Not too long ago Melissa (we’ll call her Melissa) asked me about living my purpose. ‘You do all this stuff. Honestly, I don’t know how you get it all done.’
I don’t think I do anything more than anyone else. I work, I have a wonderful family whom I love, and I pursue my interests.
We weren’t dissimilar. We’re about the same age. Melissa has a family and worked a full-time job. She runs around on weekends getting the kids to sport and doing chores she finds no time for during the work week.
“Think about your life,” I said. “When you were seventeen, you were very clear about what you wanted to ‘do’. You’d chosen your path.”
“Yeah,” she said. “Got off track somewhere along the line.”
“Did you?” I asked. I remembered her wanting connection; wanting a family. She agreed. Family was—still is!—vitally important to her.
“The challenge is staying focused. If you have worked to get to know yourself, done more work around values clarification, understand your priorities (and why you’ve chosen those values in particular) you’re on your way.”
Melissa admitted she hadn’t checked in on her values or personal goals in years. “I suppose I’ve been a bit of a dandelion,” she said.
When I asked her what she meant, she laughed. “You know, I spring up in unexpected places and then in a stiff breeze bits of me scatter all over.”
We chuckled. I told her I didn’t think she gave herself enough credit.
How can you make aspects of your life works for, rather than against, your priorities?
How can you shape daily tasks so they align with your purpose? What activities are you willing to forego or take on to make that happen?
What if everything you did was about your chosen path?
If you deviate, that’s fine. The important part is to do so purposefully. Make it a deliberate choice. ‘Hey, I’m stepping off for a while, because exploring X where I need to be (for now)’. It’s ok to make space for other things. After all, if travel has taught me anything, it’s that some of the best finds happen when you’re willing to get lost. The trick is to maintain your inner GPS, so when the time comes, you can flick it on and know where you are in relation to where you want to be.
I’ve refined the lens through which I focus my attention. All my energy, my curiosity, all my actions and activities, as many thoughts as possible these days are aligned towards my purpose.”
“So you’re saying it’s not ’stuff’,” she said.
“Isn’t everything stuff? I am focused on one primary goal.”
“You’re standing at the grindstone, honing your lens; every day making a new one so you can see a little better.”
I laughed again. “That’s not a bad analogy. Yes, I’d agree. And don’t forget, people will help.”
“Don’t you ever get bored?” she asked.
“No. Sometimes I have to make adjustments, but I’m in this for the long haul and grateful for each opportunity to deepen my understanding, even when I doubt or things do quite go to plan. It’s how I honour my purpose; how I choose to create.”
Melissa grinned. “I need to unearth my old path,” she said, “see if it’s still the right one for me. Then let’s talk about time management.” (Another story).
How do you focus your attention? What habits have you invested in to align your life more closely with your purpose?
We’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.
Photo by Liana R