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Excerpted from Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 1979 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"What I'm interested in is what you love."

  Barbara Sher, Wishcraft, Part 2

There's no question that these things have been important in our lives. In fact, they have usually shaped our lives. They are experience, history, role, relationship, livelihood, skill, survival. Some of them are choices. Some, including many we'd call choices, are compromises. Some are accidents.

None of them is your identity.

This may surprise you, but if I were sitting down with you to help you choose a goal and design a life individually tailored for you, I would not ask you for any of this information. I would not want to know what you do for a living, unless you were really excited by your job. I would not want to know any of the things you put in a resume--your background, your experience, your skills. All too often we are skilled in things we never really chose, things we have had to do--like typing or scrubbing floors (those were my skills)--not things we love.

When it comes to picking out what you'll do with energy and joy what you can be a smashing success at, your skills are not only unimportant--they can get in the way, unless you assign them to a strictly secondary role. For the moment, I'd like you just to forget about them.

What?

That's right. And just for now, I'd like you to forget your job (unless you love it), your family (even though you love them), your responsibilities, your education, all the things that make up your "reality" and your "identity." Don't worry. They won't go away. I know they are important to you. Some of them are necessary and dear to you. But they are not you. And right now the focus is on you.

What I'm interested in is what you love.

You may or may not be able to say what that is. If you can, it may be your work, or a hobby, or a sport, or a pastime like going to the movies, or something you've always loved reading about, or a subject you wish you had studied in school, or just something that gives off a special whiff of fascination for you whenever it goes by, even though you know very little about it.

There may very well be several things you feel that way about. Whatever they are--guitar music, bridges, bird-watching, sewing, the stock market, the history of India--there is a very, very good reason why you love them. Each one is a clue to something inside you: a talent, an ability, a way of seeing the world that is uniquely yours. You may not know you have it. You may have a case of amnesia about it. That amnesia can be so total that you're not even sure any more what you love. And yet, that is you!

That is your identity, your core.

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