Let me describe to you an art that is going to be increasingly essential in our generation. It is an art of innovation, but it comes first from seeing our lives and work in a certain light.
We hear often that someone has “reinvented themselves.” This happens when someone develops something completely new in their lives that has little connection to what they did previously. The actor became a brain surgeon, for example. I admire these types of transformations but most of us won’t undergo anything quite so dramatic. Instead, we will “emerge” into new things that grow out of the older things in our lives.
Let me illustrate this using my life as an example. I started out in life by working in and then leading organizations. Then, I began doing a radio broadcast. From both of these, came my writing. I had success as an author and could have thought of myself as only an author for the rest of my life. It would have been a good life. Yet it was not all that was possible.
Along with my writing and media work, I became a speaker also. It was out of my writing and my traveling to speak that I became deeply aware of the plight of men. So, I began using my writing, my media, and my speaking to call men to greater health and service. Do you see how this emphasis on men came out of my prior work? I simply had to recognize the new that was surfacing in my life.
In addition, while I did all that I’ve described above, I began to see young leaders and speakers whom I could help to have greater impact. I began to coach those who came to me. I did this because I recognized the new and fruitful possibilities that were unfolding from the more long-term things in my life. Now, all of this has congealed into a fulfilling life, but every new emphasis of my work emerged gradually out of something earlier. I just had to recognize it and build upon it.
So, I’m an author and a speaker and a producer of media and an advocate for men and a coach of leaders and speakers. I could also mention my work with Kurds and my work as an advisor in Washington, DC. My point is not to give you my resume. My point is to say that everything that I do today emerged out of something earlier. I simply had to recognize it and build upon it.
This is the way it is going to be for most of us. We will have our core skills. We will start down a certain path of work. Then, we will start to see new emphases or themes or needs come forth. The art is to blend them into what we are already doing in such a way that is beneficial to others and profitable to us. The experts say it is likely we will have opportunity for such “emergings” up to a dozen times in our lives.
I want you to be all you can be. Watch your life. Watch the needs around you. Pay attention to what people need from you. Stay flexible and open to “morphing” the configuration of your work. A fulfilling, fascinating, fruitful, and prosperous life may come of it.