The Courage to Desire

How to Navigate Your Life's Work and Legacy

Uncover your innermost desires with courage. Embark on the challenging yet rewarding journey to understanding what you truly want.
Harvey Ramer
Harvey Ramer
3 min read (729 words) Subscribe Now!

It seems the crucial things in life are simple, yet arduous. Understanding what we want from life is no exception. On the surface, the question, “What do you want?” appears simple. Ask any child, and they will have a ready answer: ice cream or candy. However, as adults, we harbor deeper desires that are often challenging to express, with our fear of failure and rejection guarding the pathway to an honest answer.

What possibly holds us back from thinking honestly about what we want is not just the fear of failure or criticism from others, but also an intuitive understanding that creating a meaningful life can be demanding. As a result, we often choose the easy path: blending in, doing what we’re told, leaving our intrinsic calling unanswered.

Many of us delay the pursuit of our calling until the pain of avoiding it outweighs the struggle of embracing it. But the truth is, we are closer to our calling than we realize. Responding to our calling begins with a desire for more, an openness to ask what we want, and the bravery to step out of our comfort zone with calculated risks.

“Our lives improve only when we take chances - and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
Walter Inglis Anderson

What Change Do You Want to Make?

Imagine being alone in a quiet place. Your thoughts drift toward something important to you, your heartbeat quickens. You find yourself thinking, “If only things were different. Someone should do something!” What past, present, or future circumstance stirs your soul?

Every joyous day you’ve spent with loved ones and every hurt you’ve ever endured is a gift. Your joy can elevate others from their pain. And when your trauma is healed, it empowers you with the authority and wisdom to guide those feeling lost on the path you’ve navigated. You hold a map to guide them through.

Your life story, even its darkest chapters, holds clues to the impact you yearn to make on the world. And all of us need the joy and healing only you can offer.

How Do You Want to Work for Change?

Perhaps not everyone is driven by past trauma, but we all feel a sense that the world is not all it could be. How do you see yourself righting the wrongs or healing the hurts of others? With a mission in mind, any occupation can be transformative.

A software engineer can create software tools and processes that bring more agency to the frontline workers in an organization. An aspiring musician can wait tables, learning how her words sway the emotions of others, and collecting songwriting ideas. When we’re clear about the legacy we want to leave, we can endure work that we might otherwise feel belittles us because it becomes a strategic vehicle.

However, when our motivation extends no further than a paycheck, the same work becomes a drudgery, leading us to roll out of bed each morning with a sense of dread. How can you leverage your current work to facilitate the change that motivates you?

How Do You Want to Be Rewarded?

Of course, a paycheck is a wonderful thing. But what truly drives you? You know the change you want to instigate, but the rewards you receive along the way are a significant contributor to your ongoing success. Some of us crave autonomy: freedom of location and time. Others strive, above all, to achieve great things and receive recognition for their hard work.

Voicing the rewards that energize us and maintain our positive attitude is an underappreciated aspect of career management. When our education system has conditioned us to comply, asking for work to accommodate our unique criteria for peak performance can seem daunting. But bravery has its rewards, and many of us have discovered that our daily work is more flexible than we once thought it could be.

Be Brave

I challenge you to uncover what you genuinely want from your life’s work, define how you want to effect that change, and clarify the rewards that will keep you invigorated. When you have clarity about your mission, your mode of work, and your compensation needs, you are ready to leave a legacy. And I eagerly anticipate seeing what you will accomplish!

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