Hi,

When you are in between jobs careers, relationships, or phases of life you are in a state of becoming. It’s a state that we all experience, but rarely discuss as a stage. This makes it even more challenging to navigate.

The School of Becoming is a place where we seek to understand how to navigate this space, learning from experts and people like you and me about what it means to become, professionally and personally.

If this is of interest to you, subscribe to get a weekly dose of inspiration, tools, and information that help you become.

I am looking forward to welcoming you all as Student of Becoming, hear about story, and supporting you on your journey.

Ingo

Fuel Your Becoming


Every time I hear the question “What is your purpose?” I want to ask “What do you mean by purpose?”

Most of us are challenged by this question, and I was too. Researching the topic, I realized that three myths that stop us from finding and answer and recognizing that we might already experience purpose in our lives.

Myth 1: It has to be big!

When we think about purpose, we often think about “saving the planet” or “ending slavery.” But a purpose does not have to be big. At the end of the day, purpose is about believing that your action contributes to what Prof. William (bill) Damone (Stanford University) calls “super goal” or “ultimate concern”. In comparison to everyday goals, purpose can never be achieved and it goes beyond personal interest. As such it has to be about other people and you believing (and feeling) that what you do has an impact. This could be you supporting your kids with homework, contributing to your community by shopping local, or you volunteering at a local organization that works towards a cause you recognize as meaningful. 

Myth 2: There is only one purpose.

Research by Damone has shown that only 20% of people can identify a single purpose. 80% have either none or multiple purposes. So yes, you can work on gender equality and support your kids and find both purposeful. Further, it means that you don’t have to have a purpose, although it might benefit your motivation and give you a feeling of meaning in life.

Myth 3: You can rationalize it.

Various exercises seem to suggest that we can rationalize our purpose. These exercises can indeed help us increase the chances of finding purpose. After all, researchers have found ways to assess purpose which allows us to understand some of its “components”. However, rationalizing purpose is no substitute for experiencing it. Experiencing purpose is also about an emotional response. That response is hard to conceptualize and is mostly experienced in the moment. Thus, in case you have a hunch of what it is, be mindful the next time you work towards your “super goal”. What you feel will help you to understand if you are on the right path or not.

You probably got the question "What is your purpose?" at some point in your life. The question is not that easy to answer, partly because of the following three myth.


We all have our standard responses to “Who are you?” But who is the person behind the title, the achievements, and the physical features? Who are you, really?

I recently read the book “In Love With The World – A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos Of Living and Dying” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Helen Tworkov. In the book the authors describe Yongey Minguyr Rinpoche journey from living in a monastery to sneaking out and spending the next four years on a wandering retreat without a title and a role.

Early on in the story, the author found himself wondering about who he was, beyond titles (I am a monk), his name, his skills, and physical appearance. Asking himself numerous times, he tries to peel back the layers of his identity in an effort to figure out his essence.

Inspired by this story, I started to ask myself “Who am I, really?” I have to admit, it is not easy to answer. In the past, I made it easy for myself. Based on the situation, I would refer to an appropriate title such as professor, designer, or student. Starting to journal on this question, I was tempted to do the same and I feared running out of words. But, to my surprise, I didn’t. There are things that I forgot and took for granted that surfaced, and although I feel that I am at the beginning of this journey, I enjoyed peeling back the first layer.

Based on this experience, I can already tell you that this prompt is worth pondering about, as knowing who you are is the first step in finding what you want.

So, in case you want to challenge yourself, ask yourself:

Who am I, really?

Journal Prompt #6

Suzana found herself walking around moping, surfing the internet, when she clicked on a video trailer that changed her life and career in unexpected ways.

In her story Suzana shares how her perspective on life in 5 unexpected ways as a result of the walk.

Read Suzana’s full story in her blogpost.

Suzana Barbosa, a successful musician who had a signed deal with Universal Records, was at the ends of her wits. She had been a musician and a songwriter for 15 years, but that all ended, almost overnight.

I love this prompt, but it is challenging to answer. Every time I do it, it takes me a while to focus on myself and not think about my friends, girlfriend, or parents. But once I get into the flow of writing, what I write helps me to discover what I truly long to create in my life, and serves as an inspiration to make small changes.

In the past I came up with ideas of being a train conductor that travels North America, a stay at home son and friend, and a world problem conference organizer. And while I know I won‘t change my life in these radical ways, these ideas show me what’s missing or what i need to cultivate in my life.

For example, They inspired me to dedicate more quality time with my loved ones, play chess with my dad, learn photography from my brother, and paint with my mom.

So I challenge you, to ask yourself:

What would I want to do next if money, fame and the opinions of others weren‘t a thing?

Journal Prompt #5

I can’t do this! This was how I felt two weeks ago when I thought about launching an online life design course. I had taught this course for the last 8 years, yet I felt like I couldn’t do it.

Teaching students about imposter syndrome, and missing self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to perform), I knew that there was a way to overcome this. Never the less it was challenging to engage.

According to research there are four ways or keys to overcome this barrier and build your belief in your abilities. So, I thought I would run a little experiment. Based on what I knew, I had the following five options based on these four keys that I knew would – theoretically – improve my belief in my abilities:

  1. Find someone like me who did what I want to do.
  2. Find people I trust and that can give you a pep talk.
  3. Practice to get an experience that shows me, I can do it.
  4. Get someone with experience, who can hold your hand.
  5. Keep your psychological and physiological state in mind. e.g. I have more willpower in the morning.

Here what I did:

  1. I searched (and watched) videos of other professors who developed their own courses – after all I feel closer to them than to internet marketers. Nerd alert! 
  2. I reached out with a LinkedIn video and an email to people I trust and worked with to ask “Should I do this” and “Would you Join me.” The feedback was amazing and it really encouraged me to take the next step.
  3. I discussed this idea with my girlfriend – who has marketing experience – and who gave me another pep talk.
  4. Lastly, I did most of these things first thing in the morning. This prevented me from overthinking it and feeling low on energy.

And now, two weeks later, I finally trusted myself to put a landing page up offering my Life Design course online, for the first time. The page isn’t finished, yet – it will launch tomorrow. However, doing the things I did, especially talking to people about it, did not only effect my belief, but also my motivation! I am really excited, which I didn’t expect.

We all know this feeling. We stand at the top of a diving platform, the water surface 10 m below us. Rationally we know we can do this, yet we feel like we can’t.

This is a question I asked myself two weeks ago, when I thought about taking my Life Design university class online.

I was unsure whether or not I should do it. I lacked the trust in my ability to pull it off as I wondered “can I do this,” “would people be interested,” … So I asked myself “Who do I need to hear from, in order to trust myself to do this?”

The answer: You! So I recorded a short video, posted it on LinkedIn, and anxiously waited for the response. While the ask was easy, waiting for the response was a little nerve wrecking. But what followed, blew me away.

Former students, clients, friends, and fellow Students of Becoming reached out. The provided encouragement, reminded me of past successes that I already forgot about, and offered their help. Further, some reached out and asked if they could pre-book a spot. It was amazing and gave me the confidence I needed to start building the course page. But, enough about me.

What do I need to hear, and from whom, in order to trust myself?

You don’t have to do this publicly, an email, a call, or a DM might do the trick. Beyond a public outreach, I email friends, experts, my girlfriend, or my mom <3 to hear what I need to hear to trust myself. 

Journal Prompt #4

This means that 75-80% of us lie to themselves about our self-awareness!⁠

If you want to know if you are self-aware or if you lie to yourself, check out this free online self-test developed by Dr. Tasha Eurich based on her research: https://www.insight-book.com/quiz

⁠#selfawarness #selfawarnessjourny #selfaware #selfawarnessiskey #selfawarnesstest #reflection #growthmindset #developyourselfawarness⁠

Do you see yourself clearly? Over 90% think they do, but according to research by Dr. Tasha Eurich and team, only 10-15% are really self-aware.⁠
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