Thursday, January 21, 2010
I agree 99% plus one, you do the math
Here we are at the 21st day of the year and I feel flat and uninspired. I have found myself thinking a lot lately about my purpose in life. For some reason, I think that if I can figure out what my purpose is in my life, then I might somehow miraculously become this new person I am determined to discover in 2010. So ideally, the quicker I can figure out my purpose, the quicker I can become the new Julie, and the quicker I can move on and really enjoy all that life has to offer.
People often ask me what my purpose in life is and I feel like when I answer with something along the lines of “to be a great mom”, it somehow takes away from my potential. I feel like those who have a greater purpose and know what that purpose is, are somehow thought of as more important than me, or that their lives have more meaning than mine.
I often get frustrated when I think about those people in my life that are so put together and clearly know what their purpose in life really is. In fact, when that question is brought up to me, I often find myself thinking, “purpose smurpose. “ I am happy being young, footloose and fancy free and even sometimes, dare I say it, invisible. I often wonder if I can, in fact, live a life with no real concerns or heavy burdens. Can I simply say that my purpose in life is to love, learn and be happy? Or is that being selfish? Because most of the time, I feel like I should be saying things like, “my purpose in life is to adopt and raise Hatian orphans”, or “my purpose in life is to raise money to find a cure for cancer.” But I can’t say it. No matter how hard I try, I can’t. So if I can’t say it, then it clearly isn’t my purpose, right? I can honestly say, I don’t know.
But what I can say is this…There are times when I set goals for myself, accomplish them and then feel flat afterwards. And my thought is, if those are the results that I am getting after accomplishing a set goal , then maybe the goals I am setting for myself aren’t as important to me as I originally thought.
But here’s the deal. What I am slowly coming to realize is this…it’s not actually the accomplishment of the goal that I should be focusing on. What I should be focusing on is the “ripple effect” of accomplishing the goal that I set for myself.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Last year, one of my goals was to train for and complete my first ever mini marathon. I HATE running, so this was a huge, huge undertaking for me. I spent months of training and running in the cold weather, not really enjoying one minute of it. I completed the race in 3 minutes under the goal I set for myself and then swore up and down that I would never ever run again. So far I have kept that promise to myself, I’m not proud. But think about it, what good did I just do myself by training for and completing the race and then never ever running again? None, hence the feeling of flatness and failure.
So I started to look at my accomplishment in a different way, in a way that I had never thought of before. And what I found was that I had become an inspiration to those around me, the ripple effect. So far, that I know of, I have inspired four friends to train for and run this years mini. So the real “fruit” for me had not necessarily become personally finishing the mini marathon, but the inspiration I gave to those around me to get healthier and run it themselves is, in fact, the accomplishment I should be focusing on. It’s the ripple of my goal that has become the real accomplishment for me.
What I have learned is that I should listen to the “pats on my back” as a basis for knowing that accomplishing the goals I set for myself, are what my purpose in life should be focused on. And what I am finding is that when I choose to lead my life in this way, bit by bit, more and more blessings come into my life.
I find myself meeting more and more quality people that I want to be surrounded by. But the best result of all is knowing that I do have purpose in my life. It may not be the purpose that I am selfishly hoping for or expected to gain, but it is definitely purpose that fills the places in my heart. Because what I have realized is that my purpose is to add value to the lives of those that I choose to surround myself with and in turn, I end up gaining much more meaning in my life. And that, my friends, excites me more than you may ever know.