“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”
Is it nature or nurture that sends a person out onto the Road – that whispers in one’s ear that it’s time to take off and make for the horizon, just to see what’s out there? With that question, the New York Times #1 Bestseller was introduced, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” A traveler’s life list described by Newsweek magazine as, “…a book that tells you what’s beautiful, what’s fun and what’s just unforgettable…” I like the idea of a traveler’s life list and yes, I admit to being one of the millions of wanderlust smitten adventure-seekers who plunked down twenty bucks and salivated over each exotic locale. After all, a lifetime’s worth of dream getaways is enough to make any self-respecting globetrotter giddy. All the same, it made me think, what would it take to be that giddy over everyday reality – you know – that often banal intermission book-ended by weekends and holidays otherwise known as real life?
I will the first to admit that getting up day after day to the same routine begs for a little fun and adventure. Most of us define our schedules by five days of work, followed by a weekend used to catch up on all those things the we did not manage to accomplish during the week! A Sunday afternoon nap is sometimes all that stands between the hustle and bustle and another Monday morning. Nothing against Sunday naps, but wouldn’t you rather get on with…whatever it is you are supposed to be getting on with? Otherwise, it is just a slippery slope to wait-and-hope mode; …waiting out the endless days of ordinary…waiting for the perfect set of circumstances that will magically transport you to the life you really want and – dare I say it – deserve…waiting for that handsome knight to come riding in on his trusty steed and …oh, hold on… am I confusing life with a Disney movie? Anyway, the book listed 1,000 PLACES “guaranteed to give travelers the shivers.” Imagine for a moment, a beautiful, fun, unforgettable LIFE that gives you shivers – what would that look like? I was now on the hunt to find out.
Had life unfolded according to plan, my forties would have found me happily married, deep in the throes of maternal bliss, well on my way towards paying off the mortgage (on a Craftsman-style bungalow with a big garden and white picket fence), all while preparing to send the first of my 2.5 children off to college – statistically speaking of course! As it happened, age 40 found me still single, still childless, and headed abroad to work for a non-profit in Africa! Passport, bug-spray and idealistic intentions in tow, I embarked on what would either prove to be the adventure of a lifetime – or a classic mid-life crisis! Thankfully, I headed out of the country and happily straight into Purpose.
I am sure there were plenty of folks who thought that I was crazy. After all, I wouldn’t know anyone in Africa and I didn’t have friends, family or even colleagues overseas. But that drum-beat to take a chance and step out on faith resonated from deep within my soul, and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped without hesitation!
In a way, I had been preparing for the moment all along, even before I knew what the moment was! I always envisioned myself travelling the world and speaking before the masses. From the time I was a little girl I romanticized about living in far-off places and exotic locales. By the time I had the opportunity to spend the summer in Europe after high-school, my path was set!
A few years prior to moving overseas, I had volunteered in a transitional house for homeless women. As part of my volunteer work, I prepared a small workbook about discovering your destiny and articulating a personal mission statement. I taught that workshop to the women each Saturday afternoon. For some reason, when it came time to pack to go overseas, I dug out that old workbook and put it in my suitcase. I’m not even sure why I packed it. After all, I fully expected to be doing back office administrative work, certainly not public speaking. Within the first month of setting foot on those distant shores, however, a scheduling snafu found me travelling to Botswana to present at an administrative professionals’ conference hosted by the chamber of commerce! Can you guess what was the theme of the conference? That’s right – Developing Your Personal Mission Statement!
“I’m a firm believer in luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get!”
― (not sure who said this, but I love it) ―
You can call my experience in Botswana a coincidence, serendipity, luck, or happy accident, but when similar right-time-right-place-situations continue to occur, I call it Purpose! Purpose can be described as, original intent, design, calling, or as the French like to say a “raison d’être” (translated reason for being). According to Webster’s dictionary, purpose is “the object toward which one strives or for which something exists.” While my purpose led me to the other side of the globe, purpose is NOT a destination. Purpose is intrinsic – just part of who we are. Everything we need to activate it, is already in our present possession. I therefore, view purpose as a ‘realization’ more like something that we ‘awaken to.’
What isn’t coincidence, is that I was “prepared” when the opportunity presented itself. Some might say that the opportunity presented, because I was prepared. Either way, when it comes to Purpose, the movie, Field of Dreams pretty much summed it up, “If you build it they will come.”
BIG QUESTION: Do you know your Purpose? How did you discover it? Please post a comment, I would love to hear your perspective!
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As a Personal Success Strategist, I teach passionately about being awesomely ageless, owning the power of your potential, redefining & reimagining life on your own terms, and making an indelible mark in your destiny through every season of life.
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