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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Making Meaning in 2012

When I reflect back on 2011, I see a bunch of foggy days wrapped up tight, stuffed and oozing out like a burrito from a food truck. It may taste delicious all and all, but the sight…well it ain’t for sore eyes.

In 2012, I want more. I want to rediscover meaning and purpose and passion. I’m tired of settling for status quo. I’m fed up with telling the same story that everyone has told before and continues to tell over and over again. It’s time now to begin authoring my own life.

This bubbling brook began forming months ago. But it was reignited while I was in Sedona and heightened when I returned to Hawaii a week ago. While I was working and attempting to juggle seeing friends and family, I had a profound dream. I don’t remember what it was about or who was in it. But the message was clear:

“You need to survive this so you can write about it.”

The “this” the voice was talking about doesn’t matter. It could be the stress of the holidays, my fears, my health. But the decisiveness of the message and the feeling it left-a sense of hope and inspiration is what’s most important to me.

If you’re feeling worn down and out and have been thirsting to live, not just survive, you understand. You’re ready too.

One of my favorite songs these days is Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine. In it, she sings:

“it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back”

It made me wonder what devils, what fears, negativity, criticisms, are holding us back from living a life of meaning. And can we shake them off if we are aware of them? Will we choose to continue to walk on the same path that’s been cleared for us? And will we die that way? Or will we take a chance and be brave?

Avoiding the Well-Trodden Path

My husband and I went hiking this weekend. But we went late. And the directions on the map were unclear. The quickly setting sun was making my heart palpitate. We were lost. We couldn’t find the well-trodden path and we would soon lose the sun. So we threw our hands in the air, put away that map and made our own path. The experience was scary and yet invigorating. As we walked along the side of the mountain and heard what sounded like owls or cows (they all sound the same in the dark), I realized that all I needed was faith and intuition. We’ve gotten dependent on our technological tools to guide us. Perhaps the answer to living a more meaningful life lies inside of us. Perhaps we had our own inner map all along. But we’ve lost in along the way with cell phones and GPS, with cars, with experts telling us what to do. We gave up the thrill of our lives for the stability of a non-life.

If you want to live with meaning in 2012, toss that map you have in front of you. Take a risk. Follow your heart not your wallet. Yes it will be scary. Yes there will be bumps in the road. Yes there will be cows and owls and scarier things to persuade you to stop and get back on the “right” track. And you can choose to live that way. But since we only have this one life right now, why not consider just for a moment, what your life could be like…if you just took a chance?

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