Back in the driver’s seat
If you feel like you’re living someone else’s life instead of your own, it’s time to put your energy into finding your true calling.
While discovering ‘the purpose of life’ might be a big ask – after all, philosophers, religious scholars and scientists have been mulling over this for centuries – perhaps it’s time to change the question to something more worthwhile: What is your purpose in life – what is your true calling and how do you begin to embrace it?
In her book Purpose (Hay House) Jessica Huie describes her journey from being a teenage mother who was expelled from school and lived in a hostel to a fulfilling career in public relations, founding two award-winning businesses and earning an MBE. Jessica’s advice on how to find and follow your own purpose is not limited to careers though – it’s about finding a way to live your life in a way that’s true to who you really are.
‘ …being courageous enough to peel off your mask and bravely show up as exactly who you are’
The daily grind
It’s often hard to connect meaningfully with yourself in today’s world. The ‘rat race’ can be distracting and make you dizzy with its non-stop mental noise. Fuelled by coffee, bogged down by trying to live up to societal ideals – earn money, chase a promotion, drop a dress size – you begin to drift from your self. ‘We wear “busy” as though it’s a badge of validity. “How are you?” they ask. “Busy”, says the stock response, as though the privilege of space and time
belongs only to the idle,’ says Jessica.
But to find and trust your purpose, it’s important to stop living reactively and constantly dealing with the impact of life, instead of steering it.
‘The power of authenticity is your ticket to success, the key to fulfilment, and the investment required of being courageous enough to peel off your mask and bravely show up as exactly who you are,’ Jessica notes. Although the philosophy ‘the answers are within us’ might sound like ‘tree-hugging fluff’, she writes, that’s exactly where they are – we’re just too disconnected to find them.
But if you start to take note of and trust your own intuitions and impulses, you might discover those spontaneous inspirations are an honest glimpse into your purpose. ‘There are moments in our lives when ideas hit us which, if pursued, will change events forever,’ Jessica encourages. In these moments, you can get in touch with who you truly
are, what you want and where you’re heading, so don’t push them aside.
You don’t have to fit in
Almost everyone has felt the sting of exclusion; a rejection based on your sexuality, skin colour, age, a disability, your circumstances, opinions, or the mere fact that you’re a woman. But just because some may have judged you based on bias, you aren’t defined by it. Jessica explains: ‘We can deliberately craft new identities not based on labels, stereotypes or false notions about who we are collectively. Instead, we can draw our sense of self from righteous principles and values, and remain firmly focused on the personal legacy we intend to impart on the world.’ Living free from the preconceived judgements of others doesn’t have to mean becoming someone different – it’s about returning to the truth of who you really are, and always have been. Stripping elements away that were built on external assumptions will allow you to re-connect with what you love and find your own voice.
Who are you? Jessica advises putting aside all your ‘badges’ – your role at work, as a mother, a wife, a daughter or friend. Who are you, really? Your roles, badges, behaviours and traits that you attribute to successes and challenges might describe what you are, but not who. If you reduce yourself to a series of ‘whats’, you’re selling yourself short.
Your purpose is tied up in who you are, and to fully grasp this understanding, Jessica says you’ll need to put in some hard work to tackle your relationship with yourself. This means taking responsibility for bad habits, fears and behaviours that you’ve previously explained away.
Taking responsibility and breaking bad patterns might be hard, but it puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. Rather than being passive and simply reacting, you’ll actively open up opportunities for yourself to learn and grow,
and let go of old ideas that were holding you back. ‘The universe rewards us for our integrity, courage and lessons learned,’ says Jessica.
Examine your thoughts and actions
Why do you think and act the way you do? Understanding the framework of your interactions is important to embrace your true calling. Without appreciating that the things you think and do are framed by previous experience, your ideas and decisions will be limited to being just a reflection of your past.
To move forward and become as creative and effective as possible, you’ll need to treat yourself like a blank canvas. Each thought and decision should be examined to determine whether you’re clinging to a way of thinking based on something that happened in your past. If this is the case, and your view is being clouded by bias, try to open your mind beyond your own experience and respond to situations from a fresh perspective.
Follow the light
If you feel your purpose is evading you, focus on the small things and moments that make you feel happy – places that leave you feeling awed, people who inspire you, things that make you feel alive. Jessica says, ‘So even if you’ve
built a life in which you now feel you no longer fit, it’s not too late to begin chipping away at it until you’re standing naked, ready to rebuild an existence that honours your true self.’ Trust yourself. Your passion, ideas or visions show
themselves in those moments of happiness, and reveal your purpose. All you need to do is show up and respond to the call. Just begin.
FEATURE: CAITLIN GENG PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM