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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The Top Posts for 2011

{discovered on Pinterest. originally from lokal54.com.}

We’re sliding into 2012. But before we go, I thought I’d countdown the end of the year with a countdown of my top 10 inspiring posts. Great for the new The Inspiring Bee reader and for those who’ve stuck around when my blog was just a free little thing called 2inspired. Since then I’ve made a whole lot of new friends, had my tweet published in this book, got a new column for The Writer magazine on inspiration, had my articles published in magazines, gained new copywriting projects including writing for Walmart Labs, was made associate editor for Psych Central, and all in all just been tickled pink and filled with gratitude for all social media has brought me. And they say it’s nothing, but a waste of time.

Thank you for all who stuck by me, commented here and there and supported me when I was just starting out. And Happy New Year! May your 2012 be even brighter than 2011.

1. When You’re Feeling Uninspired

Don’t let the 0 tweet counter fool you. This one was by far the number one post ever. Maybe there’s a lot of you feeling uninspired now. It’s a timely one to read before the end of the year to help shake you out of your rut for 2012.

2. Commit No Nuisance

I wrote this one on my way back from London where I was fascinated by their use of signs like this one. Don’t you love it when you find a parallel between what’s going on inside to what you’re finding outside in the world?

3. How to Invite More Possibility and Synchronicity in Your Life

This is one of my favorite posts. And I guess it was yours too. It reminds me about how magical life can be, if we only take the time open our eyes and see. If you’re feeling hopeless, this one will fill you back up with hope.

4. Fear is a Common Denominator in Following Your Calling

Talking about synchronicity, a big one fell into my lap after reading a book called Callings by author Gregg Levoy. I truly heart that book and after reading it, I was curious about the author. A 5-minute Google search later and I discovered he was going to be giving a talk 15 minute minutes away from my house the next night. I jumped at the chance and wrote about the experience here. It inspired my first and only callings event listed below.

5. Callings Group Event

This is the event I talked about with my biggest comment count ever. I thoroughly enjoyed helping out a fellow freelancer in this post. And if you follow her on Twitter, then you know how well she’s doing half a year later.

That’s my top 5 wrap-up. Have a good one!

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Find the Clues to Your Future in the Crumbs of Your Past

via pinmarklet on Pinterest. the original's from joannapallaris.com.

 

An old friend recently contacted me. {If you’re reading dear friend, thanks for connecting.} He asked me if I remembered telling him 7 years ago that he needed to be more present, more mindful of this moment.

I laughed when I heard that. That sounded so “me-in-my-twenties.” I was so sure of myself then. But at the time my self-concept rested thinly on what I thought I knew about life-all twenty-something years of it. What I know now is that I don’t know anything for sure and knew even less then.

But it was also pertinent for another reason. He reminded me that I’ve always been kind of self-help-ish and new-agey. My favorite section of a bookstore was the self-help psychology section. I used to unashamedly sit my bottom down on the worn carpet peering into books on self-growth. I hardly cared if anyone saw me reading them. My passion was improving myself. And I was on a mission.

I used to keep a journal filled entirely with quotes from books I read. In fits of inspiration, I would read my thoughts, poems, and inspiring quotes to my co-worker. Stuck in a two-person office including me, he was forced to be my sole audience.

 

I Was a Wild Child

But then I went even further back in my memory. I thought about being my rebellious 10 year old self. I was a little wild child with a knack for coming up with “brilliant” stories that I made up on impulse, annoying friends and family with them.

When the school bell rang, I would run through the grass until my legs were covered with welts from the brush rubbing against my skin. I would lay down flat then and stare up at the sky. Those were the moments I released my imagination and let it free.

I was such a creator as a child. I made Christmas ornaments out of felt, created my first children’s story hand-drawn pictures and all, got my poem published in our news bulletin and won an award for my science project. I was an average student, but when it came to anything that involved creativity, my heart soared. It was a glorious feeling!

The funny thing is I never once thought about any of these memories when I was stressed out in my 20s trying to figure out my dreams.

 

I Used My Left-Brain to Decide My Life and Failed

I spent hour after hour researching jobs. I took an extra year getting my BA because I changed my major several times (Business, Environmental Studies) before I settled on an English major with a Ethnic Studies minor. Even at that age I was conflicted between wanting to follow my dreams and feeling the pressure to make money.

 

Life Lessons

These experiences taught me a few things about figuring out what you’re meant to do in life. I learned that if I had just spent more time analyzing my past, I would have had the clues I needed to find my future.

What I needed to do was work on the psychological factors that were preventing me from seeing them. This meant dealing with my fear of rejection as being a creative person, altering my belief that I couldn’t write for a living and facing all the negative baggage that I had accumulated about who I was and what I could do. It was a long way from that little girl who used to watch billowing clouds float in the limitless sky. But had I known she had the secret key to unlocking my dreams, I would have gone to her sooner.

Lost about your own purpose in life?

Follow the crumbs of your past. Think about what you spent all your time doing, what your strengths were, what activities you got most lost in. When you go in search of your childhood passion, you find your future.

 

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Shake Off the Grind with Joe Wilner

I call him the inspirational expert because life coach, speaker, and writer Joe Wilner blogs to inspire others. You know, kind of like what I strive to do here. I became enamored with his writing first from Psych Central where he writes Adventures in Positive Psychology. And then fell in love with his personal development blog Shake Off the Grind.

Because his writing hits so close to home for me, I wanted to bring him over to The Inspiring Bee. I knew that his ability to empower others to find meaning in their lives was a gift. And I wanted to share that gift with you.

In this Q&A, Wilner chats about his blog and about following your dreams. Read it and be inspired!

What do you think is the number 1 thing that holds people back from following their dreams?

I think a general fear of failure is the main factor. This may stem from believing that our dreams can’t become a reality, or that real talent is something we’re born with instead of something we practice and develop through hard work. I also believe that somewhere along the way people are told they aren’t good enough and this can really have an impact on their confidence and willingness to even try.

What can they do to remedy that?
In order to push past our self-imposed limits we can learn to take calculated risks and start to do things that initially caused us fear. Little by little we can start taking bigger steps, and we can actually start to enjoy taking risks. It becomes a way to engage in life.

We can begin to examine our belief system and what core beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world, and how these are impacting us is crucial. At some point or another we will all need to challenge our assumptions and reposition certain beliefs in order to free ourselves from limits that have been imposed upon us from our environment and past mistakes.

What may surprise people about being successful and achieving their dreams?

In my opinion, uncovering what success really means to someone can offer surprising insights. You might find out that what you truly value and desire isn’t what you expected. It can be sort of staggering at first to really grab a hold of our life’s mission and purpose, and people need to recognize the amount of effort and self-discovering this can take. Becoming in touch with our purpose and meaning is a process, but a very worthwhile one.

Who/what do you find inspiring?

I find it inspiring when people are doing what they love and living life to the fullest. I really admire people who can fearlessly approach life and follow their passions. I also find great inspiration from people who are truly happy. I think we can all find greater happiness and learn to live with passion. I strive to do this in my life and love when I see this happening for others. It offers me encouragement that I can do the same.

What helped you in your life find your purpose? What obstacles did you have to overcome to get where you are today?

There was a time when I was very insecure and uncomfortable with who I was and where my life was headed. I was settling for less even though I had big dreams. I didn’t think my dreams could be a reality. Little by little though, through much soul searching and the help of extraordinary people, I learned that there is always more possible then we first realize. It just takes continual growth and a willingness to push past our limits.

I really had to explore my personal beliefs and start developing a mission, vision, and values statement. I needed to discover where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. I feel I’m on this track, at least for now. ?

How did you come up with Shake Off the Grind? Can you tell us a little bit about you and your website?

Shake Off the Grind was started initially to focus on professional development and to help people uncover their calling or dream vocation. It still incorporates this theme, but has adapted to focus more on pushing past self-imposed limits and developing the courage and faith to live a life of purpose and meaning. I write about what I find inspiring in my life and try to share this with others to offer inspiration and empowerment. I really want to help people realize they can do more than they believe, and really work to uncover their potential. SOTG is a place to find continued support, encouragement, and inspiration to stay resilient and focused on living the life you desire.

Didn’t I tell you he was inspiring? Thanks to Joe Wilner for offering up his wisdom and insight to help inspire others to live a meaningful and purpose-filled life. The life they were meant to live.

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Finding Your Calling from Miss O

I need to wipe the tears off my face.

I finally faced the final episode of the Oprah Show. Talk about courage right?

I have been in denial since the beginning of the 25th season. And now with only reruns to watch, I decided it was time to confront my fear of endings and finally say goodbye to O.

As I watched, I was moved, touched, overwhelmed and of course inspired.

It reminded me why I decided to create a blog in the first place. It reminded me of why I wanted to write. And it validated my calling to help you find yours.

If you were like me and avoided watching because you weren’t ready to say goodbye or maybe you’re just not a Oprah fan like me, you should watch this. Click on the photo below to watch the inspiring 5 minute video.

Don’t waste anymore time. Start embracing the light that is calling and use your life to serve the world.” – Oprah Winfrey

*Pssst…it’s been way too long since I changed my services page. If you’re interested in working together on a writing project, a video or any other inspiring creative endeavor, go here.

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Signs You’re Not Living Your Purpose

I know someone who’s been doing the same job for almost 20 years, but recently told me he’s never felt like he was on the right track.

Hopefully, that’s not you.

Hopefully, you don’t have to spend two decades walking in one direction before you stop to realize that you have been on the wrong one.

Here are a few signs taken from the Callings talk I went to a few weeks ago. {Yep, I’m still reaping benefit from that event.}

Signs You’re On the Wrong Path

1. You spend much of your days thinking, planning and studying about your dreams.

That sounds like a good thing right? All that preparation means you’re going somewhere.

In reality, you could be stalling. If you find yourself signing up for webinars, classes, booking consultants and experts to help you, you may be unconsciously keeping yourself busy so you don’t have time to take action and start pursuing your dreams. You may be waiting for the perfect moment to do A, B, or C. But there really is no perfect time.


2. You choose a path that’s parallel to the one you’re called towards.

You’re an editor, for example, who really wants to write for a living. Or you work in a bookstore instead of writing a book. You may be a seamstress who dreams of being a fashion designer. Or an art buyer rather than an artist. Think about what you do for a living. Could you be slightly off track? Are you in a job where you are watching those you want to be like succeed while safely standing out of the limelight?


3. You’re a workaholic.

People who spend all of their waking hours working or worried about work may be doing so because it feels safer than thinking about what they really want to do in life, but aren’t doing. Being a workaholic is a great distraction, a way to keep yourself busy that you don’t have time to pay attention to what really needs your attention.This could be your kids. This could be the book you’ve always wanted to write.

If any of these sounds like you, take heart.

There are a few things you can do:

  • Start easy. If you’re thinking of starting a business or trying out a new creative venture, start by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people. Begin with easy customers, not tough ones. This means you shouldn’t ask your cynical uncle what he thinks about your plans to open up a new craft business or your pessimistic pal about your latest design idea. Find people who are optimistic and supportive. You will need them especially to have the courage to go through the long haul to get to your dreams.
  • Take small steps. Because the road to following your calling feels so scary, it’s important to take small steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself at the beginning. Just quitting that day job or calling potential clients can be enough to make you want to give up. So start small. Make weekly, monthly even daily goals for yourself that look like this: 1) create a list of potential clients to contact 2) buy file folders and a new notebook to keep track of all of your expenses and potential projects/ideas 3) set up a website 4) contact 1 customer/client.
  • Form a community to help you. No one becomes successful by doing things on their own. You can hire a designer to help you design your web page or find a mentor to give you advice and encouragement to follow your path. Ask your relative who is an entrepreneur how they got started. Or contact a Twitter or Facebook friend and ask if they can give you some tips.

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom that helped you go from dreaming to living your dream career? Did this post resonate with you? Are you living a life parallel to your dreams? Share your thoughts below.

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Callings Group Event

{flickr photo by: Coach O.}

Want to Be a Part of an Exciting New Challenge?

A few weeks ago I attended a talk by Callings author Gregg Levoy. If you are a TIB blog reader, you know that I can’t stop talking about that book.

Anyway, during the event we got into groups of 8 and conducted a little interactive exercise of our own.

One person asked a question that they had about finding their purpose in life and the rest of us listened intently.

One by one we asked questions to our focal person. Questions that inspired thought and derived from curiosity, not from judgement or our own agendas. In the end, the person asking the question felt heard and begin to see her dilemma in a new light.

Call me crazy, but I thought we could try doing it here.

With butterflies in my tummy, I asked if anyone was interested. And I got a few responses.

Today’s the day to try it.

We have one focal person (Amber) who will ask the question today at 2pm PT and anyone who is interested can leave a comment below with a corresponding question.

Amber can answer each question and elaborate on them if she wants to. And she can ask for advice in the end.

Hope you will join us today for the event!

Leave me a comment if you have any questions about the questions.

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