Thursday, January 17, 2013

What If Money Was No Object? + Discovering Your Purpose

Man, this one hit me like a ton of bricks. As I was watching, I kept asking myself that same question, over and over again. Funny how when you take money out of the equation, it’s like an entirely new world opens up for exploration. Ideas flowed, images flashed before my eyes. One line really stood out to me:
Better to have a short life full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
What do I desire? To be honest, I feel like I’m only just scratching the surface, slowly uncovering what that answer is right now. The whole process is exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and comes with butterflies every now and again, all wrapped into one tasty life sandwich. I can feel my mind going through this transition phase of (re)discovery, tapping into the whispers of my very own soul, keeping my head close to the ground to hear what the universe is trying to tell this stubborn brain of mine. Maybe that’s what your mid-20s are for?
I look at myself when I was a teenager… so self-assured, yet so unsure at the same time. Those awkward phases, the trying to fit in, the trying to stand out, self-expression (note to self – never dye your hair black again), and who could forget the hordes of emotions that were way bigger than me. Ohhh, the things I thought I knew. I think if I ever attempted writing a letter to my younger self it would end up being a massive novel. Art of War style. Bound, hard cover, indestructible. The kind of book you could use to level out your busted old couch. Solid stuff.

Transitioning into my twenties was all about liberation. Freeing myself of all that junk in the attic so-to-speak. Living out my life my way, making mistakes, taking risks, letting go of negativity (whether it was thoughts, people, situations), conquering the world. All the good stuff. There were ups, there were downs, but all those things were on my terms and that’s all that really mattered. I learned to trust my intuition, to bask in my independence, and to shake it off. Preferably with loud music, in the kitchen, busting out all the right moves.

And now, here we are. What do I desire? What ignites that fire? I can say, with deep, genuine truth, that I am excited for the future. Not the future in that vague distant magical land where fairy tales live either. I’m excited for tomorrow, the day after that, and after that, and so on. You know when you walk outside after months and months of winter cold, and you feel that very first warm breeze gently touch your face? Then you close your eyes, feeling the sun beat on your face, and breathe in a deep, exhilarating breath that fills every square inch of your lungs? That’s how I feel. Like I’m letting myself be open to this entirely new world of fresh perspectives, abundance, and a type of fulfillment that I’ve never truly experienced before.

That’s not to say it’s easy. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and tell you that it is. (We’re friends! We don’t do that sort of thing.) It’s a work in progress. Some days are wicked awesome, others get the best of you. C’est la vie, and all that jazz. It’s about arming yourself with the right tools and letting that spark catch. Trust me, the fire within you will spread, igniting a type of determination that can’t be extinguished. Not even self-doubt, insecurities, or that looming negative cloud. (It’s always somewhere.) And together, together we’ll discover our purpose.


Discovering your life's purpose takes action. I find that whenever I think about something in a grand-scheme kind of way, I get overwhelmed. The idea of simply asking myself "What is my purpose?" has me sitting there, dumbfounded, unsure of what to tell myself. You too? No big deal, it's a pretty action packed question. My knee-jerk reaction is just to run and hide, rather than answering in a way that seems so... finite.

Instead, let's do a (simple) exercise! I find tackling one BIG goal is better when divided into easy, simple steps, don't you? This method by Steve Pavlina does just that. Here's what you do:

1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or start up your computer and get ready to type.
2. Write at the top, "What is my true purpose in life?"
3. Write an answer that pops into your head. Any answer. (Don't censor yourself!) It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't even have to be a complete sentence, a phrase, a feeling. Just get those mental juices going.
4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

According to Steve, usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.

For some, it will take a lot longer to get the false answers out. (Even upwards of an hour.) Some of your answers may be similar, you may even write previous answers multiple times. The important thing is to keep writing. During this process, you may think it's stupid and want to quit - push past this feeling and keep writing. Some answers may even give you a surge of emotion, but just miss the mark. Highlight those, go back to them if you need to, expand on them. You're getting close!

Here's his answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

When you have some time to dedicate, find a cozy spot where you'll be free from interruptions and get writing. When you find your own unique answer, it should resonate with you deeply. Give it a try! I'm going to find my own little oasis and get writing this weekend.

Remember - this part is easy. After you've discovered your purpose, it's what you do with it that will change your life. It's hard work, but you can do it. Now's the time!

Before you go, just a couple of questions for you! How do you tackle big tasks? Lists? Small goals? Head on? I'd love to hear your approaches! And lastly... what would you do if money didn't matter?


  1. When I have some time, I am definitely going to sit down and try this. Thinking about my life purpose just sounds so HUGE and full of pressure. But I will give this a go!

  2. You should be a life coach. And a photographer. But really- I get so inspired every time I read your blog.

    Funny thing is, we've had a lot of the work/money/happiness discussions around here lately, and we're trying the happiness angle despite the less money. It's terrifying. But exciting!

  3. Ahhhh this post just melts me. I absolutely love this! As a girl sitting in college, feeling like I'm wasting my time a bit, I love & needed this post!
    xo Heather

    1. SO happy you enjoyed the post :) and even though you may feel like you're wasting your time (so many times I've felt the same), always know that everything leads to something else! And I'm pretty sure that something is going to be pretty great ;)

  4. Life purpose is far too much for me to comprehend at the moment, but I do love this post.

    Big tasks need lots of lists. I feel instantly calmer by writing things down. Things around the issue, things relevant to the issue. Whatever the task is, it needs a list to be unpacked visually for me. Whether or not I even use these lists is somewhat irrelevant to me; I just need to "see" what I'm dealing with.

    How do you handle big tasks? X

  5. wow, this is a wonderful idea! I love this. THank you for stopping by I found you there and am Glad I did.


  6. what a great exercise! definitely trying this... as for tackling big goals: lists, lists, lists... breaking big things into small to make them more manageable.
    xo adela

    1. I'm a huge list person too! Definitely less overwhelming to break it down. I find whenever I forget to (or just don't) do this step, I end up procrastinating more. I also find WRITING rather than typing really helps as well... don't know why! :)

  7. Ok you have given me that extra little push that I needed! Seriously! Beteween this post and your guest post over @ The Shine Project I've made my final decision to jump into something that I've been afraid to do for the past 5 years! Also, I just bought a book called "Where Will You Be Five Years From Today". I stopped at the second page because it asks you what your "Mission Statement" is. I got stuck and now I will be able to revisist this question! Thanks for your help and inspiring words :)