The Surprising Trick to Figure Out Your Life Purpose

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What if the key to discovering your true purpose lied hidden, placed somewhere you never looked?

What if it’s not in your strengths that reveal your passion, but your weaknesses?

Is it possible that the qualities you thought were your worst traits are actually your strongest?

Could it be that others have deemed them misgivings because they are intimidated by them?

Maybe you’re not bossy, but you have leadership qualities that are not being taken advantage of.

Maybe your indecisiveness is a consequence of being compassionate and your flightiness is the result of unused creativity.

Think about all the things you’re trying to hide in your life out of fear you’ll be rejected. Maybe those are the very characteristics that would lead to your true purpose.

If you release your fear of being judged (*and your need to judge others) you might just discover the “you” that the world needs.

Chew on that in 2016.

*Addition via Cathy’s comment below.

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5 Things You Don’t Want But Need

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

We spend a lot of time (too much of it actually) focusing on all the things we want.

We want a new car,

a house,

a 4-person family,

a new job,

a spa day,

a luxurious trip…

Over the holidays, it’s even easier to fantasize about all the things we could have. Some of us have dreams as BIG as Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

What we rarely spend time dreaming about, however, are the things we really need. This post is dedicated to that.

During this holiday season, I hope you’ll savor a few moments, drinking in the nectar of these:

1) L o V e:

Love comes not from material things. You can’t get it from your wallet or download it like an app. It takes a good deal of time and work. But it’s as necessary as the air you breathe.

2)  Silence:

Everywhere we go there’s noise. When we’re in the city, there’s traffic. When we go out of the city, there’s white noise from our smartphones, TVs and computers. Go out a little further away and sit in silence. It will feel unnerving, even painfully quiet at first. But then your ears will rest in the place where you and your soul can finally meet. Then you will hear the trees. Then you will know the answers you have been waiting for.

3) K~i~n~d~n~e~s~s:

We’re too busy to be kind. We’re too important, too fancy, too smart…There’s not enough time to be kind, courteous, or civil. You have a list of wants to run after. But you do disservice to the world and yourself when you choose to be short instead of kind. Kindness begets more kindness. Change yourself. Change the world.

4) W*o*n*d*e*r

A little wonder can change your life. You don’t think you need it, but over time a lack of wonder will age you. It will grow cracks in your heart. It will cover your eyes. It will make you see life as mundane, as routine, as required, expected. You take life for granted. You start to miss out on the magic. Breed wonder. Kill routine.

5) Vulnerability:

The dreaded V-word. We spend a lifetime running away from it to avoid disappointment, hurt, pain. But in escaping we also flee from love, excitement and the sweetness of connection. It takes a courageous heart to venture into the world of vulnerability. But once we open to it, our lives open up as well.

What will you be dreaming about in 2014?

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Embrace Your Weirdness

{Etsy journal by WordsIGiveBy}

{Etsy journal by WordsIGiveBy}

I spent the majority of my youth, shying away from what made me weird. I hated to stick out from the crowd so I used of a great deal of energy trying my best to dumb it down.

Boy do I wish I hadn’t done that.

When age allowed me the freedom to be my weird self, I realized that what made me unique was a gift, not a weakness. If everyone was the same, life would be boring, if not, impossible. It’s the things that separate us as people that helps us to survive, thrive and to be human. In fact, if you can hone in on what it is about you that sets you apart from a friend or neighbor, you might discover the key to your life’s purpose.

On Oprah’s Master Class, Diahann Carroll says the following about her childhood:

“I was being singled out. I was being, ‘Who does she think she is?’ kind of. It’s part of why people respond to you. It’s seeing the need you have to share whatever you have that makes you special. The unkind things that they say and do, it’s because you threaten them. Your responsibility is to find out why do you think you’re special and is it something that you can pursue and where will you find your support group? We always criticize each other first.”

Her advice is key to finding and fulfilling your passion. To figure it out, you must first devote time to discovering what people criticize you most about. What are they talking about when they ask, “What makes you think you can do this when no one else can?” It’s this type of feedback which feels harsh and judgmental that can signal you to what you were really meant to do in life.

Although I didn’t feel this way at the time, I now am grateful for those people in my life. It reminded me that I did have something to offer the world. My gift bubbled up to the surface because of the people who pointed it out.

As Marianne Williamson has been quoted as saying many times over: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

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Ingredients for a Successful Life

"Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

“Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

When I reflect upon the almost 7 years I have been a freelance writer, the biggest hurdle had less to do with my professional experience than my personal struggles. In fact, success often deals with the latter.

Of course you need experience, a little bit of talent and much hard work to be successful. But often what stands in the way of most individual’s success is what they believe to be true about themselves.

In 2006 and earlier, I had an overwhelming desire to write. I asked for a typewriter for Christmas. I wrote down my own stories on little pieces of paper. I composed poetry as a kid. It pushed me to get a BA in English, but after college I just didn’t think I had the skills, talent or ability to get hired.

I skirted around my career, went into research because it felt comfortable and then psychology instead. I’m grateful for that experience. It gave me the confidence and courage to deal with a lot of the inner shadows that were clouding my work.

It took time, patience, resilience and the foresight to follow my calling. Along the way I picked up a lot of negativity about my desired career. I realized these words were just external versions of what I was telling myself every day. You may be familiar with some of them:

“You’re never going to make it.”

“You’re not smart enough.”

“Who do you think you’re kidding?”

“If so and so can’t do it, why do you think you can?”

Those words prevented me from trusting my instincts. It beat me up from the inside out. Even when I was getting writing opportunities, I ended up sabotaging them. How could I not when I essentially believed I didn’t have what it takes to do it?

Fast-forward to 2013. Since then, I am continually surprised with the doors that have opened for me. Recently, I started writing for Intuit’s Small Business blog and signed a contract with a greeting card company. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work as a freelance copywriter for several online retailers and I have been writing for local and regional publications and been an online columnist for The Writer magazine, Psych Central and Beliefnet.

That wouldn’t have happened to me if I continued on the road to self-sabotage, negativity and perfectionism. It took constantly beefing up my critical mind with positivity. I had to work on being cognizant of what and who I was allowing in my life and how it was impacting me personally and professionally.

Essentially, what I learned can be valuable to those of you seeking your own success in life. I realized that when we change how we view ourselves on the inside, we change our external world.

It’s not an easy process especially if you’ve been brought up to believe the worse in yourself. It will take time. But know this…

The fact that you are here means you have an important purpose. Don’t let your past, critical people or your own negative voice prevent you from fulfilling what you are meant to do.

There is only one of you. Celebrate it! Share who you are with the world and you will see the gifts unwrap in front of you.

Don’t squander your talent, hide your true self or shy away from your voice. The world will benefit from you being uniquely you. Let me tell you-as you sit doubting yourself, we are all desperately waiting for you to reveal it.

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Why Passion Is Important

{PB antique frame from The Inspiring Bee}

{Pottery Barn antique frame. photo by: The Inspiring Bee}

You’re doing okay. Well even. You got a roof over your head, a steady job, great friends and a loving partner. That’s enough reason to be happy.

But what if you’re not?

What if there’s a part of you that feels unfulfilled, empty, resentful, even angry?

You have everything you need, but nothing you want.

Is it worth giving up security in search of serenity?

Hell yeah it is!

You know why?

What you think is safe is just an illusion. We build up walls to prevent us from getting hurt or disappointed. But in life, there’s no real way to be truly protected.

And if you knew the truth, you wouldn’t want to be protected anyway.

The worst thing in life isn’t making a full of yourself or being jobless. These things are difficult to endure. But at the end of the day, what you will regret most is the life you haven’t live.

As we’re in the process of still moving, I’m finding bits and pieces of my past. An old report card, a yellow-stained newspaper with articles I wrote, essays from my college days. After thumbing through each one, I was filled with a sense of awe. Not because the writing was that great (it was not), but because it took me so long to discover what I already knew intuitively. I’m a writer and have always been one.

Passion is important in life.

Don’t let anyone tell you something different. A passionless life breeds pain, misery and disappointment, more than any risk to fulfill your dreams would. Your journey is meant to be filled with sacrifice, uncertainty and disappointment. Those are not reasons to give up. They are reasons to keep on chugging along.

You will eventually get there if you keep trying. The only guarantee that you won’t get there is if you give up.

The photo above is taken from our new place. I ingested a little life art (a wooden branch found while hiking) into an antique frame I picked up from Pottery Barn. To me it represents passion. Passion is freedom. It cannot be caged. It is living, breathing art that deserves attention, respect and perspective.

What will you sacrifice in your life to gain a piece of passion?

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Use Magic to Find Meaning In Your Life

There is something magical about this moment.

It’s the only one you’ll ever have.

Whether you’re grieving over a loss, bored out of your mind, or simply enjoying the ordinariness of this moment, if you can take the time to appreciate how fleeting it all is, you’ll find meaning in your life.

As I sit here on the bare floor writing pen in hand, I am listening to the rain while observing my 7-year-old mini lop bunny hopping around me and pushing his soft nose in my chubby knees. It’s a thing to marvel at. Maybe you don’t find anything magical about a person and their rabbit journaling maybe self-indulgently about their life. But that’s just because you don’t see what I see.

Magical moments are not simply ones that make dreams transpire out of nothing, but being able to notice the moment without being so busy you let it all pass you by.

When life feels uninspiring and void of meaning it’s because you’ve drained it of its magic. You tell yourself:

“I know everything.”

“I’ve seen everything.”

You’ve become closed to age and time. And being the weary-traveler, you shut yourself out to anything new, any potential for possibility in your life.

When you shut out magic, you open the door to a meaningless life.

Your life isn’t meant to be strictly a huge to-do list of insurmountable tasks and brag worthy accomplishments. It’s meant to flourish, to savor, to share love and joy, to teach and to live. When you’re closed off to chance and live by the book, you leave little room for all the good things in life like hope, courage, and faith.

According to Dictionary.com, magic is:

“the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.;”

What appears to be deceptive is our own mind. In order to allow magical moments in we need to adopt the child’s mind, the ability not to know everything. And be okay with it. When we assume to know everything and make our way only with numbers, statistics and research to back it all up, we don’t leave room for chance. And chance is where things like magic, luck, serendipity and pure joy comes in.The reason why we won’t move forward unless we got a lot of left-brained thinking to back it up is fear. Being vulnerable reminds us of being shamed as a kid or foolish as a teen and no one wants to regrettably say, “I should have done that instead.”

But the only way to build up a meaningful life is to open yourself up to vulnerable moments. It’s walking in the rain without an umbrella. It’s moving courageously in the direction of your dreams rather than waiting for the “right” time.

If you’re truly searching for more meaning in your life, you’re going to need to get good at listening within. You’re going to have to forgo the outside chatter that says, “You’ll regret that,” or “You’re making a bad decision,” or “You’ll never do it,” and you’ll have to do it anyway.

You’re going to have to sit still enough to hear and appreciate that inner voice. You’re going to have to take chances when you were to fearful to do so in the past. It will take courage, patience and a lot of doubtful moments. But if you continue on the path despite all obstacles, you will find it. You will again return to the space that I’m currently in-quiet moment, wave of acceptance, gratitude and an unwavering openness to the unknown, fear on your back and eyes set forward.

It’s no way an easy place to be. But I promise you this…here you will find meaning.

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Finding Your Life’s Purpose

I used to think that finding your purpose was as impossible as finding your keys on a busy morning. It was something you couldn’t do on your own. And it had to involve a little hair pulling and be stress inducing.

So I did that. I confronted it the way I did any problem. I used my left brain, researching like crazy, spending hours in bookstores and libraries pouring over job descriptions in the hope that I would eventually find my answer.

Of course, I didn’t find it. Because digging for truth from external resources never gets you to where you want to go. The only way to find out what you were meant to do is listen. You already know.

{I took that frame with my iPhone so forgive the wavy lines.}

The moment we’re desperately seeking something we’re forgetting our own inner wisdom. The intuitive voice that says, “Remember how you used to love creating stories when you were a kid,” or “think about all the time you spend taking pictures as a teen.” It’s that little spark of energy you feel when you’re doing something you thoroughly love. It’s the activities that make you feel like you’re in the flow. It’s an experience that years after it happened touched you and now you’re changed forever.

A dream isn’t something that needs to be discovered. A dream is already there.

It could have been planted as a seed from the time you were born or it could have grew into an entirely different plant as you’ve gotten older.

Your dreams are an already existing garden. Why haven’t you found it yet? You’ve let the weeds grow over your passion because of time, fear, and the dream killers who you’ve allowed to dictate your life.

If you’re feeling lost, stuck, confused about what you want to do with the rest of your life, stop asking others for help. Stop perusing the career section in your local bookstore. Instead, peer down into your neglected past. Remember your roots and nourish the moments that you used to love, but forgot about. Cultivate your passions and you will eventually rediscover that garden and those precious seeds you planted as a child.

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