I was talking with a friend the other day who said, I don’t even know who I am anymore.
She was a bright and promising college grad with more friends than she knew what to do with. She had successful career. She met and married the love of her life. Kids followed shortly after.
She loves being a mom even though it’s changed her life significantly. There’s just this constant nagging feeling that she has more to offer the world. She doesn’t miss the rat race of the corporate world, but she misses the passion she once had for pursuing a purpose bigger than herself.
Sadly, I hear this a lot. So let’s talk about it.
Your purpose is not confined to your career, in fact for most people purpose is so much more, so much bigger.
Who were you before school, work, and family began to define you?
Do you remember?
Think back to the last time you really felt like “you”. I mean, the last time you felt alive and thriving.
That might even be you right now, if it is. You go girl!
If not, what were you doing? Where were you? How did you feel? Who were you with?
That’s the girl you have to hold on to.
For me, she’s “Vacation Crystal” as my husband so lovingly refers to her. She’s the girl he’s with when we go on vacation together, alone. She’s fun. She’s carefree. She laughs. . . a lot. She sleeps, really well. She eats real food. She dances to silly music. She’s not defensive.
Even as I type those words, my eyes and nose are tingling. I can feel a tinge of sadness coming on, because I like that girl too. I miss her sometimes.
Our lives evolve and change us. Some changes make us better. Our experiences expand our world views and help us have more empathy for others. We get smarter and more confident in certain areas. We may expand our business acumen or learn to cook like a pro.
But you can’t let go of yourself in the process.
The version of you that comes to mind when you feel most alive, that’s the person you need more of. Find her. Seek her out. Do more of the things that bring her to life.
Focus your attention on what’s in your heart. What brings you alive? What fills you with hope, vision, and passion?
Take 5 minutes today, right now if you can. Jot down what you remember about the person you were before your roles in life began to define you. Make a few notes about the last time you felt alive and thriving.
Your passion will lead you to your purpose.
Name it and fight for it. Don’t let it dim. Don’t dilute it with work that doesn’t fuel that huge part of you. And for goodness sake, don’t snuff it out because you feel like you have to make a choice.
It’s never either/or. There’s always a both/and. (Michelle James)
Take that passion and find ways to fuel it. Sketch that fashion design in between classes. Paint while the babies are napping. Write a curriculum for new parents while the kids are playing. Develop an app for healthcare at 5 am. Design the plans for that building you dream of during your lunch break. Write the business plan for your card company when your entire family is fast asleep.
Don’t let up. Don’t make excuses about why it has to wait until tomorrow.
Commit to yourself that you’ll pursue it. That you won’t quit.
Start today, in some small way to embrace more of who you are.
Tomorrow, let’s talk about getting clear on your priorities. We can discuss what it looks like to align them in a way that makes fueling your passions possible.
Until then, think about what brings you to life and write it down.
Oh, and show a little more love to someone while you’re at it, will ya?