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The Persistent Voice and the Engaged Heart

25 July 2015

“What you seek is seeking you.” Rumi

I love this quote by Rumi. My favourite 13th century poet and philosopher. 

I feel it speaks to us as we gather courage to transition to a new place in our lives and our careers.

Often, leading up to a surge forward in our careers, we will experience a persistent little voice inside our heads urging us to gather momentum.

Fairly soon, our hearts are engaged, bringing passion into the conversation.

So our intellect and our hearts are now engaged, as we consider our future opportunities.

But it’s rarely that simple.

The Tensions

About now, the little voice decides it will also play the role of devil’s advocate. 

As we consider each of our options, the reason’s why we can’t, or shouldn’t, follow through, are thrown into the mix, bumping up against passion and consideration.

There are so many reasons we get caught in this space – the space between where we are now, and where we want to be. 

Here are just a few.

  • We are rusted on to our current roles – we may perform well in these roles so we turn the volume down on the little voice
  • We experience the natural fear of change – it’s comfortable here and it pays the bills
  • We doubt ourselves - we bounce the idea around catch the doubting glances of others or we simply don’t believe in our own capacity
  • We cannot see the way forward – we are caught up in a busy life where there is little time for reflection and mindfulness so we remain on our treadmill.

As humans, we know that we are hardwired to resist change because it often takes us into uncharted territory.

I love Dr Ruth Chan’s TED Talk on making tough decisions. I find her study of how humans make tough decisions, speaks to the innate fear or anxiety attached to making the decision to move.


I confess to being an avid follower of some of the talent reality shows, where people are morphing into their new lives in front of our eyes. 

They have a big vision for what they want to do with their lives.

They have always wanted to sing, or dance, or cook and they muster the courage to showcase their talent on the national stage, in do or die competitive rounds. 

They lay their souls bare.

For me, the richness is in hearing their back-stories.  We learn about their personal challenges and the journey that brought them to this point.

Their desire to make a living from their passion drives them forward.

We know that out of the hundred’s of people who try out, only a very few end up at the pointy end of the show, either taking the prize or being recognized for their talent.

What happens to all of those talented individuals who bared their souls and are not successful?

The very act of courage that sees them lay their souls bare, and hold their talents up to public scrutiny, provides them with a strong foundation for visioning and planning the journey to their goal.


Very few of us have the good luck to jump from where we are to where we want to be without planning our journey.   And, if we do leap from where we are to where we want to be by way of good fortune, then we have missed the point.

Our careers are a journey, not a destination.

We are in a constant state of momentum – gathering new knowledge, experience and skills as we move forward.  If we miss the journey, either because we bailed out along the way, or because we lucked it, then we will have less to bring when we arrive at points along our career transition.

Are your head and heart engaged?

For me, this is where Rumi’s insights are timeless, transcending the centuries.

It is when we give ourselves the time and permission to reflect on where we are, and where we want to be that what we seek becomes apparent.


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