I am wired as a pretty decisive person. This has its benefits and drawbacks. Way back in high school I discovered what I thought would be my true and lasting purpose: create awesome advertising for the world until the end of my time on Earth. I took that laser focus with great ease and excitement as I job shadowed at a local ad agency while still in high school, earned an advertising degree with not a shred of doubt about ever changing my major, added advertising clubs and internships to my free time, and of course, spent 2 decades in the career I set out to achieve. Bam! Advertising purpose fulfilled with decisive clarity and pursuit resulting in great periods of happiness!
Meanwhile, just a few years ago I became a new parent, and as many can attest, that may interrupt, if not massively shake any previous purpose you had to its core. Obviously, it added another amazing human to my consideration and triggered wonder if there could be more to our newly shared life and legacy – transition was afoot. That said, let’s not sugar-coat that it is scary and overwhelming to find myself as a previously decisive person (or, anyone for that matter, I imagine), transitioning into a somewhat-fuzzy, new focus and lifestyle. And knowing that a clear purpose is a key element of overall happiness as I just recently wrote about, I wanted to dive a little deeper into how I have leaned into redefining and enhancing my purpose, specifically, to protect that.
As any certified Type-A would do, I began with research and practice in earnest. In hopes that this process may help anyone else finding themselves in a similar position for whatever reason, here are some methods I have found to be most effective in my pursuit of discovering a new, more-powerful and/or evolved purpose that better accommodates my shifting family dynamic, lifestyle, focus and interests. Admittedly, you will see some cross-over with other wellness practices I have spoken about, as so many of these aspects of healthy living are deeply intertwined:
- Establish good nutrition and exercise as your foundation. This will help ensure you have the proper energy and capacity to discover and invest in your new purpose.
- Read books. I’ll admit that I allowed little to no time to read anything much more than my social feed for a very long time, and I suspect that is likely common for many parents of young children. Making time to immerse myself into alternate worlds of varied genera – fiction and non-fiction – has helped open my mind to other lives, challenges and opportunities to help think about new passions I’d like to explore and where my unique talents may fit best.
- Write daily. Journal privately about your challenges, your past, your gratitude, and/or your unique gifts and joys in efforts to remove blockages or (re)discover truths about your true self. We often get caught up in what other people think we are supposed to be, or what untruths people placed in your head early in your development about what you could or couldn’t be. Let that go. Take a mental journey that may help remove those barriers and present your next road ahead.
- Just start doing. Put yourself in situations, classes, experiences, or acts of creation that may get you on a road to destiny. Lean into what you enjoy rather than what you think will bring you money and see what unfolds. It may take time. Some things may not pan out. Some things may lose their appeal. But, creating momentum may lead you to the next step in your ultimate discovery. This blog you’re reading now is proof of my own personal process of doing.
- Ignore nay-sayers. Avoid internalizing any negative or nonconstructive feedback from people who may question your well-intended pursuit of new, evolved or renewed purpose. Find compassion in their perspective and unique experience but don’t let it dissuade your practice of progress. Let them be on their journey and you on yours. It is often difficult for others to see your forrest through the trees as clearly as you do – that’s what makes us truly individual.
- Find positive community and camaraderie. While you may have periods of introspection and solitude, creating a world of isolation won’t help your pursuit. You need to find people you can safely bounce ideas off, give you encouragement, help shape an idea you’re having a hard time framing-up or articulating. Find people who know, love and/or respect you and will allow you to be a little vulnerable.
- Have faith and patience. I will confess that this is not my greatest virtue. We live in a society often expecting immediate gratification and/or a feeling of perceived control. You may be someone that clicks into their new purpose right away. Or, like me, you may need to trust that it will come and allow the path to present itself on an extended and unclear timeline while doing the other groundwork above. Similar to finding your life partner, you don’t always know when they are going to show up, but when they do…you’ll know it’s right.
I am excited to see my next chapter unfold. Becoming a parent is an awesome catalyst for change with tremendous purpose and responsibility in and of itself; one that I am investing in with every ounce of care, creativity and enthusiasm that I have. But, I’m excited about what else I can also contribute to this larger community of happy, healthy, and purpose-driven individuals while leveraging the experience I have gained along my previous roads as well in order to do my part to leave the Earth a better place for my daughter and our generations to come. This is a common transition period for many, whether parenthood is your impetus, or reaching peak achievement in a previous purpose, or perhaps, that you’ve been affected by some other life event or influence suggesting change is in the air – I hope these methods of reframing purpose will be as helpful in your journey as they’ve been for me.