The perfectionist inside me has prevented regular posts that ought to have preceded this one. In any case, this is the first in a series of posts on P words.
At the top of my list of P words is PURPOSE.
- PURPOSE is understanding why something is of personal importance.
- PURPOSE is using this reason to take the required actions each day.
- PURPOSE is prioritising these actions over other things – even when ‘other things’ seem so bright and shiny!
Did someone say bright and shiny? Where? Let me see!
“Stop chasing rainbows!”
I have received (and rejected) a lot of advice over the years. Those words, delivered by someone close to me almost a decade ago, I really took to heart.
Stop chasing rainbows? I’m a rainbow kind of guy and I hated that advice as it seemed to imply I should give up on my dreams.
I eventually came to appreciate rather than resent those words, with help from a little Dolly wisdom…
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”
PURPOSE isn’t just knowing what you want, it’s taking an honest look at your situation. It’s realising that what you have to work with is a rainstorm. Hey, let’s be honest, maybe it’s the proverbial shit storm.
PURPOSE is a reason to work in the rain.
PURPOSE is a reason to work through your shit as you reach for something more.
“Stop chasing rainbows.” This advice does not say “give up on rainbows.” The advice is to “stop chasing.” A beautiful rainbow off in the distance may hold such promise, wonder and appeal. That rainbow belongs to someone else. Stop chasing it.
The only rainbow that’s in reach is the one that comes at the end of your rainstorm.
Life is just as messy as it is beautiful, many people say even more so. There will always be some kind of rainstorm to work through, so work through it and earn a rainbow. What exactly is this rainbow? Maybe what the rainbow represents is no longer a ‘dream’ but a ‘goal’?
“Remember that the difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline.”
A previous manager of mine, possibly the most glamorous woman I’ve ever known, spoke those words to me about four years ago. It was a delightful moment of connection. One of those moments when someone tells you something with an open heart and you’re finally in a position to hear it.
This concept is not particularly glamorous but sometimes a purpose is simply a plan. I set a goal to write a book, which for me means writing at least an hour each day.
Writing is not a flight of fancy on the wings of inspiration through blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It’s turning up to tap away on the keyboard or put pen to paper for a set period of time each day. Often what comes out is not so wonderful. Of course there are moments when the words seem to sing and writing feels like a fabulous ride, but you have to accept the turbulence too!
I have discovered joy in writing for an audience (even if that audience is just one other person or is yet to be seen). Shifting away from writing only for myself allowed my writing to move from darkness into light. I also experienced a shift in purpose when I decided to write a book that could be read to or by children.
In February 2016 I was very fortunate to attend TEDx Southbank. It was at this event I connected with a children’s book author, who has since become a mentor. The meetings I keep with him have allowed me to progress to an exciting stage with my fictional story.
I am blessed to have a small circle of friends and colleagues who have followed my progress and will soon be my first readers. That I am able to share a positive and life-affirming story has given me renewed sense of purpose.
Do you have a word that helps provide focus? Feel free to comment.