For many years, when somebody in the media or in the personal development world spoke about “finding your life’s purpose,” I could actually feel my cortisol level rise!? While I liked many things, I didn’t have the feeling that any one of them was my “reason for being.” In fact, any time I attempted to focus on and commit to one of my jobs/interests more fervidly than the others, I ended up bored and frustrated, feeling like the only way to figure it out was to go on a long, arduous, soul-searching, Eat Pray Love- type journey to “find myself”. The search for my purpose seemed to be a rabbit hole that, quite frankly, I just didn’t have the time (or money!) to go down.
At the same time, I recognized the importance of having a strong sense of purpose in my life.
There’s a reason that the Wellegance tag line reads, “Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose.” I believe that it’s impossible for a woman to thrive without each of those things. There’s no denying the power of a woman operating in the world with a strong sense of purpose; she’s pretty much a magnet for her desires.
Conversely, nothing saps our energy and enthusiasm more than feeling that what we do lacks purpose and meaning, and that our days are spent in the metaphorical hamster wheel – running and rushing and not getting anywhere. It’s an absolute joy killer and the fastest route to burnout that I know. Having spent some time on that hamster wheel, I was determined to get off, once and for all. I wanted to feel powerful and purposeful; I just had no idea how to do it. So I kept plugging away at it, looking for my purpose in all the wrong places.
And then it dawned on me…I’m looking in all the wrong places!
As is often the case, we’re led to believe that things like this exist outside of us and that we must find them when, in fact, our purpose is within us – entirely ours to create. We don’t find purpose; we create it by filling our day with things that are meaningful to us. While we may each have certain talents and abilities, there is no “purpose fairy” assigning a life purpose to each individual at birth (and then challenging them to spend years and years, finding it!?). We each get to decide what purpose and meaning we assign to our life. And, furthermore, it isn’t carved in stone; it can, and will, change as our lives change. At one time, my primary purpose was to raise my children and be a good wife and mother. At another time I was super committed to developing my skills as a teacher. There was a time when my purpose was to learn everything I could about food, cooking and nutrition. Then, my purpose became deepening my yoga practice. More recently, my purpose is to write/blog and grow the Wellegance community, so that like-minded women can have these types of conversations and support each other in living well. The point is, I get to decide. And that simple shift in my perspective has been incredibly liberating and empowering!
That realization led me to another question: why does the pursuit of meaning and purpose have to be so serious and heavy?? Most of the time, when I feel truly purposeful in my life, it’s because I’m doing something that lights me up, something that feels like play more than work. And that’s the great irony – most women work so hard, in the hopes of finding meaning and purpose in their lives, that they don’t leave any time for play. They often consider play an unnecessary distraction when, in fact, play is the very thing that allows us to access our purpose. Through play, we open ourselves up, we explore, find inspiration, connect to our soul, create and, ultimately, make meaning.
Eleanor Roosevelt expressed this idea beautifully when she said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
In other words, go out there and play!
And if you know a woman who might benefit from this post, please share it with her. Let’s spread the love and support one another 🙂
All my best,
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