I’ve said it a lot of times: your deepest wounds are often the doorway to your truest niche.
The things you’ve struggled with and overcome are places you have not only credibility but also capacity to help others.
If you’re going to be a guide for people, best to pick a terrain you’re familiar with and have successfully traversed.
I’ve recently been thinking that, perhaps the purpose of growing up is to become the adult you needed when you were younger. Many people look back on their life in astonishment and say, ‘I so needed someone like me when I was younger.’
Of course, what this also means is that they’ve become that very person others need. Because the world is full of younger versions of you. It’s full of people who are, right now, struggling like you once were.
This all sounds terribly poetic.
It can actually be terrifying.
But it also be incredibly healing if you’re willing to sit with it.
REASON #1: Acknowledging how far you’ve come. The realization that you’ve grown so much that you’ve become the person who you most needed can really be a powerful moment for people. It can put so much in perspective. It’s bitter sweet. You never got that support, but you can give it to others. There’s no doubt that we all have further to grow. But it’s important to acknowledge our efforts and how far we came.
Is the United States still full of racism? Yes. But it does not honour the work of everyone who vested their life in the civil rights movement to be cynical and not acknowledge the real progress that has happened.
All too often we compare our movies to other people’s hilite reels. We compare our insides to their outsides. We compare ourselves to people who we imagine to be further ahead. We compare ourselves to perfection. No wonder we so often feel like shit. But sit back and notice how much you’ve grown. Give yourself credit for all you’ve overcome and all you’ve learned. You are not who you once were. It can be easy to not realize how very much you’ve grown and learned.
REASON #2: A Clearer Map. When you look back to understand how you made the journey you did, you’ve got to retrace your steps a bit. And, for some reason, there’s something profoundly healing about understanding our past better. As T.S. Elliot put it, ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’
REASON #3: A Clearer Point of View. Perhaps this is the most powerful. You went through your journey. You were struggling. And you probably tried a lot of things to deal with that. You’ve developed opinions on the best way to do the journey. If you struggled with a disease and overcame it, you have very clear opinions on what approaches were useful to you and which weren’t. And, at the end of the day, people are buying your point of view. The journey is what establishes relevance but it’s the point of view that establishes resonance.
And a clear point of view will do wonders for you too. It has you feel clearer inside. It has you feel like you have more to offer than you’d noticed you did before. It has you feel stronger and more solid in your offers. You’ll be far more attractive to others because ‘the confused mind says no’ – and it feels good to be attractive. You’ll, more to the point, be attractive to people who share your point of view (and that means better and lovelier clients). You feel less like a fraud and more like you know what you’re talking about. Want some examples of point of view in marketing? Read this. How do you clarify your point of view? Try starting with these questions.
REASON #4: You Help People Like You. There’s something incredibly healing and meaningful about helping people who are where you were. It’s what pulled Victor Frankl through the Nazi death camps. The commitment that this should never happen again to anyone. To realize you are no longer your wounds – you’re the medicine that flows from them. To be able to offer the very thing you most craved having and never got. There’s a way it can almost feel like you’re traveling back in time and giving it to yourself. You get to see the smiles, the relief, the healing that comes from helping others. And that is healing. When we find our niche our deepest wounds have a chance to be transformed into our gift to the world. Our deepest wounds become our artform.
REASON #5: It’s Liberating. When people finally find their niche in the world (or even one to explore) so much energy becomes freed up. You’re no longer trying to get everyone in the world to like you (we tend to spend a lot of energy on that). We get to engage our whole selves into something and that brings about an incredible sense of wholeness, integration and healing. I’d say those three words all mean the same thing anyway.
REASON #6: You See The Bigger Picture. So many people, when they look back over their lives, find it incredibly healing to see how their lives have mysteriously and perfectly prepared them for the work they are now doing (or feel called to do).
“We come unbidden into this life, and if we are lucky we find a purpose beyond starvation, misery, and early death which, lest we forget, is the common lot. I grew up and I found my purpose and it was t become a physician. My intent wasn’t to save the world as much as to heal myself. Few doctors will admit this, certainly no young ones, but subconsciously, in entering the profession, we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness.And it can. But it can also deepen the wound . . . You live it forward, but understand it backward.”- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/