Henry David Thoreau once said, “The greatest tragedy in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover that it was not fish you were after.” Carl Jung, I think, was getting at the same thing by saying, "In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted."
I remember hearing someone say that Carl Jung thought that this is what the second half of life was about. James Hillman didn't think so. He thought it could be realized earlier (The Souls Code describes this well), especially in adolesence. It just takes the right person to see that fish or essence.