I was recently talking with my brother about the idea of skill versus will.  As a restaurant manager, he was sharing how he’d much rather hire someone with will, whose skill set was trainable, versus someone with endless skills, but no will.  The idea being that with will comes desire.  We were recognizing that will appears to come from an internal driving force of who we feel ourselves to be.

I believe that if you feel called to fulfill a deeper purpose in life that you are born with the tools you need to achieve it.  Or, you will have the experiences needed to sculpt your life towards gathering those tools.  Certainly, these tools may need refining, reshaping, and/or enhancement, but the ability, plus the will to obtain them, already resides within you. It’s truly a beautiful way to look on life and to look at others.  If we are all here to fulfill a purpose intended to better ourselves, each other, and the planet, it’s harder to hold judgment.

I believe innate skills are those that come naturally to us; we often don’t see them as talents. We likely ask the questions, ‘Doesn’t everybody…?” i.e. “Doesn’t everybody strike up conversations with the person behind them in line?  Doesn’t everybody look on dogs as though they hold the spirit of life?  Doesn’t everybody draw to express themselves?  Doesn’t everybody whip up a delicious meal with whatever is in their cabinets?  Doesn’t everybody feel confident to put together mechanical equipment?  Innate skills and/or tools can serve as pointers to discovering our purpose, and they are needed to honor it.

These thoughts beg the question, where does will originate to want to invest in, learn, and succeed at something? When I was a year out of massage school I suffered a neurological accident and lost use of my right arm for ten months.  During that time, a friend mentioned needing a dog walker. Not having the resources to pay for one, I volunteered for the job.  This is how my dog walking company was started.  Having just started out in my studied field, there is no way I would have left to start a dog walking company, but I was supposed to.  In order to stay on the path of my purpose a universal course correction, as I call it, was needed.

I’m always mesmerized when I watch someone who is in their element, fulfilling their purpose.  They generate a deep, connected passion that comes from having both will and skill.  A phenomenal athlete, a soulful musician, a spirited chef, an amazing interviewer, an effortless glass blower, a magical painter…awe inspiring!

Let us also distinguish between will and ego; wanting to do something (will) versus needing to do something (ego).  When we’re insistent on accomplishing something because we want acceptance, or validation, that is a need, and that is ego.  I think of ego as ‘from the mind,’ not from the inner knowing.  When we are lacking, and feel a title could help us to finally belong, or we want to prove to ourselves, or others, that we can, that we measure up; these efforts all come from a place of wanting to preserve love, safety, and belonging. 

I believe that love, safety, and belonging are all crucial to our thriving on this planet and are our main motivators for the actions we take or don’t take.  I’ll be discussing this idea more in the weeks to come.  For now, reflect on a reaction that you recently had. Were your actions geared toward keeping love, safety, or belonging in tact?  Dig deep.

I was listening to an interview of Sister Simone Campbell on the radio show, ‘On Being.’ It was hosted by Krista Tippett (June 11, 2015 recording.)  Sister Simone described her life as, “A contemplative life of the walking willing.”  I absolutely love this!  She expressed that there needs to be willingness and an openness to life in order to be guided by that inner knowing. 

We all have that inner knowing.  Over the next week I invite you to listen for yours and consider following it!  Consider something small, like whether you want to relax with a book or go for a walk.  The more you listen, the louder and more clearly it will present itself to you.  This inner knowing holds your will, your purpose, and your passion for life. 

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