“Ambition is what we want to achieve. Aspiration is who we want to become.” Adam Grant
I have always been a goal-oriented person with a well-thought out plan, and I’ve experienced a lot of personal and professional success (despite my fair share of setbacks) simply because I knew where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. And yet, I spent a decent portion of my adult life struggling to find happiness. I was chasing personal fulfillment, like so many of us do. Fulfillment, meaning, purpose- it all seemed like an elusive desire until I enrolled in a personal development program that helped me get to the bottom of what fulfillment means for me. It all started with this question:
1) Are you living a life by design or by default?
I always assumed the “Life Checklist” I had been feverishly completing was the blueprint for happiness, but the void remained the same no matter how many items were completed on the list. It never dawned on me that this blueprint was just a sample that could be (and SHOULD BE) edited- no wonder so many of us are disappointed and unfulfilled. Once I gave myself permission to design my life and write my own rules for happiness, the real work began.
2) Clear your mind, your heart is trying to tell you something.
Finding your purpose can seem overwhelming, but it’s worth the soul searching because true fulfillment and happiness lies in your purpose. I started by identifying the things that truly excite me. These are the things I’m naturally drawn to, the things I’m compelled to do, the difference between the things that push and pull me. Pushing yourself requires energy, and eventually that energy runs out and must be restored. But when you are being pulled in a direction, no energy is required. In fact, the things we gravitate to naturally are often an energy source- our passion. The more I explored my talents and passions, the more I realized how they are connected to my experiences, my journey, and ultimately my purpose.
3) How will this shape my identity? Who do I want to become?
In a world full of distractions and artificial demands, living in your purpose can be more difficult than finding your purpose. Most of us do a good job of creating personal and professional goals. The conflict arises when these goals are either A) not aligned with each other or B) not aligned with our purpose. Always remember that what we do is important, but WHY we do it is more important. The WHY is connected to our identity, and our identity is connected to our purpose. Before I commit to something now, I ask myself: how will this help me become who I want to be, who I’m meant to be? Living a purposeful life requires focus and discipline- it's a choice you make every day.
4) Reflect on yourself and your purpose daily.
YOU are your biggest project in life. Not your relationship, not your career, not your children. In fact, you will be more successful in those facets of life when you are truly aligned with your purpose. My WHY’s continue to develop and refine, just as who I am and why I’m here continues to evolve. Every day I get closer to understanding and fulfilling my true purpose, and I’m a happier person for it.
Life can leave so many of us reeling, asking “Why me?” or “How did I get here?” For me, transitioning to motherhood while simultaneously maneuvering a divorce, was the catalyst for reevaluating my life and the motives behind my past choices. Going forward, I wanted so much more for myself and I believed it was possible, so I was willing to do the soul-searching work.
As a former sales executive, turned small business owner, motivating and inspiring others to reach their fullest potential has always been the best part of my job, and that took on new meaning once I became a mother. Writing has always been both fun and cathartic for me, and a talent that’s peaked its little head throughout my career. In utilizing my struggle and combining these two passions, I’ve found happiness in this blog. It's given me a platform to fulfill what I believe is my purpose- helping women to become more successful leaders at home and in the workplace, while achieving the ever-elusive dream of work-life balance.
You now have the steps to put your own puzzle together. My advice- do the work, enjoy the process. You owe it to yourself and the people you love. The outcome will suprise you, and the reward will be more than you can imagine.
Budget. We all have one, and it determines whether or not you can do something. As a single mom, one of the biggest struggles I face is financial. In the day and age of the two-income household, running one on your own can be terrifying. Once I was on my own with my toddler, it didn’t take long before anxiety over our financial future completely took over. So, I decided to take a deep dive into my household budget to see where I could trim the fat.
I did a pretty good job of avoiding loneliness. I kept busy and when I wasn’t busy, there were always friends and family around. And yet, those were the times I felt the most isolated. There’s nothing like being in a room full of people and not feeling connected to a single one.