Fairy tales are full of lives filled with purpose: bravery, treachery, rescues. Kingdoms lost and saved, new ones established.
But what about now? What about today? Who are the heroes in our lives and when do we get the chance to be a hero? A person truly impacting the world, making it a better place?
For many years, I wondered what I was supposed to do. I went into college with this feeling that I was supposed to do something “important” and then, when it was time to register for courses, there were so many options, I couldn’t decide. I knew there was some way I was supposed to make a difference, but had no idea what that was.
I spent 25 years in a career where I was lauded for doing something many people said they could “never do”. First I was a middle school teacher. Later a principal. The work was at times compelling, often interesting, certainly challenging. But still, it didn’t feel like it was made for me or I for it. I felt like a person wearing the wrong shoe size – at times stuffed into something too small. At other times, hardly able to fill the shoes I’d been given. It just wasn’t the right fit!
Looking back, I don’t see myself as having wasted those years. I affected many children’s lives for the better. I used my creativity to put together games and projects that my students enjoyed. I inspired students who didn’t think they could put pen to paper to write their hearts out. I advised teens to pursue their passions. I worked with my students and colleagues to plan large substance abuse prevention events and an annual walk for the homeless. I advised the student newspaper. I created systems where there were none as a principal. I coached teachers, students and families to move in the direction of what they really wanted – and still receive thank you notes from time to time for having done so.
Yet, until I actually found my purpose, I didn’t realized what I had been missing all those years. I went from being a principal to being a person who helps people become the principals in their own lives. I found myself purposed to help families of addicts learn new tools to get their lives back and help their loved ones get sober. I discovered a passion to help seekers find their deepest life purpose. The work has been more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined! In fact, finding my purpose was like opening the drapes and the windows in a room that had been dark and musty for years. The freshness and light all around me were blinding at first. I found myself on a high. Thrilled to finally know what I had come to share and how to do so.
As time has moved forward, my purpose has clarified itself, become more specific, and allowed me to do exactly the kind of good that I have always most enjoyed doing: working with people one on one and in small groups as a coach around issues of addiction, family addiction and life purpose; writing blogs, books, e-books, articles, on these topics; and having the time in between these self-assigned projects to enjoy my life, care for my family, and play with my dog. I’ve become grounded in the work I do; able to help others stay accountable to their own life work without getting caught up in their stories or challenges.
So, you may wonder what this has to do with you. If you are in any type of recovery, as I have been for the past 30 years of my life from both family addiction and my own challenges with food, maybe you can relate. At one point, my struggles with food and codependency were pushing at me and, simultaneously, I was miserable at work. I felt myself in a stranglehold as the politics at work grew in toxicity. I was in the middle of a maelstrom.
I remember sitting at a 12 step meeting sobbing uncontrollably. I had gotten myself into a job that was so not me, that I so wanted out of and that was so not purposeful for me, but I’d made a commitment and needed the insurance and the income. All I could think of to do was to eat my way through it. Finally, my recovery kicked back in and I regained my sanity around food, though not without some physical damage. As I restarted my spiritual practice, and the calm came back, I could see what I had to do. I needed to figure out a career change before the one I was in killed me.
So I took another job offer – one more prestigious than the last one for more pay – but with more pressure, out of town and that I seriously did not want.
Another year went by. Career misery seemed to be my fate – or so I thought. By February, I found an old therapist I’d had when younger to help me figure out next steps. By April, I had a plan. I would begin training for my next career as a Life Coach.
That I did. I left that career that year and never looked back. During my Coach Training, everyone I met just assumed I’d be a Leadership Coach for Teachers and School Leaders. Again, that feeling of a bad fit overtook me and I said no.
Yet, I needed a niche and didn’t have one. That fall, I began praying to find my purpose. Though I was pretty sure it had something to do with coaching, I was unclear as to how I was meant to serve. I really wanted to know exactly what I was meant to do and how to go about it.
Soon after I began praying, a friend called to let me know about a course coming up to help people find their life purpose!
I signed up immediately and within months I knew the details of my life purpose and began the work of manifesting it. This work of finding one’s life purpose is powerful. When I take clients through the process (which is a very purposeful activity for me), I find that some of them prefer to stay on the surface of the search, sifting through memories, experiences and preferences to find that which they are meant to do. Other clients, though, go deeper, and find their purpose through their dreams, journal writings, prayer and meditation through a series of exercises that I lead them through. This deeper work results in much more than a purpose statement. It often leads to a blueprint for a life of deep meaning and purpose through a step by step process to get you there. Both methods, the outer and inner, work. Each is designed for a different temperament at a different time in their life. Together we discover which is best for the seeker.
So, if you are in recovery and looking for more, feeling as I did like you want, even need, to find your reason for being as much as you want the water you drink and the food you eat, contact me and let’s get started. Finding your Life Purpose in Recovery has the potential to take you on an inner and outer adventure to the next level of your life and your recovery as you become the hero in your own life!