Ignite Your Purpose
Sitting at a restaurant surrounded by some of the most wonderful ones who had gathered to celebrate my birthday this past week, a friend leaned over the table and asked:
"What moment or experience stands out as you think about your last year of life?"
Thinking quickly back over the months, I couldn't recall any specific item that stood out above the rest until I remembered this: I finally wrote out my vision, mission and purpose statements. Sharing this response, I felt surprised by how much it has mattered. But in the days since, as I've continued to consider my answer to her question, I've realized how the decision to create clarity on where I'm going has been a nothing short of a game changer for me.
Back in the summer of 2015, I traveled up to the Northeast for a number of weeks. My time was spent celebrating friends at their wedding, studying and accomplishing research for some of the work I was preparing to step into, and soaking in time with friends in Boston. During my weeks in the city, I set aside a half day at the Boston Public Library—oh, I love it so—to capture my thoughts on where I was headed. Instead of clean statements, I found myself with loads of bullet points that painted a picture of what it would look like when I got where I was going, plus overarching ideas of what my life would become. While this part of the process helped, it still left me lacking genuine clarity.
Fast forward to winter, 2016-2017. I had been working to tighten up the processes I walk clients through when I realized I still hadn't cleaned up my own focus. This time around, I set aside a full day for a whiteboard session and didn't leave until I captured each of my statements. I vividly remember sitting on a red chair in the empty, low-lit room, whiteboard straight ahead, with tears in my eyes as I absorbed three distinct lines written on that board that outlined what I was made to do and why it mattered. At once, it was as if I had known these truths all along, but hadn't realized them all the same. I don't quite know how to put it into words, but I understood then that this simple act was already showing me what I was to say "Yes" to and what I was to say "No" to, and it felt amazing.
Here's a question I posed on a post yesterday:
What ignites you?
See, the things that ignite me are likely different than those that stir your passion. When each of us identifies what it is that wakes us up into alertness, tugs at our sense of justice, drives our care or compassion, brings us hope, and motivates us to action we have the ability to change the world. Genuinely. Your life matters. Your purpose matters. Your decision to clarify and live your purpose matters.
This isn't new, it's just a reminder. When we know what we're made for, we have the opportunity to create days and weeks and months and years filled with activities that are focused and filled with intentionality. We don't swirl around not knowing what we're giving our time to and why. Rather, we get up in the morning with clarity on how we are embracing the day ahead and giving our very best within it.
This past year, I've made countless decisions differently because I've brought clarity to my purpose. I've experienced a newfound freedom to release things I care about in order to invest myself in the things I care MOST about in my days. Do you know the difference between those two realities in your own life? I'll tell you what, it's amazing when we learn it. Because, when we do, we're on the path to making our very BEST contribution. I'll tell you another what, I speak for myself here, but I think it's vital for everyone: You living in your best contribution means the world is a better place for me! And, in kind, when I live my best contribution, I make the world a better place for you!
Imagine every person on the planet doing what they are made to do. We'd all be so much better off... Isn't the simplicity of that astounding?
Yet often, as we've talked about recently, we let the world inform our standards of success and how we arrive there. Instead of buying into a worldview that leaves us both empty and constantly trying to fill up the emptiness, why not take a good look at what brings you life? The road to success and the way your success will matter for all of us begins there.
Here's the thing, I want you to be WILDLY successful in your life. I want you to be so happy. I want you to live in a way that makes a difference in our world—a world, by the way, that is in need of so much hope and transformation right now. We need YOU to win at being YOU. So, please, please, please... Live on purpose.
If you happen to be standing still in the standstill, like we talked about last week, knowing your purpose can be key in helping you regain your courage and strength while you rest and wait. Don't lose heart. You are valuable. Even if you can't take the next step right now, remember why you're standing there (even if it's only because you're not willing to turn around and go back from whence you came).
When you're ready to figure out what it looks like to bring clarity to your "Why" please let me make my best contribution by helping you... It brings me so much life to see you own your life and discover why it matters. I feel delighted as I imagine thousands upon thousands of people knowing and living their purpose. It's a beautiful movement that results in a bright future for us all.
Now, while I go do a bit more prep for the arrival of Hurricane Irma (please stay safe, everyone!), you can reach out to me here.