You hear a lot these days about living with purpose, following your passion, and creating the life of your dreams. All wonderfully enlightened and lofty phrases. Maybe – but they are also very achievable. Usually though, I quickly hear those statements followed by outcries of “What does that mean?” or “How do I do that?” The pull between desire and lack of practical understanding is creating the struggle.
I don’t have “THE” answer but I can share what I’ve learned on my journey. Primarily, I’ve learned that living with purpose is all-encompassing. It’s not just the big achievements and life-changing things. It’s being purposeful about our attitude, our gratitude and our habits. Start there. And when it is about achievements, I have learned 3 simple, practical steps:
1) CHOOSE – I truly believe that what draws us, attracts us, or what we dream of are all messages from our unconscious mind about the path we should be walking. It makes sense really – I won’t gloriously create that which I don’t find alluring. I know some people find themselves paralyzed into inaction because they are waiting for God to direct them. Ummmm – I think our intuition and desires are that very direction. But that’s just me. So, that’s where I start … what do I feel tugging on my heart? There are some things that are consistent themes throughout my life (connecting with people). And there are others that suddenly appear with great appeal or urging (writing my books). Actually, it was a sudden urge that loosed creativity upon me in my late 20’s and it hasn’t subsided yet. Whenever I feel the tug, I examine it and ultimately, I choose it.
2) DISCOVER – This is the trickier part for me because I find that I am drawn to, and subsequently choose, things that I have no knowledge about or previous exposure to. It figures! And I find myself saying “What the heck do I do with this desire?” And my follow-up response is always the same – research. We are blessed to be in the age of connection and information. At our fingertips, day and night we can search for what, when, where, and how of just about anything. So if the spirit moves me at 3 am when I can’t sleep I can actually do something about it. If I ask enough friends, someone will know something or someone who can help me move to the next level of understanding. The discovery phase can take a while but it’s part of the fun, really. I feel lucky and blessed in this way.
3) ACT – Ah, now we get into the “dangerous” part of truly living with passion! I have found this to get a little less scary as I practice it, but it’s still a process. You see, if I act, then people will know what I’m up to. Someone might judge me or my worthiness, ability, or skill. While discovery takes curiosity, action takes valor. I’ve had to muster up the courage to call an acquaintance that I didn’t know well, or the friend of a friend of a friend, or email someone I found on the web. None of it was comfortable but all of it was in line with my choice. If I was going to be able to move forward, I had to connect.
That’s it. Nothing spectacularly secretive about my 3 steps or my methods. It doesn’t require me to buy a book, take a class, or learn at the feet of a master. But these steps have worked for me. Do I do everything with passion – no, certainly not. Do I live with purpose, yes, I do. Am I creating the life of my dreams and following my passions – indeed. And I am, in this middle stage of life, finding that the more I follow this path, the more I am surrounded by others who are in support of me. As my friend Martha often says, “The universe cooperates with a made-up mind.” And so it does. I am more grounded, comfortable in my skin, and more motivated to do even more.
If you are struggling with your desire to move forward in life with purpose, passion, or to create your desired life, I invite you to choose, discover, and act as well. And be blessed!