The Sacred Core
YOUR WOUND, YOUR GENIUS, & YOUR WORK
Our sacred work is not random.
Sacred work emerges from our sacred gift (our genius) and our core wound.
We receive a lot of wounds throughout our life.
But there's usually one wound we've been trying to heal all our lives.
It usually goes back to early childhood.
It's a negative belief we took on about ourselves when we were young.
It could be:
"I am fundamentally broken."
"I am not worth listening to."
"I am not lovable as I am."
“I am _______________.”
The Movie That Showed Me My Wound
For me, there was a very specific moment when I realized what that wound was.
I was maybe 9 or 10 and it was movie night at our house.
I can't remember the movie or why on earth we were watching it, but there was one scene where the parents in the film were arguing.
Like really arguing.
A young boy comes down the stairs with tears in his eyes and the father yells at him:
"I want you to go back to your room and NEVER come back down."
I went stiff as a board.
I recognized my family.
I recognized myself.
While my father never used those exact words when he screamed at me, he might as well have.
I began to wonder about myself.
. . . maybe I shouldn't have been born?
That belief became my core wound:
“I am not worthy of existing.”
And if that was true, what’s the point of my life? Does it have any meaning?
As I grew up, I worked very hard to prove to my parents, to myself, and to the world, that I was worth something.
I often overcompensated with grandiosity and routinely thought that I was better than other people.
Other times I slid into anxiety and self-loathing.
This insecurity pushed me to work like crazy in school.
But by the time I graduated from my fancy Ivy League school, I was burnt out and broken inside.
And just as others were launching their lives, I began a downward spiral from which I had to rebuild my life from the ground up. Again.
I've done a lot of healing around this wound and it no longer weighs on me like it once did.
But this question of personal worth continues to be my core wound.
And as painful as it is to look at and talk about our innermost wound, understanding it is essential.
Because our wound gives rise to our gift—our genius.
Your sacred gift is your genius.
It's the thing that others seem to struggle with, but that's easy for you.
It's your unique skill and contribution to your world.
The modern world takes "genius" to mean a once-in-a-generation luminaire.
But mythologist Michael Meade says the ancient definition of the word meant "that which is already within."
Genius is the innate talent or ability that each person bears within them.
This genius, your sacred gift, is typically your response to your sacred wound.
Your gift is a strategy you’ve been working on since childhood to try and heal the wound at the core of your being.
A client I worked with struggled all her life with a feeling of rejection and disconnection from others.
Underneath that was a core wound: the belief she formed in childhood that she was fundamentally broken.
To counteract it, she developed a gift for connecting to people, and connecting them to one another.
By connecting to people, and bringing them together around her, she could show them (and also herself) that they were not broken.
That they were whole.
Projecting our wound on the universe
When we're small children, we have a hard time distinguishing between ourselves and the world around us.
If something bad happens to us, it's as if the whole universe reverberates with the impact.
When we’re wounded, everything is damaged.
I projected my core wound—my doubt about whether I should exist—outward on the world.
It wasn't only I that didn't have worth, nothing had worth.
What was the point of it all? It all seemed meaningless.
My struggle with depression started early—probably the 4th or 5th grade.
In response, I developed a gift for finding or creating meaning in things.
If something had meaning, it was worth something.
If my life had meaning, *I* was worth something.
And because I practiced this skill—literally—since childhood, I got good at it.
It’s exactly the same skill I use when I work with clients, or write things like this guide.
This is my gift. My “genius.”
It doesn’t mean I’m the best in the world at it. But then again, it’s not about being the best.
It’s about finding the way in which you serve best.
And when we serve—THAT is where real purpose lies.
Real purpose comes from doing our sacred work: when we use our sacred gift to heal the wounds in others.
You've likely been trying to do this all your life—maybe without even realizing it.
Doing your sacred work is an endless source of purpose.
So how do we find that sacred work?
Once you know your sacred gift, the sacred work is simple.
Your sacred work is to use your gift in service of others in a way that heals their wound and—as a result—heals yours own.
One man I worked with wanted to become a movie actor.
Once we got past all the surface motivation—fame, money, social approval—we got down to his core motive:
As a closeted young boy in rural America, he was inspired by an earlier wave of gay actors who showed him it was OK to be himself.
Now, he wanted to inspire a new generation in the same way.
(He wanted to heal the same wound in others that he carried within himself.)
That mutual healing is powerful, and one of the greatest sources of satisfaction we can experience.
My own career follows a similar pattern.
When I work with people to help them find purpose in their lives, my own life is filled with purpose.
In healing the wound of meaninglessness in others, I heal it in myself.
Unlike my passions, I never get tired of doing this because it feeds me on the deepest level.
It heals my core wound and affirms—in a way my inner child can understand—that I am worthy of existence.
And that never gets old.
FEELINGS ARE NICE… BUT HOW DO I MAKE A LIVING?
OR, an even better question:
How do you make money, without feeling icky about it?
That's such an important question, it decided to add on a 4th, bonus section to this guide to answer it.
BONUS KEY: The Golden Rule of Money-Making