Are you living your destiny?
Do you love what you do? Do you know your purpose?
I believe that each one of us is born with a special gift to share with the world.
Some people are more fortunate than others at finding and living in their purpose each day. As the saying goes, “when you love what you do, and do what you love — it’s not work.”
Unfortunately, most people wake up each day to go to a job they hate, praying for it to be Friday and hoping for Monday not to come, never realizing the one thing that they were meant to do. The end result is unhappy and unfulfilled souls.
Long lasting happiness, in my opinion, can only come when your gift and purpose is aligned with what you do each day. Haven’t you notice you are happiest when you are doing something you love?
Try this out.
Think back to an activity that leaves you energized and joyful when doing it, or think of the things that you were good at when you were a kid. Those things are clues to your purpose and gift.
As an example, ever since I was a little girl I loved to write, in fact, my grandpa nicknamed me ‘La Periodista’ which means the Journalist, because I loved storytelling. I would walk around with a notepad and pen interviewing people about their lives and would write amazing stories of their experiences. That should have been my clue that writing was my soul’s purpose.
All too often, when we become adults, we end up doing things that are far from the things we dreamed of as children. Do you ever wonder why? So many of us as children dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, an astronaut, an inventor, a firefighter, a doctor, a pilot, a mermaid. Mermaids aside, why didn’t we become those things? As we grew up, what made us believe that those things were not achievable?
Ask yourself these questions. If you knew that you could not fail, what would you be doing? If money or other impediments were not an issue, how would you be spending your time? Who would you serve?
Every time I pose those questions to anyone I know they tell me,
“Ah that’s easy…” and they proceed to tell me what their true passion is and how they would spend the remainder of their lives if money was not an issue.
What I discovered after talking to many of you in preparation for this blog is that people are not living in their truth due to lack of knowledge. More people than I expected actually are aware as to what their real passion is. So what stops people from living their passion then?
Let me illustrate.
My good friend Lina has worked as a Program Manager for an EDTech distance learning company for the past 15 years. Lina was recently let go and is now in the process of finding a new job.
At breakfast one morning, I asked Lina why she is looking for another job when her true passion is baking cakes. Lina has been baking her beautiful creations part time on the side for years (instagram @linascake6). Lina knows well that baking is her primary gift and the one thing she is meant to do in life. How does she know this? Because it is the one thing that makes her feel alive. Baking is her happy place and it makes her heart sing.
As an outside observer I asked Lina if she has considered that perhaps, her being packaged out of the EDTech company, is a sign and a gift that the Universe is giving her to finally push her to pursue her true gift full time and finally live the life she was meant to have.
“Why not take a leap of faith and trust the Universe?” “Why don’t you put all your effort into building your dream?” I asked.
Her answer was typical of the ones we all have experienced: FEAR TO FAIL
The Fear to Fail
The fear to fail is by far the number one obstacle as to why so many people live their lives with their passion dormant. The fear that Lina feels is as real as her true gift, and the test for all of us is to ask ourselves which will be more powerful— our fear to fail or our passion to fulfill our true calling?
Many of us question our ability, our talent and our worthiness in being able to pursue our true dream. We can come up with a hundred reasons why we can’t and won’t succeed. The worst thing about it is that we believe our own unfounded thoughts.
I was there. I knew in my heart that what I loved most was to write. Yes, my passion was and still is story telling. I think that this has become obvious to many of you who read my monthly stories on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for that!
But prior to taking this leap of faith, I never thought myself worthy enough or good enough to make a living out of my gift. I did not believe in my gift enough. Back then, my fear to lose was stronger than my desire to live in my purpose.
So what did I do?
I settled for ordinary jobs and an ordinary existence and yes I dreaded the start of the week and I dreaded every minute in between Monday and Friday.
I told myself so many limiting thoughts over the years. I told myself that I could not possibly be a great writer and a great storyteller because I had no formal training. I told myself that I was not talented enough, that English wasn’t my first language and therefore I could not take the endeavor to write books and worse, I questioned the fact that perhaps I had no real gifts to offer the world. Sadly I talked myself out of my destiny for many years.
It was not until I founded an EDTech company that I was finally able to bring my true gift into the work I did daily.
I used my love for writing and story telling combined with my desire to help people, to sell a futuristic concept to universities. I persuaded the universities to allow my company to take their traditional degree programs and convert them to an online format. This allowed the universities to reach a student population that they would have never had access to.
Today this sounds like something that every university should do, but you have to remember that in 1994, the World Wide Web was a foreign concept to most people. The only ‘Web’ people could relate to was the spiderwebs in their homes. What I was proposing was scary for the school Deans and Directors. Fortunately, I discovered how successful I was at using my art of storytelling to paint a picture of the future.
I went to conferences to speak and educate professors, Deans and administrators about an untapped market and future for their university programs. It was surreal. I was the new kid on the block and the roles were reversed. I was the teacher and they were the students.
I wrote articles in magazines about the benefits of delivering education at a distance, and how new emerging technologies could be used to enhance education. I felt like The Jetsons trying to sell a picture of a world through words, but one that most people could not yet fathom.
Any outsider looking in would have told me 100 reasons why I was going to fail. Compared to our competitors, we had no venture capital and we were the smallest company in our space. How did we succeed you may ask?
The minute you choose to take a leap of faith at living in your gift, the Universe goes to work and she conspires to help you realized that purpose. I was in alignment with my soul’s purpose and gift, and guess what? Sure enough, the Universe stepped in to guide me.
After trying for a year in Canada without success, I ventured into the US. The first university to take a chance on us was Colorado State University who had a large distance learning program that they delivered through conventional mail. Colorado State University put our company on the map. All we needed was one school to give us a chance for others to follow and what a better school than one who was a pioneer and known for their distance learning. If that was not the hand of God, I don’t know what was!
What we could not accomplish in our home Canada we accomplished abroad. My company went on to become one of the leading providers of education at a distance, with over one million learners worldwide. That leap of faith made it possible for working adults to change and improve their lives by making education available anytime, anywhere.
Was it easy? NO!
Was it an overnight success? Yes sure!
An overnight success that took 15 YEARS of struggle, tears, faith, resilience, trial and error, but one that was our true passion and it was that passion that carried us over the difficult times and prevented us from quitting the dream.
You are never going to fulfill your soul’s purpose unless you are willing to take the risk of failing. You are never going to succeed in finding your true passion unless you are willing to let yourself feel the fear and use it to fuel you into action. There is nothing wrong with fear. Fear is a normal part of life. You get to decide whether you’re going to use fear or if you are going to let fear use you. The choice is entirely yours.
Something to Fall Back-On
The second thing that prevents people from living their passion is having a —Plan B
Have you heard people say, “Make sure you have something to fall back on. Make sure you have a full time job to pay the bills while you go after your dream.”
WORST advice someone can ever give you and one you should never listen to.
In fact that is the first thing Lina said, “I need a full time job to have something to fall back on, you know, to pay the bills. It won’t be for long, maybe a year until my business takes off.”
The sad reality is that I have heard this many times and seen those same people ten years later still in the same job, and with their dreams still waiting. Having something to fall back on will only give you the illusion of safety, and it will prevent you from fully giving the energy it takes to realize your destiny.
You need to trust enough in your gift and know that the Universe put that dream in your heart for a reason. It was for you to fulfill it and when you take that leap of faith, the Universe goes to work to align it all for your dream to come to pass. At least that is what I believe.
Suddenly doors you did not know existed will open up for you. The right people, opportunities and circumstances will show up to help you reach your destiny. Once you are in alignment with your soul’s purpose and you make an intention fuelled by passion, nothing will stop you.
Let me put this in perspective. When you raised a child, did you have a Plan B just in case your child didn’t want to walk or learn to potty train?
Of course not. Failure was not an option. You did whatever it took to ensure your child learned to walk and eventually be self-sufficient. Having something to fall back on is a huge impediment on your dreams. As Denzel Washington said in an interview, “I don’t want anything to fall back on except my faith.”
Let me give you another example. There was a story I read many years back about a Commander who took his troops to the enemy’s shore to conquer the country. Even though the army had no other means to escape beside the ships they arrived in, the Commander ordered his soldiers to burn the ships. When questioned why he gave such an order, he responded,
“We either fight to win or we die.”
The Commander understood human nature well. When having an escape route, his soldiers would not fight with the same vigorousness and mightiness, as long as they knew they could turn back to their boats and escape. He understood that his soldiers would fight differently if they knew that their life depended on it.
The same holds true of our gifts and our soul’s purpose. When I was building my EDTech company, I had nothing to fall back on. I was fresh out of school. I had a small loan from the bank and all my livelihood was running on that business succeeding. Having something to fall back on is just going to prevent you from truly realizing your dream.
BURN YOUR SHIP.
Take the leap of faith and trust the Universe, and know that you have all you need to see your dreams through.
Playing it safe
The third obstacle that stops people from living in their gift is ‘playing it safe.’ Many of us discount what we have to offer this world because we don’t see how we can make a real difference. We don’t see how we can change or influence anyone or make money in the process. Consequently, we are quick to settle for something else that can pay our bills. We elect to play it safe and why not? It’s easier!
Safe is boring and it’s complaisant.
The moment you start to doubt yourself in succeeding at your dream, KEEP GOING. Ignore the chatter in your head. The brain is designed to do that in order to keep you safe. The minute your brain senses you are stepping into the unknown, it will immediately try to pull you back. Your own brain will try to convince you to not try because it is safer here in the known. Many of us listen to our brain’s chatter and stay in substandard lives compared to the ones that were meant for us.
Knowledge is power, and when I learned this, I was able to keep going by simply becoming aware of my thoughts. The best weapon in quieting and weakening the monkey-chatter in my brain was in not dedicating energy to it. Just because I was having a thought, didn’t mean it was true.
When I was writing my book, The Best Worst Thing that Happened to Me, I had all kinds of limiting and fearful chatter telling me that I was not good enough to write the book. I ignored it and kept going. I reminded myself that whatever discomfort I was feeling, it was normal and that if I felt any fear, then I was on the right track. I am happy to communicate that my book is now going to be in the market by November of this year.
The purpose of this blog is not to persuade you to leave your day job or change the direction of your life. Only you can arrive at that decision. I am only the story teller remember? I simply wish to sprinkle small seeds in your soil. You can decide if you like to cultivate those seeds of knowledge I am sharing, and see them grow and reap fruit.
They say that the wealthiest place in the world can be found in the graveyards. Buried in those graves are hidden treasures of unrealized dreams. Don’t take your gift to your grave. Share it. Don’t rob the world of your books never written, your songs never sung, your business ideas or inventions never started that could have changed the world.
I believe that we were placed on this earth to realize and share our gift and as such we have a responsibility to humanity to fulfill our dreams. God didn’t give you your gift so that it could stay buried. CLAIM IT. Your passion needs to be stronger than your fears.
My gift is to share with you how I arrived at my own gifts and perhaps this can inspire you to find yours. My advice: don’t let the story you tell yourself keep you from living the life you were meant to have. Don’t tuck your dreams under the carpet when you close the door each day on your way to your dreadful job.
Dare to dream. Burn your ships and see your life unfold. In the words of Lisa Nichols, “Hold fear in one hand and passion in the other, and leap.”