What are you waiting for? Your purpose is calling – it’s time to answer!
As I was pondering these weighty issues of life purpose that I addressed in yesterday’s blog post, I was drawn to my book shelf to Maria Shriver’s book, Just Who Will You Be? Here was an entire book of well-expressed thoughts and insights to the very considerations I was pondering. I appreciated Ms. Shriver’s ability to take an enormous, consuming topic and address it in a small book that could be read in a half hour! The tag line on the book is perfect: “Big Question * Little Book * Answer Within.” This should be the definition of truth in advertising!
At a poignant time in Ms. Shriver’s life, she read the following Hopi Prayer that I think is the perfect place to continue our journey of self exploration:
We have been telling the people that
this is the eleventh hour
Now we must go back and tell the
people that this IS the hour
Here are the things that must be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relations?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
This is the hour. There is no more perfect moment than this present moment to look at your life and decide if it reflects what is important to you. If it does – congratulations on a job well done! If it doesn’t, then why not commit yourself to start living the life the fuels your purpose and passion for life? Yesterday is done, tomorrow can be created brand new and today is the opportunity to design. So how, you ask, can we take on something so audacious as figuring out how to design a meaningful life? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, so let me share some insight from Ms. Shriver.
A couple of things struck me from reading her book. First, it doesn’t matter who you are, we all face questions, doubts, and insecurities at some point in time. Whether you are the First Lady of the State of California, a news anchor, an actor, a governor, a school teacher or a house wife, we are all humans and it is not our role that defines us, it’s the human being playing the role. As a human being, we have many more similarities than differences and share common ground as we strive for reaching our purpose.
Second, I was inspired by Ms. Shriver’s honesty and vulnerability in sharing her thoughts and her experience of finding her own purpose. Here is a lady that has been part of a Kennedy-Shriver legacy her whole life. Her relatives hold the distinct roles of president of the United States, senators, governor, founders of Special Olympics and Peace Corp, to name only a few. I don’t know about you, but I look at people in these circles and I make some assumptions, fair or unfair, right or wrong. I assume they must know what they want in life and they have their lives figured out given all of their experiences and opportunities. Once again, I was looking at the “role” and not the human being behind the role. The human being has to figure out life, just like the rest of us, regardless of, and perhaps in spite of, the legacy, the past, the position – the role.
As Ms. Shriver reflected on her many roles, I could relate to her self-described definition of being “people-pleasing, … perfection-seeking Good Girl.” For those of us who want to present a put-together, “I’m in charge and I know what I’m doing” veneer, it’s a scary thought to be vulnerable and acknowledge that I’m trying to figure it out, just like everyone else. Unless you are one of the rare few who fall into the category that already has a life that reflects what is important in your life, you have to be willing to get honest and vulnerable and pull off the veneer to get to what’s really important. From this scary and new place, you can discover what’s really important to you and start designing a life to provide fulfillment rather than a simple existence.
In tomorrow’s post, we are going to deeply explore the question of “Who will you be?” and some of the powerful insights, questions and answers from Ms. Shriver. Until then, block twenty minutes in your calendar and start considering the following questions: Are you who you want to be? Is your life everything you dream it can be? Tomorrow we will have some additional exercises that will fully explore these questions and give you some guidance in answering them to help you create an on-purpose life.