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Here’s a fun snippet from our episode, Can Finding Your Purpose Help In Healing? Guest expertAni Anderson, the creator of the Find Your Soul’s Agenda process and co-creator of Sensation-Based Mindset coaching shows us how to discover your soul agenda to navigate life’s challenges with grace and gratitude rather than the toxic emotions that ultimately affect our health, vitality, and quality of life.
Ani Anderson, MS, OT, LMT, CEMP, SBMC has had many outward successes in her life, from Broadway to business, however her most treasured success has been becoming a person, wife, and parent that she’s proud to be. She is the author of ‘Find Your Soul’s Agenda: The One Word That Will Make Your Whole Life a Success.’
SHARON: I love this chapter title and the contents of the chapter: “Life is simple but we make it complex.” I want to ask a rabbit hole-type question. Why is it that we tend to focus on the drama and the negativity and the “why-me’s” and the “oh-boy’s” and not see all the positives?
ANI: I think there are a lot of ways to answer that question but the one I’m going to choose right now is that we’re used to it; that’s what most people do. We want to bond with each other; we want to connect with each other.
Oftentimes, in our society, the way that we do that is to connect over drama and negativity. We don’t have to but…. I remember when I started to learn how to connect over other things besides drama and negativity, it felt really weird at first. Those aren’t the conversations that most people are used to having.
SHARON: That’s absolutely true ─ drama, negativity, bad things happening to you or the weather. I find, sometimes, that when I’m all excited about stuff, I’ll bump into people who want to bring me down about it. I find that fascinating. I’m like, “Just jump on my happy train. Let’s go!” and they want to throw us all off the train.
There’s another line in here that I love, too, because I’ve always said this ─ and people look at me strangely but I think we’re soul sisters here: “Striving to be normal is dangerous.”
I love that. That’s one of my notes here because I always say, “Nobody wants to be average; everybody wants to be normal.” And we bring down those people who are exceptional.
I never understand that but I love this: “Striving to be normal is dangerous.” Tell us your opinion about it from your book.
ANI: I love your ideas about it so much. We look at the newspapers and we see these statistics. We see how many people are stressed out and we see how many people are sick and how many people are divorced, medicated, unhappy, whatever it is, and we say, “I don’t want to be that person.” Yet, we strive for connection. When we strive for the connection, a lot of times, what we’re doing is, again, bonding over those things that keep us sick, stuck, and negative.
I’m a firm believer in finding out what it means to be your natural self as much as it does go against society’s ‘grain’ ─ embracing your true nature.
SHARON: Growing up, I think this is very common and I’ve heard it on the show many times ─ phrases such as “Who do you think you are?” or “Are you getting too big for your breaches?”
These types of phrases create what I’ll call an “undercurrent of minor trauma.” And when I use the word “minor,” I don’t mean to diminish it. And, it’s different from a car wreck or a death. It’s a slow trickle of all of those kinds of traumas which add up to a major trauma to where, all of a sudden, we don’t know who we are just because you repeatedly hear the phrase, “Who do you think you are?” usually with a disparaging type of voice tone.
Let’s walk through some of the processes you share in your great book, Find Your Soul’s Agenda, on how we get past that and actually find out who we are.
ANI: The Find Your Soul’s Agenda process is based on memory recapitulation. We look at a holistic view of a person’s life by asking them, “What were your best memories in childhood, your personal life, and your professional life?”
In that way, we get a few different aspects of a person’s life.
I just want to say that some people don’t have any best memories that they can come up with for certain aspects of their lives, and that’s totally okay. It ends up working out in the process.
After we do that, we look at each memory and we determine “How did that memory make me feel?” and we try to come up with either one word or short phrases of words that are illustrate “How did I feel?” in that memory; and what that’s doing is really pointing towards how we really want to feel in our life. And so, we make this big list of feeling quality words and we go through an elimination round where we go two by two and we dwindle the list down to a small of a list as possible.
Hopefully, it will be one word. Sometimes, it’s two or three. But, hopefully, it will be one word and that’s what we call the “soul agenda word.”
From there, what we do is define that word because if we don’t, then, we’re going off of society’s definition for what that word means.
One of the places I was stuck in my own journey and my own purpose work for a while was not being able to really figure out what the words meant that somebody else was telling me ─ “You’re like this. You’re like that.” And the words were hollow.
After we define what the word means for ourselves, and then we come up with a purpose statement. The purpose statement has to do with how you love to feel in the world and how you love to influence others.
There’s one last really important step in the process, and that is looking at how you don’t love to feel. It’s looking at what we call the “polarity.” And the polarity is really important because, as an individual, we’re like two sides of a coin. We’re like a quarter where I could either be looking at the heads or I could be looking at the tails.
What’s really fascinating about that is when you’re looking at the heads of a quarter, you know the tail is there but you don’t see it.
You can’t see it until you turn around. And when you’re looking at the tails, you know the head is there but you can’t see it until you turn it around. And that’s how we are. We’re like the quarter.
In life, sometimes, we can only see the heads; and, sometimes, we can only see the tails. But once we understand ourselves from a holistic point of view that encompasses both sides of life that we love to experience and the sides of life that we don’t love to experience ─ those are two sides of the same person ─ we can really understand who we are from a holistic point of view.
SHARON: I’m glad you mentioned that part about not having particular memories from certain areas, and that was fine.
You mentioned that you got stuck, too. When we get stuck in those places, what are some things that will help us get unstuck?
ANI: That’s one of the reasons why I love this process so much. When I started to look for my purpose on my own, I was really stuck in my own life and I was on the tail side of my quarter. I did not like how I felt in life and I felt very stuck.
I took a few purpose courses; and the purpose courses, as lovely as they were, were one-sided. It was telling me about a “me” that I couldn’t identify with at all. And it was because I was so far-off base from that. My life was crumbled. I just couldn’t see those light aspects of myself.
I couldn’t identify with the words that were being used to describe who I was.
What I do now, because of the soul agenda process, is I recognize anytime I’m in that polarity, on that back side of the quarter or anytime I’m in an experience in my life where I don’t love how I feel, I understand that I’m still on purpose.
That’s the key aspect. I thought before that I wasn’t on purpose unless I was happy and successful and healthy and all of that stuff.
That’s not true. Our purpose is to live life and we can, actually, articulate ourselves, who we are and our authenticity. And when we use the soul agenda process, we’re able to articulate our lives in a holistic way.
So when I get in those places where I’m stuck, I know I’m still on purpose. It’s really fascinating.
SHARON: Thank you Ani Anderson for sharing your Soul Agenda process. Everyone, have a great week whatever your adventures. Join me next Friday for a brand new episode.
As always, enjoy!