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How to Find Your Purpose

Photo by Shannon
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we give to our life. ~Anais Nin

What is MY purpose?

This is the recurring question I would ask myself over and over: searching, seeking, arm-wrestling with each day, in a quest to find where my place was in this grand universe.

I would look around and feel a bit left behind; others seemed to be intensely purposeful, wholeheartedly embracing a career, a path . . . why couldn’t I? What is my path?

I have read dozens of books over the years, complete with countless worksheets and self-development exercises to expand my sense of belonging in the world.

The Gifts of Being Vulnerable

Photo by Hannes Caspar
The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy. ~Jim Rohn

Not too long ago, I found myself sitting around with a group of friends playing the One-Word game—a game where each person uses one word to honestly describe another person in the group. Everyone goes around until they have been “worded” by everyone else.

It’s fun and exciting until you get labeled as something you don’t necessarily identify as positive. The word that kept coming up for me: Guarded.

I got it. It made sense. I have a difficult time opening myself up to people.

Finding the Perfect Job

Photo by Alex Stoddard

Today I received an email from a man named Nick (not his real name) who wants help finding a job. He has two different resumes, one for his “business life” and one for his “adventure life”.

As I browsed through his resumes, his many accomplishments stood out. So I began to wonder why Nick needed my help to find a job? He certainly has his pick of fields from which to choose.

Then it dawned on me. If Nick was a carpenter and only a carpenter, he would search for carpenter jobs. Easy. But, since he is an adventurer as well as a business man with many accomplishments in various fields, the issue really was finding the direction, not finding the job.

How to Find Your Unique Strength

Photo by Hannes Caspar
We grow primarily through our challenges, especially those life-changing moments when we begin to recognize aspects of our nature that make us different from the family and culture in which we have been raised. ~Caroline Myss

When Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jane Fonda for The Oprah Magazine, these two amazing women touched briefly on the subject of caring about what others think of them.

Oprah: I’ve read that, like me, you’ve always struggled with the disease to please.

Jane: I used to walk into a party and think, Oh, my God, will I be interesting enough? Will people like me? Will I be pretty enough? Do I fit in? Now I go into a room and think, do I really want to be here? Are these people I want to spend a few hours with? It’s a big shift.

Oprah: How did you make the shift?

Jane: Hard work. Growing up.

Jane didn’t elaborate on her answer, and I’m not qualified to speak for her. But I think we can all relate to how she used to feel.

Love Yourself: The 90/10 Principle

Photo by Natalie Dybisz
Loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. Loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself. ~Erich Fromm

I was going through a bad patch a while back. My self-esteem hit rock bottom, and nothing I did seemed to work. My relationships were a mess and my work was faltering. I felt unhappy and unsure of myself.

I have often wondered if The Mid-Life Crisis was smacking me. In retrospect, I think it was. And it was a good thing too, because I needed to change my ways a little.

Fortunately, my friends were there for me. While having coffee one day, a friend of mine lectured me, as good friends do when they’re tired of seeing you miserable.

She said “You’ve gotta love yourself before anyone else will love you”. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that all before, I thought.

5 Tips to Avoid Overextending Yourself

Photo by Jon Jacobsen
To overextend yourself is to invite defeat. ~G. William Domhoff

A few years ago, after my husband and I got hitched, we flew to Italy and had a wonderful vacation, and when I got back I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family and many of our friends. Early that day, my jet lag really kicked in, I was exhausted and couldn’t believe I’d offered to do this. Never again, I thought.

This is probably one of the best times to talk about overextending yourself. The holidays are here, and between shopping, baking, parties, and volunteering there seems to be hardly enough time for a regular work day, let alone exercise, laundry and cooking dinner.

I want to stress that I’m going to deal with general, low-level problems of over-committing ourselves. That is one symptom of what can be a larger problem for some of us. It certainly was for me; about six years ago I was extremely codependent. If you’re interested in more information on that, you can check out Codependents Anonymous’ Checklist.

Regardless of how much you struggle with codependence or taking on too much, these tips can help make things a little easier.

Flow – The Secret to Happiness

Flow is the natural, effortless unfolding of our life in a way that moves us towards wholeness and harmony. ~Charlene Belitz & Meg Lundstrom

The majority of the books that sit on my shelves are ones that I have read, or deliberately decided not to read after losing interest after a page or two. So I was a little taken aback when I found one sitting smack dab in the middle of various dog-eared novels that I hadn’t read yet—The Power of Flow.

In all likelihood it was a transplant from my parent’s extensive self-help collection, one that must have snuck into one of my boxes. Yet, I hadn’t noticed it until I was—conveniently—experiencing stagnation in many areas of my life.

I’d say this is what “divine timing” is all about.

I spent the next few hours swimming in the pages, recalling all the times in my life when things seemed to fall in to place and doors opened without any physical effort on my part–the times when I was completely and totally “in the flow.”

How to Come Alive

Photo by Rosie Hardy
Editor’s Note

This is such a simple, elegant and inspiring article. Make sure to give this a read. You'll be glad you did. :)

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

No quote has ever had more of an impact on me than this one.

When I first read it, I was working in the accounting department of a government contractor in Virginia. I was commuting back and forth to the 3-bedroom house on ½ acre that I’d just bought and I was doing it in a sporty little Mazda 626.

I was making a respectable salary. I had parlayed my college degree into a “successful” career, and I was understandably proud of myself.

But I was not alive.

I was just one of hundreds of thousands of bean counters who sat in traffic a couple of hours a day to get to a cubicle in a maze of other cubicles to sit for another 8 to 10 hours a day trying to make numbers add up.

Embracing the Imperfect

Photo by Simón Pais-Thomas
Editor’s Note

I have only one word to summarize how I felt after editing this story from Kate: Wow. Don’t miss this powerful piece. And help me welcome Kate to the TSN family.

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. ~Theodore Rubin

Confession: Lately, for the past 6 weeks or so, I’ve been capital-U, “Unhappy.”

Plain. Simple. Unhappy.

Revolutionary insight? This does not need “fixing.”

It’s interesting to notice all the impulses to resist the Unhappy in life, as if the human experience were destined to be one devoid of suffering.

The messages are all around us that if we’re unhappy, we’re “doing it wrong.” So quick! Go buy something, do something different, take some kind of action, to make it all better.

Nope–I’m hunkered down with it, now. Unhappy and I are hanging out, chilling like a villain, asking what’s the haps with the craps.

The Art of Consistency

Photo by Lori Andrews

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There’s a lot to be said in that proverb and quite a bit to think about.

The biggest lesson I take out of those six little words is consistency. Consistency is something I never really liked. In fact, I’ve always found it boring. It’s so….well….consistent. But I’ve come to learn that big goals require three things: a plan, commitment and consistency.

But I have always been a do it now, get it done, and move on kind of girl. Life was always too short to just keep plugging along at something day after day after day.

But…here is what I am learning: If you don’t keep plugging away regularly at something big, you won’t reach the goal. Plain and simple.

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