This morning I woke up thinking about Game of Thrones—and as often happens, within a minute or two, realized I was actually thinking about something else on a deeper level. In this case, it was purpose and the role it plays in your practice.
Whether you’re a fan of GOT or not, you probably know that it doesn’t fit in the box labeled “I can take it or leave it.”
Most likely, you watched the series OR you couldn’t have cared less about it
You loved it. OR you hated it. OR you loved it until Season 8 and then you hated it.
The reason it sparked my thinking is that it’s a hero’s journey story and that means the main character has a purpose that’s pretty clear. And story being what it is, we tend to make an emotional connection with the hero or shero. GOT has plenty of main characters who are on their own hero’s journeys. Their stories intersect and intertwine from the first scene to the last so if you aren’t feeling it with one person, you can probably find another that resonates with you.
The power of story isn’t inherent in the words or the plot—we give that power to story when we identify with the characters and we care what happens to them. At the same time, there’s a limit to how much story can move us to change our own trajectory. We know that the character we identify most with is a really big player. Because we realize that we can’t all be that big a player in the world, in a funny way, we get permission to back off from picking up the map, following the path and fulfilling our own hero’s journey.
What I realized this morning was how many of the next-level players in GOT—people more like you and me than the names you probably know even if you didn’t watch the saga—were also driven by purpose so deep and so important that the story could not have been brought full-circle without them.
- Hodor was so purpose-driven that what he was here for became the only word he spoke. No one understood what it meant and he didn’t have the words to express it. Okay… I know how that feels.
- Theon endured physical, emotional and mental torment that prepared him to accept his purpose and ultimately fulfill it. His journey was a tour through a broad emotional landscape that reminded me a lot of the way it felt when I set out to understand my own life experience so I could embrace all the parts of myself.
- Beric Dondarrion was a man here for something so important that he was resurrected 6 times before he was able to accomplish it in his 7th life. I thought about Shakespeare’s 7 stages of life and heard the inner voice that reminded me how many times I’ve reinvented myself to arrive at today’s iteration of Allison.
The over-arching story of GOT isn’t primarily about characters like these any more than the story unfolding in the world today is about you or me. But just as the final season could not have been possible without those players, we are vital to the story of the evolution of humankind. Most of us will play supporting roles, and we need to realize that every one of them is so significant that we can’t skip the casting call or later call in sick.
While we’re on our own journey, we don’t necessarily see the point of the difficulty we’re going through. It’s hard to know in advance where the path leads, or what value the obstacles and pain are leading to. Over time, and with the benefit of hindsight, it’s possible to see our path more clearly. With increased intention, it becomes possible to find the thread by reflecting on life experience and looking for the bigger picture.
Game of Thrones aside, make no mistake about this:
If you know you are here to do transformational work, your own hero’s journey is not “something else,” not some part of your life that can be segmented out, or a costume you put on when you have a client and take off when your session is over. It’s intimately connected to what your clients need from you.
And that means a big part of your job is understanding how the challenges you’ve met up to now add up to your unique Life Ph.D. and give you a way to help the people you are here to serve in a way no one else can do.
You have a life Ph.D. You have a practice and a business that supports it. Find the thread that connects them all and you’ll have a Practice on Purpose
And if you know your work is about more than fixing people, join us in the Transformational Touch Facebook group.
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