This was a question I began asking myself over and over again after I lost my twin sister to brain cancer 12 years ago. After experiencing such a deep loss, I began to contemplate and question everything that I deemed meaningful and found my focus narrowing in on my own life and its current state. I had a beautiful life, I had my health, I lived each day with service at the core, I had a supportive and loving family and a solid group of friends.
It seemed like I had it all, yet I felt like something was missing. As I took a closer look, I realized that my life had been operating on auto-pilot and I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of existence. Each day seemed predictable, much like Groundhog Day with the usual checklists, responsibilities and daily routine.
I had lost sight of what I really valued because I had so much of my identity wrapped up in extrinsic things and the pursuit of perfectionism. I desperately wanted to change the trajectory of what felt like a monotonous existence so I could begin living my life with clear purpose.
Upon this realization I set out to find answers and noticed something began to stir within me. I was jolted awake one evening out of a sound sleep with four words on the tip of my tongue, “My soul is restless.”
I had no idea what those four words meant or what I was supposed to do with them, but they compelled me to dig deeper. I began devouring information from a multitude of resources that opened my eyes and my mind to a whole new world of self-discovery.
But what really shifted everything for me was a chance encounter over the summer. I sat down for what I thought was going to be a brief coffee meeting to strategize for an upcoming fundraiser, but this wasn’t the case at all.
Instead, I found myself sitting across the table from a life coach and suddenly on the brink of finding answers that I had been searching for. Our conversation was like nothing I had experienced before, I felt completely at ease while candidly discussing my successes and failures from the past and my goals for the future.
During this encounter I was encouraged to engage my imagination by setting aside any limiting beliefs and allowing myself the creative freedom to dream. I let go of fear, self-doubt, discouragement, and my old narrative and I opened my mind to all the possibilities of achieving whatever I could imagine. The moment felt magical and I felt empowered by this simple mind shift that renewed a sense of faith in myself.
I was amazed at how one conversation could have such a profound impact on helping me redirect my attention and reset my life path in such a short period of time. I believe that sometimes it takes one person to truly “see us” in order for us to truly see ourselves in a way that is transformational.
The most defining moment in this experience was when I realized I had discovered my purpose. I wanted to provide magical moments for people just like the one I had that afternoon. I wanted to help people learn how to live a purpose-driven life by being willing to shift their minds, by learning how to develop daily habits and by believing in their dreams.
Here is what I learned on my self-discovery mission and the insight I want to share about living a purpose-driven life. It isn’t about having the dream job, the perfect partner, the beautiful house, the luxurious car, the most friends, or the busiest social calendar. It is about you and how you choose to live.
It’s about defining who you are by your character and not by your career. It’s about defining your values and aligning them with your day-to-day choices. It’s about being mindful and present so that you are living with intention. It’s about practicing gratitude rather than dwelling on scarcity. It’s about embracing what makes you different rather than blending in. It’s about deciding what you will or will not tolerate each day.
It’s about having true friendships where you talk about life rather than each other. It’s about having the courage to fail as well as succeed. It’s about committing to your practice even when you don’t see progress. It’s about having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. It’s about empowering others through kind acts without expecting anything in return. It’s about challenging yourself to learn and grow. It’s about declaring what you want and taking risks.
It’s about knowing your value and self-worth from the inside rather than the outside. It’s about finding happiness and feeling fulfilled. It’s about allowing yourself to dream as big as you want and as often as you can. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you will do with the 1,440 minutes you have each day and how you will choose to live. Will you choose to exist or will you choose to live a purpose-driven life?