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By Kristin Hiemstra A shameless believer of human potential, Kristin is as dynamic and energetic about career issues as a nice person can be. She combines real world knowledge from her many years of hiring experience in Washington, DC with a decade of college admissions experience.

Rites of Passage: Little Miss Muffet vs. the Spider

By Kristin Hiemstra Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

In anthropology, a rite of passage is a time in our life’s journey when we gain a new standing in the community or move from one status to another. Each time we experience personal growth, it typically involves overcoming some type of real, imaginary or existential fear. Case in point – Little Miss Muffet. Personally, I think Little Miss Muffet would have had a very different world view if she had stood up to the spider rather than running away when it sat down beside her. All cultures have some rite of passage that occurs around puberty; in the US it is getting a driver’s license. Remember how much freedom that gave us? …“Hello, mall, I think I love you…”

In any rite of passage, we lose some of our powerlessness from childhood and gain new privileges and responsibilities associated with maturity – whether we want them or not. With each completed passage, we become more under our own control and move closer into the fullness of our adult power. Other common rites of passage include graduating, attaining our first job, marriage, bearing children, etc. In each of these passages, we gain more responsibility and move closer to owning our role as a positive creator in our society.

With the completion of each rite of passage we gain power over our actions, our careers, and our world. This framework of advancement is used by every medium from video games, to schools, to corporations. In video games we must go through many levels to win; in school each completed grade is its own rite of passage; in corporations we get promoted; and in life each rite of passage we complete leaves us more powerful and free to live the way we choose.

If you’ve ever wondered “is this all there is?” then you are not at the right level of life satisfaction and it is time for you to make a move. It is okay to feel this way at times because it is part of the process of letting you know you are ready to go. Just don’t settle. Settling for a life that does not bring out your best is like sleeping on a mattress with a pea underneath it. You, being the royalty that you are, will never be 100% comfortable because you are not living to your potential. This is easier said than done, of course, and can be especially daunting when you’ve climbed high into the wrong career field, such as becoming a lawyer only to find that your true love is organic beet farming. Yet to achieve permanent success you must be open to and embrace change, since change is the only constant in the world. Keep going until you feel you are expressing your gifts in the best way possible.

The best-fitting job is one in which you are fully invested personally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. It should stretch, push and grow you as a person. Because you are evolving, there is no “one” perfect job that will work for your entire lifetime. Most people have many different careers during their lifetime, and sometimes overachievers have two careers at once plus a hobby on the side.

The rites of passage we experience as adults are “gifts” – though sometimes they don’t feel like it – individually designed to help us live out our highest potential. They are deep, which means that anything we’ve buried will be unearthed. Because they happen internally, they often go undetected by the outer world.

Since no one can see us growing on the inside, there are none of the traditional public recognitions or ceremonies ,which is okay because you may not want people going “wow, way to quit stalking your married ex!” Yet self-recognition of our growth is paramount to permanently achieving success. Yes, we should be throwing ourselves parties and reward ourselves, even if it is only eating a candy bar. If we don’t notice when we’ve been successful on our journey, we won’t notice how amazing we are becoming. This is not good. We should be enjoying every moment of our accomplishment and success.

Most people spend much more time dwelling on their failures as opposed to celebrating their successes. This must stop. We are too fabulous for this behavior. To come into the fullness of our power we need to recognize when we are being awesome and, of course, we should also be recognizing when others are being awesome and throw them parties too. Parties for everyone!

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