It’s Thursday, so I’m Crafting my Life! If you’d like to craft your life, too, and find a greater sense of purpose, sign up for the Crafting my Life Online Class, which starts SOON. Or, enter my giveaway and win a free registration. Get ready to do something for yourself, because you deserve it!
Last week, I told you that I’d discovered my mission in life – or at least my mission in life right now. And here it is:
My mission in life is to help other mothers live happier, more fulfilled lives.
This really resonates with me because it takes a lot of things that I am doing already, like my volunteer work, my job with VancouverMom.ca, my writing here at Strocel.com, my book dream and the online tools I create for Crafting my Life, and unifies them with a single statement. In many different ways, big and small, paid and unpaid, I am helping other moms live happier, more fulfilled lives. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what.
I don’t think that everyone needs a mission they can easily define in a single sentence. You can do amazing, meaningful and important things without one. But speaking purely for myself, I’ve found having that sentence helpful. It’s brought me greater clarity, and helped me set better priorities and goals. Since I’m a planner at heart, I really groove on this renewed sense of purpose, and I’m making all kinds of plans. But if I’m going to turn those plans into action, I need to free up some space, which means I need to let go of the stuff that isn’t working for me.
There are two things about letting go that I do not enjoy:
- Letting go is emotionally difficult.
- Letting go takes time and effort.
Image credit – Andrew Mitchell on Flickr
There are things in my life that aren’t really working for me, and that don’t help me further my mission, and I can identify them. But I’m invested in them all the same. In some cases, I’ve agreed to do something for someone else, and I don’t want to leave them in the lurch. In other cases, in order to let go of a task I need to put in some work to shut it down or prepare it for hand-off, and it’s hard to find time to do that. On top of that, there are my dragons who start telling me stories about how if I let go of something it will mean I’m a big quitter.
Invigorated by my mission, I’m ignoring my dragons, putting in the work to get things organized and learning how to gracefully step out of commitments that are getting in the way of the work I should be doing. The work I need to be doing. It’s isn’t easy, though, and as I face down a task I need to finish before I can let go, I have to force myself to swallow that frog. Who wants to spend a whole bunch of time working on something that doesn’t further your purpose, when you could be doing something that you enjoy? No one. But sometimes you need to put in a little bit of effort now to save work in the long run, so I’m doing it and having faith that it will pay off.
There is an upside to the hard-ness of letting go, and it’s the feeling of relief. When I hand off something that’s been weighing me down, I feel a bit of a rush. Doing something that isn’t working for you takes up a lot of energy. Letting go of it frees up all that energy for something more fulfilling and purposeful. With every little thing I let go, my hope is renewed. I can see that there is a light on the horizon, and that while it isn’t easy, it is worthwhile.
I have spent a lot of my life proving my worth (mostly to myself) by being useful. The problem is that I didn’t consider what was useful for myself, I mostly considered what was useful for others. Now I see that if I really want to be helpful, I should take on tasks that help me further my own mission. This way everyone wins, because I’m giving my best self and doing my best work, and I feel a sense of purpose. So I persist in this beginning phase, shedding my old skin, and enduring the discomfort it brings. It lets me know that there is a brighter day ahead.
Do you find it easy to let go of things that aren’t working for you, or do you struggle with the hard-ness of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you clear out space to pursue a greater sense of purpose and authenticity.