What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

What is the common theme in everything you love? What is a common goal in everything you do?

Those, my friends, are your through line.

Finding your through line is the solid base for your WANT journey. Negative talk is simply a filler for uncertainty in purpose and imbalances in your mind, body and soul. With confidence in your purpose or through line, there is less of the negative talk that we use to sabotage ourselves.

Once we find our through line and shift our actions to deliver that through line, success is inevitable.

Notice the little things that fulfill you. Not necessarily the tasks themselves, but the meaning behind those tasks. Not so much the superficial What, but the hidden Why.

We cannot succeed if we do not love what we DO – or if what we do does not fit into the big picture. We are all equipped with a through line; something we are wonderful at and are meant  to give to the world.

You might have one through line or a couple. Here are a few steps and questions to help you find yours:

Step 1: Make a list of everything you love to do or experience. I mean everything. The things that you seem to get absorbed by and fill you up from the inside out. Don’t worry about cohesiveness, list as many actions, experiences, and instances as you can think of. Cooking dinner, one-on-one time with friends, business strategy, binging on horror movies – it’s all fair game.

Step 2: Can you find a common theme within the majority of your answers? Try to find a mode and an output. Look beyond the obvious – the fact that you love to bake and you love to have spontaneous dance parties might seem unrelated, but when you dig deeper you might realize what you actually love is the act of creating something that brightens up someone else’s day. You love to bake – but when you’re sharing your treats with friends. You love to have spontaneous dance parties because it makes your husband or boyfriend or kid or dog even fill up with joy and laughter. There’s where your talents lie. That is your through line.

Just for kicks, make another list of everything you excel at. No need to hold back here – remember, confidence is not synonymous with narcissism or vanity. Now highlight the things that you can recognize your through line in. Does this list seem familiar? It should. Many of the things we love to do are the things we have a natural knack for. Pretty cool, huh? These places are where you shine the brightest.

Need an example? Here’s what the first two steps of my exercise looks like:

Step 1: I love writing, interviewing others, singing, people watching, unfiltered and authentic conversations, listening to podcasts, music, running, teaching cycle classes, taking cycle classes, pretty much exercise of all kinds, yoga classes, acting, photography, going to concerts, laughing out loud at movies, spending time with my family and soul-friends, reading non-fiction books or books written in the first person, public speaking, taking small chances, painting, drawing.

Step 2: In most of the things I love, I can see that my through line is using my unique voice to its fullest, in order to bring about the most authentic best in others. I see my “voice” not only in talking or singing to teaching, but in writing, drawing – movement even. Because if I think about it, I get bored or frustrated during exercises or classes in which I’ve got to do things exactly like someone else. I love moving like only I know how. I love listening to podcasts and reading non-fiction or books written in the first person because they spark a discussion in me; I can almost hear my voice chiming in with the author or speaker. If I look closely, everything I love has my through line of authenticating voice running through it. I stand for love – of others and yourself.

Once I first realized this, I made a mental note and carefully placed it in the corner of my mind. And whenever I would feel discontent or useless or squashed down and dull, I’d ask myself…”Katie, are you using your unique voice right now and is it resonating with the best parts of others?” If the answer was no, even if I could not fully escape the scenario that was bringing me down, I would divert my attention and place myself in a scenario in which I could use my though line to its fullest potential, however big or small that might look from the outside.

Now that you know your through line, you can invest your time a bit more wisely. It’s easy to talk negatively about ourselves when we are in those bang-your-head-against-the-wall scenarios. And we’ve all got to deal with those throughout our lives no matter what. Sometimes, things just don’t gel. Try again. Maybe that one won’t stick. Go back and look at your list, see if you can identify a nuance of your through line, or a whole other through line altogether, and try again. Trial and error is part of the deal.

I’m not saying that once you find the ways in which you shine the brightest, you’ll always be shiny and sparkly. Life would be boring and useless without mistakes and missteps and those moments in which we feel the lowest lows. But if you are strategically placing yourself in scenarios in which you can use your through line – whether it be with a new group of friends, a new relationship, a new job or simply a potential hobby you’re taking up – you’ll also feel those highest highs a whole lot higher. Your life will feel a whole lot more cohesive, and you’ll feel your purpose from the inside out.

defining your through line - what is your purpose and what do you stand for

WANT Yourself Action Plan:

In the comments section below, tell me what your through line is. How do you use it on a regular basis? Did you have an aha! moment that helped you realize what you were meant to give to the world?

Be as specific as possible – this is not an easy exercise, and your insight and experience might be exactly what someone else needs to read to realize the power they have within themselves.

WANT is a testament to the power of our pragmatically positive voice as a community and the impact we can have if we band together. Go for it, WANT peeps…

 


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22 comments

  1. Cortnee says:

    My through-line:
    I create and do things that inspire others to live life fully as themselves unapologetically.

    This comes up in everything that I am most passionate about: art, deep conversations with people, sharing my passion for cooking and connection.

    I love this idea! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Nichole says:

    GREAT piece. And great site! Thank you for creating this. I’m a bit stuck with this one at the moment, wavering between a couple of through lines. What if you have two or three? (I’m thinking I need to spend more time with this and see if there is something deeper. Maybe they all tie in somehow and I just don’t see it. I’ll come back and let you know!

    • Katie says:

      Hey Nichole! I do think it’s perfectly fine to have 2-3 through lines – but maybe, with a little extra searching, you’ll see that one usually leads the way and the other two support that one. Don’t be fooled, btw – this isn’t the easiest or most no-brainer exercise. Takes a few “second looks,” but you WILL reach an a-ha moment :) Please come back and let me know!

  3. Tamara says:

    This was a great exercise! I’ve been feeling lost lately and unsure of myself, this exercise made me feel a lot better.

    My through line is learning new things to help me create a better understanding of the world and using this understanding to help others. I found myself realizing that all the things I love are things I consider new and important. I like to read and watch things people say are important and understand why they are important. Usually, it has something to do with the book or movie’s perspective on life. I’m realizing understanding different perspective and making myself more empathetic is important to me, and I want to be able to share this with others to make them more empathetic as well!

    Hopefully this wasn’t too much of a ramble. I am sick in bed and my brain is foggy, but I wanted to share my thoughts.

    • Katie says:

      Heck yeah, Tamara! So glad this could make you feel better and a little less wobbly in purpose. Love that you love learning so that you can be more empathetic – the world needs more people like you in it. Way to go for setting the example :) xo

  4. Marieke says:

    Hey, I just listened to Kailas Podcast!

    Your whole concept was so amazing that I really needed to research it and try to find my own Through Line. So here I am!

    It actually took me a while, since I have an unhealthy amount of passions.
    (Martial arts, roller derby, dance, read, watch movies, music, draw, paint, write, have blogs, history, politics, greenpeace, write, handicraft work, obsess over health (…), fashion, fangirl actors and stuff and I’ll leave it there because this list goes on and on and on!)

    In the end, I figured out that what I want most is to learn new things and act on them, sometimes give and teach them to other people.

    I feel like there might be something else, more, but right now, that’s as close as I can get.

    Soooo. Thank you so much! I usually feel so out of control with everything I’m doing, when I want to be the best but also make new experiences and always do more and more and more.

    This is so inspiring and it helps me so much! It’s just.. Awesome. Thank you. Again.

    • Katie says:

      Marieke!

      Wow, wow, wow. Reading all of your passions and then reading the through line you figured out from them…I read this comment on my phone while grocery shopping and was smiling ear to ear like a goon (alone, mind you) in the middle of the check out line. It makes so much sense, and I love that it feels right to you. I completely get feeling out of control with wanting to do and experience more (the flip side of being an enthusiastic person!), but hopefully this could help a little. As you continue to Be and Do and Experience, what doesn’t resonate will naturally fade away or shrink, and what DOES will only grow and amplify. You’re setting yourself up for all kinds of wild and crazy success right now. Own it :)

  5. whitney says:

    Katie! I LOVE THIS! I have been trying for AGES to figure out what I’m about. I’ve always described myself as eclectic (on a good day) or non-committal or ADD (on a bad day) because I like lots of different things, and crave change. But when I wrote all of my likes out and started searching for a common thread, it turned out to be connection with my inner spirit and with the inner spirit of others. AHH! How about that? And that is totally me. Learning and connecting. Learning and connecting. Thank you for this!!

  6. Mary says:

    I have been struggling with negative self talk and trying to bring it back to the positive self talk I once possessed. I am a musician and teacher by trade, but my life is much more than that, so when I wrote out all of my passions, which also include running, fitness, baking, reading, service organizations, planning events, Hallmark Christmas movies, and special time with family, I looked at the list and it was like a light bulb…I found my through line: I like to make connections. I like to make connections with people. I think maybe I have such a variety of interests, and work so hard to master some of them (music, and fitness especially) because it allows me to connect with more people, and more deeply within myself.

  7. Sophie says:

    I adore this post and actually all of your work is very inspiring to me.
    I am struggling with this one a bit. I passionately love to dance and sing ans act… and to have long deep philosophical debates. I love to grasp difficult concepts and have those aha! Moments. I like to analyse other people’s problems and help them find clarity. I’m struggling to find a why behind these things that doesn’t feel narcissistic though. Maybe that’s my Lolita talking (what we call our negative internal dialogue in my family) but i’m just getting – i like to entertain people and be a smart ass. I know there’s a more positive way to frame that but i don’t know how to frame it in a way that really excites me or gives me that aha feeling!
    Thank you for your wisdom, all the way from the UK!

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