“I was born a Jackdaw, why should I be an Owl?”
I came across this quote over the weekend from Ogden Nash (American Poet 1902-1971) and it got me thinking: how we lose our sense of self, in the search, or pressure, to be someone else, something different, to find our Purpose outside of ourselves?
Fitting in, at what cost?
In our attempts to become someone different, we lose that character that is at our core, the thing that our friends and loved ones have found most endearing, that attracted them to us.
It’s like you’re putting on an ill-fitting “Owley” overcoat: the arms and body are too long or short, the colour isn’t our choice, the style doesn’t suit us, but someone said that’s what you should be wearing and so in an attempt to do the right thing, you keep it on.
Life becomes a struggle, people notice there’s something different about you, as this overcoat is getting you down. But you put a brave face on it, hoping that things will improve.
The reality is you feel more uncomfortable and downbeat the longer it stays on.
Because underneath you’re still the Jackdaw.
Here’s some of what Wikipedia says about Jackdaws: they’re gregarious and vocal, they live in small groups with complex social structure. They’re monogamous. They’re opportunistic and like crows, have great intelligence, able to use and make their own tools.
It’s not even YOUR Owley overcoat!
So where does this expectation to be an Owl come from? Whose overcoat is it?
Those who are expecting you to live your life according to their values and beliefs, how they see the World, based on their life experiences. They tell you “You should do this, should be that…”. Should, should should – sounds dirty, doesn’t it?
They might have best intentions for you – they probably hold the Owl in high regard.
Maybe they’ve had Owley expectations for themselves, and didn’t make it, so see you being Owl as proxy for them.
Maybe they did make it as an Owl and want you to follow them.
Maybe there’s been a long line of Owls in the family and you’re expected to be the next one
Perhaps the voice that tells you that you should be an Owl is in your own head, set by the expectations of authority figures when you were small.
Maybe, those you’re close to have their own voice in the head, that tells them ‘someone like you’ should be an Owl.
But they’re forgetting what makes you a Jackdaw.
We all have different experiences that have brought us to this moment. Our inherited genes, people we’ve known and grown with, our achievements and set-backs, tragedies and tribulations. And the learning we take from it all. This all shapes who we are, what we want for ourselves, our purpose.
You don’t need to go out looking for how to be an Owl based on other people’s Should.
By all means, you can choose to be the very best Jackdaw around. You can choose to learn and grow from your experiences, using tools and techniques at your disposal, even create a few for yourself. And build a reputation as an excellent go-to Jackdaw. Grow your community and make a lot of noise about it!
Follow your purpose in a congruent way, wearing your own perfectly-tailored Jackdaw overcoat.
If you find for yourself, that you have some Owley characteristics already and you’d like to develop them further and become an Owl, that’s great, but do it on YOUR terms and knowing of how this is serving you.
Finding your own Purpose
Our sense of Purpose is within us already, we don’t need to go looking for it outside of ourselves. It’s closely aligned to our innate strengths and skills, our character that draws people to us.
You can find yours by looking for the common thread in the things that you love doing the most. What keeps coming up for you? What are you drawn to, that is bigger than yourself?
If you’d like support to help you identify your own Life Purpose, then I’d love to have a powerful conversation with you, where we can explore this and other important aspects of your life further.
You can book an Initial Conversation with me, here.