more, get more support, talk it out. Perhaps it’s self-doubt that gets louder. We start to compare ourselves to others, we ask the questions; are we good enough, can we do this, are we truly equipped – our once confident self is shaken – after all, perhaps we’re just believing our own hype [and a bag of chips] – (thank you @JaniceKaffer for a statement that will forever make me smile).
We start to, sometimes frantically, add more to our pile of raw material. Which is not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing – it’s just a reality of life’s rich tapestry.
I’ve done lots of reaching outside. I’ve ricocheted from one source of wisdom to another. Over the years I’ve questioned, I’ve played, I’ve listened, I’ve watched, I’ve tested, I’ve learned. And, I’ve most certainly added to the pile of raw material.
What’s fundamental to weaving a tapestry however, is of course, some thread.
Where to find the thread? Well, thankfully, at the source of who we really are, we have this pile of raw material from which to twist and work the fibres of our very essence to transform into the necessary resource from which we can articulate and create, not only with clarity but with true connection to self.
When I talk about what I do – I often cite; clarity, strategy, implementation - ‘finding your golden thread’ – ‘knowing what to do with your golden thread and then ‘going out and creating with your golden thread’.
This analogy stretches beyond communication. It’s predominantly uncovering the golden thread of who we truly are.
From my experience – and the big lesson I have learnt (which has been a big breakthrough for me personally), is that, regardless of how much ‘raw material’ one creates, and regardless of the ability to reach outside and hone and focus – that deep feeling of stuckness and disconnection remains.
What you THINK you do – may be very different from what you actually do.
What you say about yourself, may be very different from what those you impact say about you.
What you’ve trained and invested in, that art you’ve practised for years, may be the very thing you need to let go of.
What truly fills your soul may have changed – or perhaps never have been identified.
My belief is that the only time you get rid of that ‘stuck’ feeling is when you truly find your golden thread. And not only find it, but connect with it and believe in it in a way that enables it to rise to the surface so that the whole world can connect with it and believe it too.
Some talk about ‘standing in your power’, some talk about ‘doing the inner work’, in yoga we talk about ‘unleashing the truth of who you really are’. However, it’s positioned, it all adds up to the same essence. It’s reconnecting the disconnect.
In keeping with my analogy, we’re weaving a path to our tapestry of truth.
So, I’ll leave you with the not so simple question… ‘What do you do?’
Michelle Carvill - Marketer. Author. Social Soul.