Even with the best of intentions, your life can get away from you.
You checked off the boxes on your over-achiever to-do list; you have the job others wish they had; you’re a good person; you try to live by the values you were raised with. So why this sense of dissatisfaction and lack of purpose?
When did this even start – this going-through-the-motions, rather than the feeling of actually living, that now life feels like it’s slipping away by the second? And it’s all you can do to just “get through” the day.
What you really want is what most of us want: to be excited about your work and your life; to feel like you’re doing something that is so crazy fun you may feel like you’re cheating to be doing it. It all boils down to living your purpose and making an impact by doing something that speaks to your soul.
Is it too much to ask?
I don’t know, when we’re faced with tragedies, acts of hatred, and violence on a daily basis as we are right now, you start to think that no, it’s not too much to ask at all.
Does it mean you get rid of your belongings and go live in a monastery? Maybe for some. But have you ever asked yourself what it would look like if you allowed your life to stand for something you believe in?
What would have to change for you to feel happy, alive, and on purpose? What would it take for you to say yes to a life where you “get” to do things rather than “have” to do things? A life that you’re proud of?
Here are 5 habits to help you start living your purpose, and quite possibly to make an impact in this world that speaks to your soul:
Love who you are –
I heard a line in a movie once that summed this one up beautifully: “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” There is no other person on Earth exactly like you. Embrace it. Own it! Stop trying to blend with the boring. You have unique talents and gifts that only you can bring to the world. Embrace your heart, your passions, and your quirks. Never let someone shame you into believing you are less than extraordinary! Discover what your genius really is and you’ll discover your true self.
Be Present –
We’re used to fast; we like instant gratification – and that’s the world we live in. It’s hard to find time to slow down and just BE. When is the last time you permitted yourself to be engrossed in a conversation? Or so involved in a moment that you lose track of time?
We miss so many opportunities to really connect with people. Yet, when you are truly present, you can give another human being a wonderful gift: You can really see them and let them know they matter.
Practice Gratitude –
When was the last time you acknowledged the gifts in your life? Slap this crazy violence in the world with doses of gratitude when you can, rather than building more hopelessness and anger. Do you intentionally seek out things to be grateful for, even if all you can muster up is gratitude for not being stuck in traffic on the way to work? One way to make gratitude a habit is to keep a happiness jar, an idea I borrowed from Liz Gilbert. Each day, write down something that makes you happy on a piece of paper and throw it in the jar. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, read a few items from the jar. It’s guaranteed to help you feel better in no time. Another way to do this is by writing regularly in a gratitude journal. This simple habit actually begins to rewire your brain.
Live Courageously –
I don’t believe anyone can be totally fearless. That’s a fallacy. It just isn’t possible. What is possible, however, is to be courageous in the face of fear. That means taking risks when you are afraid and pushing past your comfort zone. It means diving off the cliff and trusting that the net will appear. The more courageous you are, the more alive you feel. I truly believe that everything you want is on the other side of your fear. Trust yourself and go after it! Remind yourself of this every single day (we forget so easily). And if you want to give yourself a quick quiz, see how many of these 13 fears are keeping you from being remarkable: 13 Fears that Keep Women From Being Remarkable.
Serve Others –
There’s nothing like serving others to let your life speak. What would your life look like if you intentionally sought out opportunities to be of service every day?
Service can be as simple as:
- Sharing your time in a conversation with someone who needs to be heard.
- Taking part in a community fundraiser.
- Smiling at the cashier at the grocery store because you can tell she’s had a bad day.
- Creating a not-for-profit around something you’re passionate about.
- Sharing your gifts and talents with an organization that needs them.
- Visiting an elderly neighbor who just lost a spouse.
There is something in you that the world needs and it’s your job to share it. If you truly want your life to speak, you must share your gifts unselfishly with others.
Something inside of you shifts when you start these new habits. Removing yourself from the daily grind will give you a new perspective and insight into what your purpose really is.
There are so many ways to find meaning and purpose in your life. We’ve only scratched the surface with these 5. If you could do anything right now, no matter what obstacles stand in your way, what would it be? Post it here, because really, sometimes we’ve got to cut loose and give each other good doses of optimism.