Updated: May 22
One of my most favorite things to do these days is to watch YouTube shorts. My friends and family can definitely attest to this. If I see a clip that I like and gives me a chuckle, I am sending it to them in their inboxes. I have long since stopped trying to figure out why. I have simply accepted that I am wired to reach out and help others or at least bring them joy even if only for 10 to 15 seconds.
My mind now drifts to where we are in the stream of time. We started a whole new year a short 30 days ago. Even though we do have one more day left in this month, honestly, we can stick a fork in January-it's done. On to month two of 2022. As I reflect on the news media (academic pundits, politic pundits, journalist) they have all planted their seeds of what we are to make of 2022. So far, there is more coronavirus, Russia-Ukraine conflict, worker shortages, and gas troubles. I try my best to tune it out. In fact, my TV is on mute most days to drown out the noise until it is time to catch the weather and 1 or 2 of my shows (This Is Us or New Amsterdam).
As we move out of January and into February, I would like for us to plant one more seed. Yours. As you reflect over January 2022, what are your biggest takeaways to guide your 2022? My own answer to this question is simple. I want to coach, counsel, educate, and bring laughter. That's it. When I think of empowerment of both myself and others, this is my sole purpose that makes my spirit sing and soar. What's yours?
We cannot undo any of the past. I can say with all sincerity that 2020 and 2021 have left their fair share of scars on me. If the clips I catch here and there are any indication, 2022 is gearing up with much the same fear-based language. However, we all must make a resolute decision to not be crippled by fear. We can only live as fully, safely, and as authentically as we can.
Where is your life going? It's a loaded question because none of us can truly know the answer. Chance circumstances happen to us all- some within our control, some outside of our control. I guess maybe the better question would be, "Where would you like your life to go?" We all have a special purpose to fulfill that gives our lives a sense of completeness. For some people it is raising a family. For others it is having a fulfilling career or have a lot of money. When I think of a few of the people in my local community whom I have come into contact with, they'd say that their life's purpose is to make a contribution to their community (Eternal Happiness Foundation Inc.); to develop and express their artistic talent (Evolved Artz); to complete educational goals and using what was learned to serve others (MVM Senior Companion Services LLC); or to take educational training to empower others to nurture their mind and bodies in new, exciting ways (Healthy Keys LLC).
Realizing what gives your life meaning and purpose benefits both your life as well as others. Discovering our personal meaning shifts us beyond concerns of personal security and satisfaction and towards meaningful contribution to our community and society as a whole. So how to get there? First determine for yourself what your most important values are. It could be:
Happy Family Life
Peace of Mind
Dedication to a social cause
Once you have determined what is most important to you be intentional about getting there.
Understand schooling ends but learning never stops.
Unlike with our physical bodies, personal growth does not just automatically happen. With our physical bodies, we wake up a little taller each day or a little wider. We do almost nothing. This process happens on autopilot. We would assume then that as we grow older, we get wiser. However, this isn't the case and personal growth doesn't happen automatically. You have to keep it going. Even after formal education ends, we have to pick up the mantel and continue our growth process.
Understand you may not know how; and that's okay.
It's a hard knocks life for us. Many of the most valuable life lessons are learned this way. Unfortunately, they take away a lot of valuable time and often leave behind emotional scars. Life doesn't have a "if this, then this," instruction manual which means we all do the absolute best we can. However, when we do the work to determine our personal meaning, our next step is to map out how to get there. We don't know what we don't know and when we realize we don't know, we ask for help. Get a coach, mentor, or psychotherapist and get the help growing in the direction we want and desire to go. If we cannot afford a paid mentor, look at free resources (podcasts, YouTube, TedTalks).
Understand the "right" time to begin doesn't exist.
I cannot count the number of times I have missed opportunities because I hesitated. Waiting on optimal conditions to take a chance, to start. It is so easy to get stuck in the when/then cycle. Truth is this, you will never get much done unless you go ahead and do it before you are ready. Find your passion. Find your mentor/coach/therapist/resource and start.
Understand perfectionism is poison.
We all are looking for the best way to do XYZ and then we will start. I have been guilty. This blog being a prime example. I have been planning this off and on for 2 years now. I was fearful of making mistakes. I was fearful I didn't have a solid plan. I was comparing what I had to put out with what was already out there and shutting the door in my own face. Truth is I was right on all accounts. I am making mistakes I am sure of it. I still don't have a solid plan (whatever that is). Other coaches have much larger followings, with content that flows more easily, and enough content to recycle because they have been doing it longer. This will forever be the case unless I go ahead and start now. The more I wait, the more my fears were right. It's the same for you my dear reader. Whatever excuse you have come up with, you are probably right. You will continue to be right and your dreams will die until you stop sipping the poison of doubt and perfectionism. There is no perfect way. There is no "right" way. Focus on doing no harm to others. Focus on upbuilding. Focus on joy and all the little things that make your spirit aglow. Do it scared and do it imperfect.
BONUS: Usually I save exercises for paid sessions. But here is a freebie because getting you started on your life's purpose means just that much to me. Look at the list in the table I provided above. Find yourself a quiet, calm place where you will not be interrupted. Choose one of the scenarios. Now I want you to write about it. Filling in as much detail as possible. What does your life look like if you were to realize your unique life's purpose of ____________. Where are you living? Where are you working or are you working at all? Who is with you? What activities make up a typical day for you? How does your body feel when you visualize it? Read over it three times per day and visualize it. Or if you prefer, record it in your voice and listen to it three times per day visualizing the scene you have set.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Until next time.
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~William James
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