Living a Purpose-Driven Life

Recently a friend/colleague challenged me to make a BIG overnight shift in my life in order to make an internal announcement to myself (and presumably an external announcement to the powers that be) that I am showing up. I’m here. I’m to be taken seriously, and I’m all in.

I understood his challenge. He saw me waffling somewhat and lollygagging about, trying this and that, and always seemingly coming up short or facing another obstacle, some external, some internal (hence the internal announcement).

What I didn’t understand is why I needed to make such a BIG turnaround overnight. So I disagreed with him and suggested some modifications to his original idea/plan. To him, I think that appeared to be more obstacles and more waffling. Indeed, at the time, I sort of shamed myself into thinking the same.

“Why can’t I ‘just do it’ as the sign says?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I’ve failed before I’ve begun.”

Many many more less-than-kind phrases cropped up into my thinking. The prevailing thought was basically “NO way can I do this…” And then it hit me:

Yes, yes I could… MY way.

That single phrase was more of an announcement than anything anyone else could create for me. Why? Because it’s infinitely more powerful, because it’s mine.

My father once told me long ago when I was dating my now ex-husband: “Don’t do for, do with.” It was a piece of advice I faltered with at the time but have come to hear over and over in my head since then as one of the wisest things he had ever said.

Don’t do for, do with.

If I had taken my friend/colleague’s challenge and plan, I’d be doing it FOR him as part of some old paradigm of placating and pleasing, and seeking approval. Instead, I needed to come up with my own plan, my own internal voice, that announced to me and the world around me that I am here, I am ready, and I am all in.

That’s not an easy task, mind you. Uncovering your purpose-driven life is a process that requires deliberate intent, focus, and above all else an alignment with your core values and who you are.

My friend wanted me to feel the passion and drive he described to me that he felt when he was on his purpose. And I applaud him for it, because I think he’s extraordinary. But I’m not him. I’m me. And ‘me’ feels things differently. My passion is not a burning urgent passion. My passion is a calm knowing presence. It’s aligned with my values and who I am at a deep level, and it expresses itself the exact same way. And that’s exactly how it should be.

So, my passion and my purpose don’t require a huge overnight shift and change in plan. They require me to show up, falter, and show up again. They require me to keep going, even when I don’t feel like it, and they require me to be honest with myself, be true to myself, and to do things for myself, and not to please others.

Living a purpose-driven life is something only you can define for yourself. Uncovering that purpose can be challenging and difficult sometimes. But what I know with 100% certainty is that living without purpose is infinitely more difficult, because it’s not living. Living without purpose is merely existing… and existing is about taking up space, rather than claiming your place.

I’m claiming my place. How about you?

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