How Much of an Impact Do You Really Have in the World?

Your True Purpose

There will come a time when you doubt your influence and significance in life. Maybe in your twenties you thought you were invincible and believed that you had the power to change the world.

In your thirties, your dreams began to shift a bit. You scaled them down as other things and people took priority.

Somewhere along the way you began to lose sight of your dreams. You now worry that you may never fulfill your purpose. And that regardless of any fame or recognition you’ve gotten over the life of your career, the most important thing is having a sense of purpose and meaning. But you’re not even sure you managed to do that.

Here’s what I think. I think you deserve a pass. Just for today, consider the impact you have by just being here.

Don’t believe me?

Ask your kids, your friends, your partner, what you do for them that makes them happy and what they love most about you. It won’t be your job promotion, your book hitting the best seller list or anything else you think you need to have in order to have a meaningful life.

My grandfather, for example, had one of the biggest influence on my life. Not because he worked three jobs on the plantation to support his family. In fact, on paper he didn’t do anything grand or momentous except for the fact that he loved his family and he loved me. He had a very simple, ordinary life.

Sometimes we get too hard on ourselves for not “making it in life.” We’re not all meant to be millionaires, best-selling authors, and spiritual gurus. What we are meant to do is to truly be who we are.

Just by the act of being authentic we free ourselves and others to be the loving, influential beings we are all meant to be.

For today, try learning to wear a garment of gratitude instead of hard cold armor. Try it and in doing so, watch as the meaning, and influence you’ve always wanted doesn’t just flow into your life effortlessly.

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Silencing All Voices But Your Own

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

Do you hear it?

Probably not. Let me guess. You’re too busy typing, listening to music, pinning, updating your Facebook page, tweeting, or doing a Google search right?

I know the feeling. It’s been a great distractor for me too.

How Important is Social Media, etc.?

The thing is the farther we are from hearing our own voice, the greater the ocean between us and where we want to be.

The thing is the secret of living your purpose has little to do with all the stuff out there-the how-to articles, the get rich schemes, the social media strategies, etc.

But I get sucked into their trap too. I forget that all the knowledge that’s out there can only do so much. I forget that living my purpose is more about doing the inner work than anything in the physical world that I need to do.

My job in life isn’t to please others. It isn’t to figure out what I’m doing wrong so I can live right. The single purpose of my life is to be true to myself.

It is to listen to the little voice inside of me that says:

I’m on the right track

I’m hanging around the right people

I’m following the direction toward my purpose.

In The Purpose of Your Life, one of the people author Carol Adrienne interviews is gem artist Glen Lehrer. In it Lehrer shares a gem of advice on his journey to live his purpose:

“The pursuit of my purpose has not always been easy. There were times when things were so bad I went out and sole encyclopedias and waited tables. Sometimes you can’t see where you are going. When you don’t feel the world is supporting your efforts, you have to reach back to your life purpose, and remind yourself how far you’ve learned to survive so far.”

It’s scary living on the edge isn’t it?

But it’s much scarier sitting in a valley without any hope that life will be any different today than the one before.

The key to continue living in that nice spot where challenge and purpose meet is to spend as many moments as you can in silence. It’s sitting in quiet and asking the right questions.

There will be times when you won’t hear any answers, but criticism and self-doubt. But if you keep at it, there will be a stronger voice that with certainty says, “You’re on the right path. Keep going.”

And if you don’t hear it, you’ll feel it in your stomach, in the lightness of your chest, in the peace that surrounds your decision, whatever it may be.

Life isn’t easy. It was never meant to be. But if you can stay still, focused and serene while you’re enduring the wave of fear and insecurity, you will eventually move softly to the other side.

That I know for sure.

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How Much Would You Risk for Your Dreams?

Dandelion

As you know from this post, I’ve had a little more free time on my hands lately. Especially since my new blogging job at Beliefnet has been temporarily stalled because of all the increase in traffic that’s been landing there lately (good news for my future, bad news for me now).

On the bright side, I’ve had ample time to work on my dreams: a book I hope to publish one day, a copywriting job, and my latest project (recovering a vintage typewriter I bought and shared on Facebook over the weekend).

Sunshine with a Chance of Crazy

Well in the midst of all my applying, I’ve gotten a surprising number of callbacks and interests. There were at least a handful that made my stomach tingle (you know the feeling you get when you really like someone? That kind).

But here I am, feeling that same doubt. Because I’ve gone and done something super crazy! Crazier than leaving a job for no job in tow. I’ve said, “No” to all of them. Why? Because they’d require a sacrifice I can’t foresee making right now-giving up the freedom and flexibility that comes with freelancing and telecommuting. Am I crazy or what?

I have to admit that turning down jobs, especially writing jobs that I would love, seems not only illogical, but quite frankly a little bit of stupid. But I can’t give up now. I think following your dreams take faith. The kind of faith that makes you walk forward without any certainty that something or someone will catch you if you fall.

If it sounds too crazy for you, think of it this way. If you were single and wanted to find your soul mate, would you get together with each person you met that was available just because they were available? Or would you risk turning a few down because you had faith that you would eventually meet the right person or at least a few date worthy candidates?

What Would You Give Up for Your Dreams?

I heard someone say once that you can have everything you want in life, but not all at one time. What’s required of you to fulfill that dream is to give up something else in return. For some, it’s family over career. For others, it’s a willingness to wait a lifetime in order to finish that book or travel to Europe. But whether it’s time, financial security or stability, it’s worth asking yourself this:

What am I willing to give up for the purpose of pursuing my dreams?

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Surprising Things to Be Grateful For: Part 2

Continued from this post

6. Freedom to say, “Yes.” There are a lot of articles out there that tell you how to forgo your people-pleasing ways by saying, “No.” And I of all people know the importance of doing so. But sometimes instead of automatically saying it, what if we linger a bit? Just like my yoga teacher says in corpse pose. “Lay on your side and stay there for a few minutes before you get up.” Take your time to experience what the question is asking. Take your time to sit with the unknown. Too often we say, “No” to new experiences because of fear, because we’re afraid to open ourselves up to failing, to be uncomfortable or to being vulnerable. Giving yourself time to let the words settle in your mind and body can give you an entirely new perspective and maybe even encourage a new answer, one you weren’t expecting.

7. Mistakes. I have a love-hate relationship with mistakes. My ego hates when they are pointed out. But my soul knows that without them I won’t grow. Mistakes are like tiny little cracks in the earth. They allow the space where new life and thought sprout from. Because of that I’m grateful for them. And while I’m hardly apt to welcome them in my life, I perceive them as signs-signs to show me where I need a little more love, acceptance and self-growth.

8. Imperfections. I am short. My arms are not perfectly straight. My skin’s pale, my hair’s mousy and my voice is quiet and high. But I am grateful for all the things that I wanted to wish away when I was a teen. It’d be hard to label every single imperfection of mind as imperfect because I see how they perfectly make me “me.” If you find something about you that you particularly dislike, maybe you just haven’t found the meaning and beauty behind them yet. I have two crooked pinkies, for example. They make me imperfect, yes. But my great-grandma had them and so does my grandma and my dad. Maybe imperfection isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s being unique.

9. Fear. Fear is almost as bad of a word as the other four-letter F word. No one likes them. In fact, a few try to make them go away. I think all emotions are pure and purposeful if we accept them. They serve a purpose to alert us to danger, to tell us when we’ve gone too far and when we’re on the right track. The thing we need to learn is how to distinguish between real fear and the one that’s been built up from years of criticism, negativity and a lack of self-confidence.

10. Unsought dreams. For they are still in the cue waiting to be discovered, caught and found. What is the point if we have no dreams to pursue? When one dream is gloriously obtained, there waits another. I am above all grateful for this.

11. Unknown. Yes we don’t know what tomorrow brings. Yes we don’t know if that decision we made yesterday was a good one. But the courage it takes to choose when we don’t know is enough of a reason for me to be grateful for this mystery we call life.

What are you grateful for?

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GMDL Day 6: Holding Back

{photo by: Emily Elisabeth Photography}

I might have mentioned once that I work for a site called Psych Central. It’s a wonderful company to be a part of and I am proud to be an Associate Editor. One of the joys I get from working there is getting paid to read the wealth of articles written there.

Holding Back Who We Are

One article in general really got me excited. It was about how we hold back. We hold back who we are out of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being judged. We hold a part of our true selves close to our heart, so no one can see it, ridicule it or take it from us.

It sparked something in me when I read that.

I wonder how much of us are locking up who we really are.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

When you are writing an article, a blog post, a new chapter in your book, are you hiding behind your true words?

When you are chatting with a friend or interacting with a co-worker, are you holding back the best of you in fear of others finding out?

There once a girl who hid behind her words. She through them fast on the page and hid quickly so no one would see her. She pretended to be fine when she was not. She was silent about her real dreams and passions. She was safe. But her talent was undiscovered. She was a gift that no one else knew about.

Is that girl you?

Part of the challenge is to gain more than we are willing to sacrifice. It’s gaining freedom to be who we are by not spending the time and energy being who we are not.

Don’t hold back your feelings when someone asks you. Don’t censor yourself when writing up that post.

Open your heart to the possibility of who you are. Whether you are writing or talking to a loved one, take a chance and be yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Are You Living an Authentic Life? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself


Do you sometimes think you feel empty and not sure why? You’ve got a great job, a loving family and a pretty happy life, but still something’s missing and you just can’t put your finger on what that is.

Well I think I might know the answer.

Take a look around at your life and ask yourself these questions:

1. Who Do You Surround Yourself With? Think about who your friends are. Who you choose as your support system will tell you a lot about yourself. When I think back on my life, the friends that I had at every age of my life reflected what life stage I was in. There’s a reason, for example, why some people are only in your life for a season. A drinking buddy or party all night pal may turn out to be a long-term friend if they’ve grown with you but if not, they’re only fun until you’ve outgrown them and gone on with your life.

2. What Are You Doing With Your Life? Are you happy at the job you’re in? Or are you going through the motions and feeding your unhappiness with food, shopping, video games, etc.? Living your life unconsciously will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of meaning in your life.

3. Are You Living a Lie? Continue reading →

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