Design a Meaningful Life On Your Own Terms

Trusting your inner knowledge as a guide

Imagine back to when when you were young. Now imagine you had the confidence to lead with most authentic version of yourself, without pressure of having to prove anything to anyone or to fit in.

Would that have offered you a more joy-filled experience?

For many of you that answer is “of course!” And for others that may be a pivotal question that begins to unlock some core beliefs about who you are and how you learn who you are.

I’ve been working with youth and adults in the field of learning and have found mentoring a person through a process of self discovery opens up untold potential. To do this, requires unlearning some beliefs we hold as truths. Learning as I’ll point out in this case, can not be universally measured with a report card.

Learning is a lifelong process.

We often confuse the concept of going to school with learning but it goes much further than that.

As human beings we’re constantly learning as a natural process. We learn to walk and talk through mimicking those around us. Children learn to speak when they’re ready; they learn to read when they are ready. When immersed in an environment, children naturally begin to emulate that behaviour in that environment and figure it out.

Learning in the early years is about adults holding space for a child, offering encouragement in the form of a mentorship, then allowing the child to adopt a skill or ability on their own, in their own time. And yet, as we get older, we lose trust in this process and disregard the importance of experiential learning as a fundamental process of being human.

The daughter of a friend of mine showed no interest in learning to read when most children her age were taking up books. She loved being read to, but didn’t choose to read on her own until she was nine. Experts and others advised my friend that something was wrong. Instead of listening to that advice, he decided to trust his daughter and follow her lead. It’s no surprise that once she began reading she loved it. What was a surprise was that she read all of the classics in literature before her eleventh birthday.

This seems like an extraordinary tale, but what’s extraordinary is allowing the child to be guided by her own inner compass rather than the assumption she should learn within a specified time frame or risk being labelled. By allowing his child to access her inner core values without trying to shape or control her experience but nurture it instead, she came to reading and excelled at it when she was ready.

Looking back on my earlier life as a high school English teacher, I knew even then the way in which the students were being labeled by the school district – as either ”adjusted” – meaning they were “slow”, or as “normal” or “advanced”, was inhumane. It wasn’t taking into account the entire person, just a small portion of how they were digesting information that was being fed to them in a specific way.

I knew labeling was very subjective, and by even questioning this approach I was an outlier in the field of education.

Much has changed in our understanding of how individuals learn since that time, but we still see labelling as acceptable. We still measure success against a rigid structure of one-size-fits-all.

When I left teaching I knew in my heart of hearts that somehow, there must be a way to discover how the individual human potential unfolds. Almost 20 years later I was introduced to the Core Value Index. I practically cried as I learned more about this tool, its application for learning and how it helps people to understand their innate internal “wiring.”

The CVI is built on the understanding that there is an innate intelligence unique to each and every individual. Essentially it helps measure and give context to a person’s motivations and way of being in the world. It helps in revealing “who,” is unfolding from an inside out perspective. And it allows the individual to become more in tune and aware of what makes them “tick”.

From a learning perspective we can understand how we absorb and process information. Beyond that it helps us understand what holds our interests, affirms our natural talents and gives us access to curiosity – which essentially drives learning.

A person’s innate core nature is the key that truly opens us up to all the knowledge within us. Each one of us has this, we simply need to access it. Take an acorn as an example. There’s no clear present evidence that an acorn has the coding to become an oak tree, yet within that seed is the blueprint that unfolds when planted in a fertile environment. No one had to tell it what it is meant to become or how to do it.

I remember the time when I learned to ride a motorcycle. I was truly frightened but something within me was telling me to go for it. My parents tried to talk me out of it, but I trusted my intuition and leaned into the fear and did it anyway. I had a vision for why I wanted to learn this skill which became motivation that kept me focused on achieving a certain level of mastery.

Working with a mentor I learned by doing it, making mistakes, and slowly became competent at riding a motorcycle. Once mastered, I set our on a trip of a lifetime crossing the country on my BMW R80RT. Knowing why I wanted to learn kept me motivated through failed attempts and criticism of my choices.

Knowing who you are and your motivations for how and why you learn, allows you to design a life built on meaning. If you’re curious about yours, take the Core Value Index here.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *