Are you a person who feels you have something to offer the world? Some may call this idealistic but do you spend your time wondering about what’s next for you, your purpose, and how you can make a difference? This is a feeling I know all too well but I’m happy to say I’m on the other side of the angst, the wonder and the questions. I’ve moved into action, creation and a greater sense of purpose than I ever expected.
But it wasn’t always like that. For someone who used to be so goal orientated my pattern was to move from one goal to another, writing plans, checklists and actions to be taken, achieving most things I set out to do. My sheer will and determination wouldn’t have had it any other way. My 20’s were about travelling and starting my adult life, my 30’s were in pursuit of building a career and trying to have a family. So as I approached my 40’s and my son started to move into the world of kinder and school, I felt time coming back to me along with the questions of what I was going to do next. I know that being a mother is doing something with your life…probably the most important thing I will ever do, and I also wanted something for myself, something I could contribute. So when he started school it was almost as if I felt that deadline to make a decision fast approaching. I’m not sure whether this is because I had a child who was starting school or whether because I was in my 40’s and looking for something more meaningful to do in terms of career, but on reflection I have noticed many women getting to this point in their life and making big changes. I spent weeks and months trying on careers in my head. What would it be like to study again and become a psychologist, to go back into leadership roles full time or imagine today you are a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my travel job, but it was as if I was yearning for another phase, as if I knew there was something else for me. Something that fully represented my spiritual side and my need to constantly learn and grow.
During this time, I would sit down at my computer and write, sometimes for half an hour other times for 5 minutes. I’ve kept all of these scribbles and just yesterday I came across this one which reminds me of how much I was seeking a sense of purpose and how deeply troubled I was that it just wasn’t coming to me.
Written - March 2014
“She turned the key to another day, a day alone, an empty house. Grateful for the silence and the time to do whatever she pleased, but longing for some noise, some company some sense of purpose. The hallway stretched in front of her as if asking her to make a choice by the time she reached the end. What meaningful activity can you tick off today. What sense of purpose can you explore, how many business ideas will cross your mind before so easily dismissed with an un-supporting bank account?
It wasn’t so much the silence that she feared but the drifting from one day to the next without meaning or clarity. A caged vessel of energy ready to give all and then some to a new project or purpose. There was purpose in being a mother, in being a wife and a part time employee. All of it meant something but yet the longing was there for something more meaningful, something where she could leave her mark.
As the light fell onto her keyboard and she stared longingly from her little corner of the world, she felt still yet a swirling turmoil suppressed inside her. Sadness no, missed opportunity, maybe, unleashed potential definitely. Pick something, pick one idea and run with it, but always being held back by a sense of purpose and clarity.
What makes you alive what makes you sing with joy. So many things but always looking for the one thing the one opportunity that would carry its own energy and direction just through the sheer love of it. She was capable of making so many things work but what she longed for was that one thing that felt like her reason for being here and that would take on a life of its own driven by her passion and creativity.
If it’s our purpose to find meaning in the moment, then what would she do today. If it is following your bliss then what is it that makes her smile, fills her with joy and bring tears to her eyes”
There are many conversations around finding your purpose. I found the pressure of that search overwhelming and at times paralysing. Looking for the perfect thing or the one thing that I should be doing was totally crippling me from making any decisions whatsoever.
So how did I find it. The answer is pure simplicity. I stopped looking. I stopped asking and I allowed myself to be. I was listening to a podcast on Hay House radio when I heard Esther Hicks talking about those who try to “deliberately create.” Those people who spend so much time trying to make things happen that they do not know how to be still, to listen and see what is right in front of them. And so I made a deal with myself in 2014. I decided to stop trying on new careers in my mind, to give myself a break from my constant thoughts and questions and spend as much time as possible being present. I enjoyed my family, my free time and felt the utmost gratitude for my part time job which gave me flexibility and income. I found things that brought me joy and did them. I’m not talking about international travel or changing the world here. I listened to music I liked, walked on the beach, ate great food, read a book, spent time with my son and all those little things that bring you joy. I worked with a coach, not to discover what I wanted to do but what I was currently doing that I loved or didn’t love. I allowed myself to have some downtime, to have no plans and for the first time since being a teenager, I didn’t set any goals.
Then in August 2014 I attended a workshop run by a friend of mine and within 5 minutes of walking in the door I experienced a moment of clarity and knowing. Within a week I had registered on a Life Coaching Training Program where there was 1 place left, my tax return came in providing me with the course tuition and only 5 months later I was an on a plane bound for Hawaii to begin my training. None of this involved questioning, only certainty and it took on a life of its own. Exactly what I had been seeking. Yet it wasn’t until I stopped looking for it, became present and let go of the outcome that I found it.
I know it is completely contrary to everything we have been taught but the greatest lesson I have taken from this experience is to be open to where the path may lead and to let go of need to set such defined goals for a while. Yes, I have ideas about what I would like to achieve with this new venture, programs and escapes I am in the process of creating, but the honest truth is that I have no idea where it will end up. I’m way outside my comfort zone but that is where the learning is. I'm not advocating no goals I'm just encouraging you to be open to where those goals could go and not be so fixed on the outcome but more on the process. Every now and then I feel a moment of anxiety creep in if I’m not following my business plan or not writing down 90 day goals, but I’m trying something new, even if I have to keep reminding myself of that. I’m open to what will come my way and there have already been twists and turns that I didn’t expect.
I’m learning and growing and deeply inspired right now and really could you ask for anything more!
If you’ve found yourself asking these same questions or experiencing the need to live more of your life you may find 1 to 1 coaching a great opportunity to discover what is next for you. Especially if you have no idea of what that looks like.
It starts with a whisper, it gets louder….and gets really hard to ignore.