We all have a purpose, sometimes it just takes awhile to arrive at it.
After college, I got a job with a division of News Corporation in Los Angeles. At the time, I was sure that wearing a fancy suit and hose everyday was my life’s calling. I was going to be a rising star within the company, and someday I’d eventually work my way up to be “known” throughout all of News Corporation.
Those best-laid plans failed not even a year later, and during the next several years all of my highly-detailed career plans also failed. I felt like a career failure because I had not lived up to what I thought society wanted out of me: a girl rocking the corporate world.
I simply had not found my purpose.
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As I drove to the airport yesterday, thoughts that have been stirring in my head for quite some time came to fruition. I sent the following text to Ryan and my mother:
I’m going to write a book, and I’m going to tile it Gravel Roads.
I listened to this TEDx speech from my dad’s friend today while stuck in traffic and it resonated with me, but I also feel it speaks directly to what you are considering….
And so I listened and watched Richard Leider speak:
I took notes on almost everything he said, and many of the things will be guiding ideas and motivation moving forward.
But two things stuck out to me immediately:
- He says there are three C’s in the Power of Purpose. The second C is “Curiosity,” in which he mentions, “finding extraordinary in the ordinary.” One of my biggest fears in life was to remain ordinary. Even from a very early age, I was afraid of being ordinary my whole life. (This is one reason I think I set my goals to climb to very high Corporate-world levels at an early age. I wanted to be recognized and stand out among the crowd.) Before my wedding, I saw a therapist for awhile. She called me, “average.” I despised her for it, and she ultimately fired me. (Ha!) But here’s what I learned (in very few words), I am ordinary, and that is okay because I found the extraordinary within ordinary. It was within this place where I found my life’s mantra, “When gravel roads are all you’ve ever known, you learn to find beauty in the dust.“
- The two most important days of your life. At the very end of his talk, Richard Leider describes the day that a man from an African tribe (where he was traveling) asked him what the two most important days of our lives are. Leider responded (as most of us would have responded), “The day you are born, and the day you die.” He responded back, “The day you are born, and the day you decide why you are here.”
I confused a job and career with a (true) life calling when I thought News Corporation and climbing mighty corporate ladders was my destiny. At the time, my purpose was to fit in, be recognized and deemed highly worthy of prestigious accolades.
A job and a career are different than a calling. Leider gives equation:
I have arrived. I have found my purpose at this phase of my life (which Leider says needs to be re-imagined at different phases of our lives).
My purpose seeks nothing fancy. It seeks no title. It seeks not money, nor luxury nor the approval of people in places for which I couldn’t care less about approving.
My purpose will be told, shared and celebrated via “Gravel Roads,” and I can’t wait to start writing this book.
Want more? Read Can vs. Meant To.
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