I love being a teacher.
I have loved it for many many years.
A few years ago though, I felt unsettled. I felt torn between loving it and wanting to do something different. It was a very real internal struggle. I didn't know what I actually wanted to do. I just knew I needed something more or different. I really had no idea what though. This feeling was sparked by a negative experience I had at a school I was working at but I didn't know what to do with myself or the emotions.
In retrospect, I didn't actually want to leave teaching, I just needed to give myself a break.
But during that time, I spent so long searching for 'my purpose'. I felt like I was walking through the rainforest - dense, dark, disoriented. I was wandering without direction, without a map and searching for something without knowing what I was really searching for. I was searching for what I believed to be 'my purpose' in life. (I would come to learn later that I already knew it all along!)
But I know I am not alone in this and high selling books such as 'The Secret' tell me this is true. People are searching for their true purpose in life. People are searching for more, for something they can give back to the world that gives them a sense of contribution. People are searching for the gift they can offer the world that gives purpose and meaning to their life. People want to leave a legacy.
And if anyone is like me....it drove me around in circles 'searching' for it when all I had to do was stop, listen and realise I already knew it all along and you probably do too.
As it is the time of year where we are thinking about gifts and giving, it got me thinking about what gifts we have already within us, that we, either are or aren't offering to those around us. I think a lot of people underestimate the gifts they have within and disregard them not ever realising, that the gifts they have to offer are their real purpose in life.
The meaning of life
Aaaaah...the eternal question that millions have spent lifetimes searching for the answer to!! If you ask Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!) the answer to this question is 42!
But that doesn't actually help us! Although it's just fun to share! But really, the meaning of life is to find our gift. The purpose of life is to give it away! (Wise wisdom from Pablo Picasso). Which, if you think about it, makes total sense! What is the purpose of having a gift that could serve the world and hold onto it and not do anything with it?
We really overthink and overcomplicate so many things! Life is really not as complicated as we make it out to be! We want to be happy. We want others to be happy. But in order to find true happiness, we need to access our gifts and use everything we have within us to share that with the world. We often become complacent because fear gets in the way and we think 'Well someone has more talent in this area than me' or 'Someone else is already doing it'. But don't be fooled....your life is yours and yours alone. Your happiness depends solely on you using your gift and not others using theirs.
The world is waiting
Both my coach and my husband have said to me at more than one point - if you don't share what you have with the world, you are being selfish. There is something about that word that rubs me the wrong way - which was probably their whole purpose of saying it. But they were both 100% correct.
The world is waiting for what you have. The world was and is waiting for what I have. It is not fair to not share your gifts and talents with the world. YOU are the gift. YOU are what the world is waiting for. Being selfish simply means, keeping the gifts the world needs, to yourself. The world is in such a desperate need for more good in the world. Don't ever think you can't make a difference.
It only takes one
If all you did was change the life of one person....would it be worth it?
If all you did was influence one person to change their thinking, see a different perspective, take a risk to do something different...would it be worth it?
Of course, it would. But being human...we often think we have to make big changes in the world! To that one person whose life you impacted - that IS their whole world! Don't underestimate the influence you have over one.
This Starfish Story is one of my favourites that makes this point so beautifully!)
So if you really don't know what your gift for the world is and you, like me, have been searching and looking outside of yourself then I am here to help you today!
FIRST: Stop looking outside of yourself
Everything you need is already within you. We spend so much of our lives looking outside of ourselves for growth, happiness, joy and all the good stuff we want in life. But after years of doing this, I am here to tell you-you need to stop looking out and look within. I promise you it is there. We just don't slow down enough to hear it or take notice.
Slow down and listen
Life is busy. Our minds are even busier. Most of us don't realise that our minds are constantly chattering and making noise and we take in everything it says. We don't often hear the thoughts and then let them go. But in order to listen and learn about ourselves, we HAVE to slow down. We have to find the time to breathe - whatever that looks like for you. It could be yoga, meditation, going to the beach. Find some time just to stop and think and reflect on your life. You might not hear anything the first time. It may take practice. But at the moment you stop trying to figure it all out - is the moment of discovery of what you are searching for.
Discovering your gifts
So here is what I learned about how to stop searching and actually work it all out! It is actually really simple. But I would suggest grabbing a piece of paper when you do this!
What do you really love? What is something in life you really love to do?
What are you good at?
What do people need and want?
If you have what people need and are searching for + you love what you do + you are good at it...
Right in the centre of all of those three things my friend - is your gift and your purpose.
The beautiful thing about this is, it can be ANYTHING at all! You just have to have those three elements come together. I am often intrigued by what people are passionate about because it is so different from my own passions! Whatever it is you love and are good at, if the world needs it - seek it out. It doesn't have to be mindblowing! Don't underestimate the power of simple! The thing that seems so easy to you is your talent, your gift. You're certain anyone could do it - but they can't!
Ultimately though - the true way you discover what your gifts are is not by searching. It is by serving others. People will respond to what you have because of what they need.
Go and be awesome!
Now all you have to do is go and be awesome! Use your gifts to help other people. You already know how to help others becasue your own journey in life has taught you how to do that! Let this guide you. Once you focus on your gifts and serving others, your perspective in life will shift. You will very quickly discover more beauty and opportunity all around you!
Not everyone is going to need or even understand your gifts and that's okay! The people who need you will find you. You just haven't found all who need you yet.
Everything is connected
It's all connected. Your journey so far, your gifts, your current circumstances, your purpose in life, your imperfections, your destiny. It's all connected. Life has been happening FOR you! It has been shaping and moulding you for this moment you are in right now. Embrace it.
You can not do everything that the world needs. But the world needs all the good you can do! You have the light within you to shine to the world. It only takes one to find the way out of the dark for it to be all worthwhile.
So I encourage you, this Christmas Season, to take some time to contemplate what gifts you have that you can share with the world. Do not underestimate what you have to offer and bring to the world. Shining is sharing an abundance with us all.
Until next week...wishing you all a very blessed and beautiful Christmas to you and your families.
With much love and gratitude,
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