“Study the past if you would define the future.” ~ Confucius
Growing up I wasn’t the confident, self-assured woman you see before you today.
In reality, I was a bit of a negative Nancy. Every time I was presented with a new task or opportunity, I immediately assumed I couldn’t do it without even trying.
I was my own worst enemy. Never feeling good enough, I morphed into whatever version of myself that would allow me to be seen in the best light, never really knowing who I truly was.
It was rough to say the least. I was semi-popular and talented to everyone on the outside looking in; but on the inside, I was struggling to find my true identity and my path.
While everyone else was having fun creating their identity, I was struggling to find my own.
That was the beginning of a very long search for my purpose in life. Over the years I tried on different faces to see which one felt the best and incidentally got the best reaction from others. You see, I didn’t trust myself enough to know who I was or to even believe that under all those masks, the real me was enough.
For years I followed the rules and did the things that were expected of me. My good grades and extracurricular activities landed me a spot in a good college where I decided on a sensible major and graduated. I then got a good job, with an okay salary and insurance and became the very responsible adult that I was supposed to become.
But, I was bored.
I thought yet again that something was wrong with me. Somehow I didn’t fit into the corporate world of meetings, paper-pushing and planning for retirement. But, like everyone else, I needed to make ends meet and that was what you’re supposed to do, right?
As I slowly evolved into more of my true self and began doing things that sparked a bit of passion within, I discovered a longing in my soul that I couldn’t quite figure out.
It felt as though a piece of my life puzzle was missing, leaving a gaping hole where my joy, happiness and purpose were supposed to be.
I soon realized what my soul craved was more connection, purpose and passion. I felt the pull to do something with more meaning and creativity, but I couldn’t quite figure out what that was.
It turns out while I was searching for the missing link, I was standing in the center of my purpose, just on the wrong side.
It took another eight years or so for me to get really clear about my purpose because I was so blinded by what everyone around me said I should be doing. The responsible part of me was trying desperately to hang on and fit in with the rest of the world, while my inner wild soul was aching to be released, to change lives, and to ensure that other women like myself weren’t ignoring the call of their soul.
It’s taken me over 10 years to truly own my purpose and to help others identify theirs, and it all started in the story of my past.
Recognizing my journey and how I felt disconnected from my soul crying out to me is ultimately what led me to the work I do today. It is from my own experiences, struggles, life lessons, and triumphs that allow me to passionately reach out and help others because I know the feeling all too well. And, while I didn’t find my purpose in some textbook in college, my calling has evolved out of every memory and experience of my past.
Many of us have endured this journey, searching outside of ourselves for the key to our ultimate happiness only to find it almost always brings us back full circle—back to where our journey started. With fresh eyes, we see that the thing we thought we were missing was right under our nose all along.
Your purpose and passion lie in the story of your past. In your struggles, triumphs, joy and life lessons lie a bit of wisdom you can’t get anywhere else and, because you’ve lived it, you understand it like no one else can.
Your purpose isn’t something out there waiting to be found. It is right here, right now waiting to be recognized. The truth is, you’ve had it all along. Only when you listen closely to the whisper of your soul will you be able to truly see it for the amazing gift that it is.
The question isn’t whether you have a purpose, because you most certainly do. The question is what are you going to do with it?
Author: Lamisha Serf-Walls
Editor: Caroline Beaton