When I was a teenager, my father, a man of very few words, once said to me, “There is only one person in the world who you need to care about what they think of you—make sure you can look at them in the mirror every morning.” At the time, I thought he was telling me to be honest and think about the consequences of my choices before I made them.
Now, many years later, I think he wasn’t just talking about being accountable for my day-to-day choices, but was telling me to go deeper inside and ponder the “why” of my choices. I think he was trying to help me see that the reason I was bouncing around like a little boat without a rudder on the ocean was I didn’t have a clear sense of purpose or direction—especially not one that spoke deep enough to my heart that it could help me overcome my fears, ineffective behaviors, and handicaps.
It has taken me many years, but I have come to see that having a clear sense of purpose and a commitment to that purpose can serve as a rudder that can guide us through the rocky waters of everyday life. A sense of purpose can also serve as a solid foundation for good and solid choices to grow from. Our day-to-day focus can change as we move through life, but I have also found that within each of these ever-changing road markers there is usually a consistent thread. In my mind, this is purpose.
Purpose, from my perspective, is a burning desire or a calling to make a difference in a specific way for a specific reason. When I was younger, I wanted to make a difference, but since I lacked a rudder of clear purpose I ran around trying to fix everything and everyone. Now, my clear sense of purpose is like a lens that I look through or frame my every choice.
Finding my purpose and holding tight to that thread has made me strong and provided me with an unlimited supply of inspiration, creativity, and courage. Whenever I question a choice or response, and I do it often, I force myself to go back to Step Zero—my purpose—and look through that lens. From that vantage point I ask myself a series of questions: Why do I want to do or say that? Does this choice move me further away from, or closer to, the change I want to facilitate? Is this choice driven by old fears and learned patterns or is it really in alignment with the difference I want to make in the world? Sometimes I have my answer quickly and sometimes it can take me several days to unravel the maze of confusion to find my answer. It is my father’s words and my commitment to my purpose that gives me the strength to keep going until I have my answer.
With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also wonderful way to pull yourself inward and help you find your clear purpose.