While I don’t remember precisely where or when it happened, I’m quite certain that I nodded solemnly the first time I heard Helen Keller’s observation that life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. As time went on, those words were repeated as often as Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss”. Both bits of advice lost much of their magic and power by constant repetition. We may have agreed, but it didn’t change things much.
You’ve heard it. You’ve probably even said it: “I so resonate with that.”
I’ve never really, well, resonated with that expression. The phrase that pops into my head when I want to express extreme approval or affection for something is more likely to be, “I identify with that.”
Have you thought about the role that identifying plays in your life choices? For instance, I’ve pondered why it took me so long to realized that the self-employed life was for me. I grew up surrounded by self- employed people, but I didn’t really identify with them.
One of those folks was Ed Tetzloff, the proprietor of a musty and dimly lit dry goods store in my hometown. It was the place where we’d go with our nickels and dimes to purchase penny candy. Transactions with the portly Mr. Tetzloff were often conducted in silence as we handed over our weekly allowance for a few root beer barrels.
Nothing much ever changed in that store—or most of the other stores that stood on our Main Street. Throughout my growing years, the same people stood in the same places selling the same merchandise year in and year out.
Although my career advisers groomed me to take my place in the job market, I continued to believe that this was a world filled with possibilities. Adventures. New experiences.
This was blind faith in action and it took me a long time to move into that richly rewarding world.
The window on that world was opened for my when I read Supergirls: The Autobiography of an Outrageous Business. I realize now that this book was so powerful because from my first encounter with it, I identified with the notion of creating a business that was an extension of who I was and what I cared about. This wasn’t Tetzloff’s Variety Store. It was business as a passport to adventure and creativity.
Whether resonating or identifying is your style, the important thing to remember is that when you find yourself making a mental connection, it’s an invitation to go deeper, to explore, to see what’s waiting to be invited into your life.
That’s where new adventures begin.