How to Save the World and Yourself

red_coatWe encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to discover what makes a product or service unique so they can stand out from the competition.

Yet, as kids we’re raised to shave down our individuality so we can fit in and belong. It’s not good to be too smart or too funny. It’s not good to be different. If we sparkle a little too much, we make others uncomfortable.

But to be successful in the world (and I mean in every definition of the word) we need to be genuine. We need to find the thing we have that others don’t because that’s what the world is starving for.

We need less John and Jane Does and more Sabrinas and Zeniths.

We need people who are courageous enough to embrace their strengths.

If I want anything for my children, it is to know what makes them weird makes them special.

You could spend years trying to replicate someone else’s success. But you will find your own when you free yourself.

That inner soul who loves to sing, draw, dance or stand up for people’s rights, make others laugh or write poetry in a delightfully odd way, that’s the missing piece of your own puzzle. That’s the gift you were given. It’s what the world hasn’t yet seen. So we need you to be brave enough to risk showing it.

My favorite lines from The Neverending Story:

The Childlike Empress: Bastian. Why don’t you do what you dream, Bastian?
Bastian: But I can’t, I have to keep my feet on the ground!
The Childlike Empress: Call my name. Bastian, please! Save us!
Bastian: All right! I’ll do it! I’ll save you! I will do what I dream!

Dear readers,

Please face your fears. Stand up for yourself. Believe in your dreams.

We’re all waiting for you to discover it, recover it and reveal it to the world.

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Poem: How Others See Me

Flower

If you asked a relative/friend/acquaintance about me, they may not say it, but inside they’d think it. To them, I am a failure because…

I am not a lawyer,

a doctor,

a primary income provider.

I talk LOUDLY when I should be soft

and TOO softly when I should be loud.

I’m rude

and inappropriate

I don’t ask

but I ask too much.

I give when I feel like it

I take unnecessarily.

But inwardly and quietly

my soul sits knowingly.

For all they see is the external me,

and that’s unfortunate

because though I may burp aloud,

curse under my breath

sing and shout

I love DEEPLY

I feel wholeheartedly

I hurt exquisitely

I give sincerely

And I am me,

flawed, untraditional, impolite, but

authentically me.

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It’s Not About Finding Your Purpose

Accepting who you are warts and all

When I started this blogging journey, it was all about my writing. I wanted a place to pursue my passion. I wanted an arena to showcase my work and a venting spot to unleash my unexpressed writing dream. Since then, I’ve moved to Hawaii, bought a house, suffered from a few chronic illnesses and had a baby. Through it all, I realized the journey has molded my intention rather than the other way around. Instead of a place to inspire creativity and to get more writing gigs, it opened up my soul. It’s not just about finding our purpose or living our dreams. It’s about loving your life and finding a way to accept wherever we are in the process. It’s about self-acceptance. Patience. Faith. And courage.

I realized this because I found myself getting too attached to external circumstances. How many people were viewing my blog? How many freelance writing jobs was I getting? Was my work good enough?

Understandable questions to ask when striving for freelance writing success. But it was the meaning I placed on professional achievement and positive feedback that was wonky. Success, attention, like Lady Gaga’s new song, Applause, should not equal self-worth.

Doing well in your profession is important. Never giving up on your dreams is important. But more than anything else, our goal in life should be to find ways to love our self.

Basing who you are and your value on feedback from others or from success will inevitably deplete you. What nourishes our soul, what we’re really looking for, isn’t temporary validation through external sources. What lasts longer than a complement is the belief that regardless of what we accomplish, our lives mean something.

And that doesn’t have to mean BIG, grand, dramatic things. Just because your neighbor, a Facebook friend or a relative has done something so fabulous it leaves your life seem boring and worthless in comparison, doesn’t mean your less valuable than them. Just because you haven’t found “it” yet (great job, relationship, etc.), doesn’t mean you should walk around with your head down and your voice squelched.

It’s not about what you do that matters. You matter because you are here.

The secret is not in uncovering what will make us shine. The secret is that we don’t know we’re worthy of shining.

If we could all take that in on a deep level, the world would be a kinder, more loving, compassionate place to live. When we’re not trying to convince others of our worthiness, we’re ourselves. Being authentically you and feeling good in your own skin are the ways to happiness.

And your true calling?

It will find you on that path.

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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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