(This post is a lot about finding your purpose, and a little about finding and pressing flowers from a mediterranean garden, which, if you think about it, is kind of the same thing).
I received the sweetest message this week, and it said this;
you are living your life in a very inspirational way and that you would be very proud of the example you are setting to your children. It’s very hard to 1, know what you want to do with your life and 2, to make it happen (I’m still trying!)
And it really got me thinking.
Let’s be honest here. I don’t think most of us do know what we want to do with our lives. Me included. We have some idea of things we would love to achieve, do, create; but what we want to do with our whole, entire lives??
We are just figuring it out as we go. And that’s ok.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t ambitious, and that you aren’t destined for success (whatever that means to you). It doesn’t mean you are indecisive, flaky, weird, and that you’re not ‘fulfilling your potential’
(I believe I’m not the only person to detest that term. Along with that typical question you get asked when meeting somebody new ‘so what do you do?’ which I think bears the sole responsibility for the weight we carry daily which says we must DO something, be a SOMEBODY, when actually, the only person you need to be is you and the only thing we really need to DO is to stop worrying about what it is we are supposed to be doing).
My day looks wildly different every day. Today I’ve been picking flowers and pressing them with the girls and running around the garden after them with my camera and writing this post and uploading trainings and buying domain names and practicing yoga.
I don’t think that fits into a definition at all of what I ‘do for a living’.
Someone asked me this question the other day and I kind of stumbled over words like author, coach, blog, write, make things, photographer, creative and in the end came out encourager of women, none of which sounded particularly solid or tangible.
And to say I’m ME just sounds a bit pedantic really doesn’t it? And also a bit nonsensical. People you talk to over dinner can see quite clearly that you are you.
More important than what we DO, is who we are. It’s within that we find meaning. It’s in that, we find our way, whatever that looks like, of instigating and creating change.
But that also sounds a bit fluffy. And sometimes we want more direction and guidance in uncovering our purpose and finding out where to head next, so check this out.
These are some powerful questions that I have been considering over the past few years to get deeper into my purpose and what it really means to know what it is you want to do with your life.
1. What do you want to become KNOWN for? So if you were stood with a megaphone on the street, and it was your last day on earth, what would you want to tell people?
(good if you have kids) what is the one thing you would want your daughter (or son) to know and / or believe?
Take paper, pen. Write down a list of all responses that come to mind. Mine included notes on being vegetarian, the current state of the education system, vaccinations / the commercialisation of the medical industry, God, natural parenting, but ultimately it came down to these things;
You can do anything. Love is everything. Believe you can.
Which for me I eventually figured out meant that I want to encourage others and that Love is the root of all things,
but for you it might mean you are a spiritual warrior, or an artist, or a healer, or someone who cares deeply about the planet, or animal welfare, or someone who is born to Mother with patience or someone who is born to share knowledge.
(If you come up with 101 things, I wrote this post about what to do if you’re multi-passionate and you want to feel more earthed).
2. What do you want your next (or first) wild great adventure to be?
We came here to Cyprus after reading Tim Ferriss’ four hour work week. I never dreamed that in the two years we have been here we would come to embrace the mediterranean lifestyle, I would write books, my husband would run his own businesses and I would run programs and courses and membership programs. That happened along the way. We just originally wanted an adventure and a change of pace, more simplicity and soul.
What sounds like an adventure and a dream to you? Why COULDN’T you do it?
Most people say oh well we have a mortgage, or a job, the kids in school. But you always have options. Find a country that has schools, or homeschool, find another job or take up working remotely, rent or sell your house.
To us, the adventure and the lifestyle became more important than what we had. So we set our single goal on that, and knew we would do whatever it took to make it happen.
(Which actually, was a lot. We threw out everything we owned. I placed trust in God providing more photography bookings throughout the mediterranean and Europe. In more book sales. My husband trusted in not returning to work. We got rid of the lovely family home we lived in and moved to a place we had never even visited before. But the fun was always bigger than the fear).
(Note- this is also a beautiful way to revisit what you have, what you value, and what you appreciate and are grateful for in your life right now).
3. Do you have someone invested in your success to help you figure it out along the way?
If it wasn’t for my mentors I don’t think I would have done half of what I have done.
I wouldn’t have dreamed as big, earned as much, believed anything is possible. I wouldn’t continually push to live out what I have come to believe IS my purpose. Mentors can come from you paying from them, but you can also find them on blogs, in books, giving talks.
Ultimately it’s about finding someone who believes in your abilities and dreams. Having that person to say ‘I believe in you and this is what you need to do’ can help you through the times when you don’t believe in yourself.
4. Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset?
The worst thing about fear is that true fear is something that you rarely feel, but gnaws at your bones anyway.
I believe we are biologically programmed to avoid situations that cause fear, and I believe fear is a creation and product of modern life. Therefore going against both your biology AND your societal conditioning involves great strength indeed. Which is why the personal development industry is so vast, and so popular.
We want to take control, but it’s tough. We need all of the help we can get. In finding and getting deeper in your purpose, you will probably be walking along the tightrope of fear most of the time. Reading is a good start, taking action on what you are reading is even better.
Like reading this vs taking notes and actually answering the questions.
Start with The Magic Of Thinking Big, and Get Rich Lucky Bitch, if you’re relatively new to personal development. They’re nothing to do with finding your purpose, and everything to do with opening your vision to what is possible.
5. What do you love to do, what are you good at?
They will tell you you can’t make money doing what you love.
What they mean is, it’s hard to make money from activities / hobbies that are popular, because everyone else is trying to make a living from ‘doing what they love’ too. For example, photography. Or yoga. Everyone I know is either a photographer, yogi, or coach of some kind. Or a blogger.
Know that it doesn’t matter. There is always a space for you to be you, because nobody else can win at being you. However staring into that seemingly endless tunnel for the chink of light which may or might not come might feel too limitless for some people.
Sometimes we don’t want endless opportunity. Sometimes we want solidity and structure and something that feels like a very real possibility.
So, don’t think about what you love as a way that brings you income and being the sole thing that you love to do. Think about what you really want from your life.
Usually that isn’t ‘being a photographer’ it might instead be ‘freedom’ which might mean ‘working from home’ actually has more value to you than being self-employed and trying to make money from your passion.
What do you value, treasure, feel gifted within?
For me, the faster my daughters grow the more I realise my purpose. I know concretely that I always want them to feel encouraged in who they are, in their dreams and hopes, in their beliefs.
I have worked with so many women who experience real lack of self-belief, even in the most accomplished of women who to the outside world, look successful and confident and beautiful – yet are afraid to branch out, try new directions, fully invest in themselves, or even to love their partners fully and completely. It results in some seriously messy fallout, from health issues to mental health problems to relationships breakdowns.
I want my daughters to feel free to try, to fail, to learn, to love. I want them to know they are encouraged. I want you to know, you are encouraged. You are loved.
6. What change do you most want to see in the world?
And (more honesty) you could come up with answers to all of these questions and still not be any closer to who you are supposed to be or what you are supposed to do.
I wonder sometimes if we aren’t meant to know.
Whether we have placed too much meaning and emphasis on purpose, like it’s become another concept to be bought and sold, another thing to beat ourselves up about, to feel inadequate about.
Deep down I believe you know already, all that you are called to.
You find it within all of the things that you love.
You find it in that pull towards something that niggles at you endlessly.
You find it in that space or place where you simultaneously lose yourself and find yourself all at once.
And it’s this, which requires bravery.
Carving out the time to honour the call. Facing the rejection to stand up and do it over and over again, often for public consumption. Creating with a heart and body that is often depleted. Unearthing the courage to change direction, to continue on, to love through the hurt and the heartache, to carry on believing and trusting in who you are, unfettered by the beliefs of others or the constraints of social constructs.
That’s who you are supposed to be, and what you are supposed to be.
And you are born to love and born to dream and born to take action.
You are born to feel, to experience, and to journey.
You are born to help others, to stand strong, to learn, to share, to grow, to teach.
You are born to make and create and change and shift.
Perhaps finding asking how to find our purpose is the wrong question.
Perhaps instead, we should be asking, how to find more courage, in following that which we are called to.
Love and Light