In life we face many choices. To go this way, or that. To do this or be that. Over and over, we must decide what we are going to do and be. When life throws you curveballs, sometimes you get thrown off what you thought was your course and must reevaluate everything.
When that happens, how do you proceed? How do you decide what your purpose is or how to pursue it?
I believe we all have a purpose here on earth and we need to figure out what it is in order to complete it to the best of our ability while we’re here.
Life has thrown me a very big curveball and I was struggling to figure out why I’m still here. Even to the point of not really wanting to be. It forced me to take the time to figure out where I’m meant to go from here.
Luckily, I have learned to trust that what I need will show up for me when I need it. And it did.
As I left town on my last road trip, I put on one of my favorite podcasts and relistened to an interview with Dandapani. He’s a Hindu priest who spent 10 years as a monk. Pretty impressive guy. In the interview he was talking about his book The Power of Unwavering Focus. I have yet to read the whole book but what stood out to me in the interview was when he started talking about one’s life purpose.
It was just what I needed to hear at that moment.
My understanding from what he shared is that our purpose is bigger than just our kids, our spouse, our job, or anything else that can go away. These may be sub purposes, and he’s not saying they aren’t important. What he’s saying is that you need to have something with a deeper meaning for your purpose. I don’t remember exactly what his is, but it had something to do with being the best person he could be and being an influence for the greater good.
This got me thinking, and I spent a lot of time on that vacation trying to understand why I’m here and what I need to accomplish. What is my purpose?
What I came away with is that our world is hurting right now. In many ways. And I need to contribute to helping us as a society, as part of this world, to heal. Having been through financial abuse and spent the time since my divorce working in the financial world I have felt called to “pay it forward.” I have often said that my inside mission is to empower women personally and financially. Since I was running a business with a different mission, this was just something I felt called to do and did it randomly when I saw an opportunity to live it.
Eventually, I founded my current company, Strong Women Thriving, wrote the manuscript I’ve been working to get published, started my Facebook group Women Surviving Financial Abuse, and slowly started exploring what that mission is to me. It’s been a side hustle for several years now. And it’s never really been given the energy it deserves.
Starting a second business while consumed with running an already successful one and “doing” life is challenging. Then, the curveball hit me last year and I went down hard. It’s been a struggle to get back to “doing” life, not to mention keeping my primary business going. My side hustle moved even further down the line of priorities.
I felt torn. Did I really want to keep doing this?
I have so much on my plate already. My business is successful; do I need more to do? It’s taking so long to produce any results; is it really worth it? I was plagued by indecision, and it showed.
I spent that week of vacation contemplating life and trying to discern my purpose.
And then it hit me. The world is hurting because there is so much abuse going on. There are so many women who are being subjected to financial abuse and worse. And I have been through financial abuse, and I have recovered.
Therefore, I have the experience and expertise to help other women recover from financial abuse. I’ve always known this; it was what that inside mission was all about. What I didn’t understand was that this hidden epidemic needs to be addressed, it needs to be exposed, and we as a society need to figure out how to stop it.
For that to happen, we need women to lead the recovery. Women who are driven by a purpose bigger than themselves. Women who can see that something’s got to give and soon.
That’s all well and good, I thought to myself, but who am I to think I can be the one to lead this movement for such big change? I’m a nobody. Just one woman who’s been through a tough situation and managed to pull myself up by my bootstraps. What gives me the right to think I can make a dent in this massive problem?
The self-doubt set in, and I wavered.
Sure, maybe it’s my purpose in life, but I’m just one small fish in a great big sea. We all know how hard it is to stand out on the internet. It’s a slog to get known. How in the heck am I going to be the one to fix this huge problem?
I started thinking about all the progress women have made over the centuries. How we earned the vote, how we got the freedom to own property, how we’ve become a dominating force in the work world. And all the other small and big rights that we have slowly earned. None of them came overnight.
When we think about these big changes, we think about the big names that lead these charges.
Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I could go on and on. There are so many women that we know about that have influenced the women’s movement and all the rights we have fought to have.
What we don’t think about is all the Carol Lutz’s out there that no one has heard about but who impacted their small circle of influence and helped move all these changes along. Carol is my mother. She raised five children, three of them girls. My brothers learned to respect women and to support their rights. My sisters and I learned to be those powerful, influential women who did whatever we wanted despite obstacles from the hierarchy.
That’s when I realized I might never be a Susan B. Anthony or a Gloria Steinem. But perhaps I could influence my own small circle. And maybe I could even work to make my circle bigger over time.
If my purpose is to help heal the world and to change the course of a hidden epidemic, I certainly can’t expect to do that alone.
However, I can be a player. I can stand out and stand up. I can reach out and connect with other women who are also trying to change the world. Together, we can have a big influence. And I can focus on my purpose and not worry about how many people hear me or follow me on social media.
I can stay on course and focus on the mission I’ve felt drawn to since I left my abusive marriage. I am not still here, despite the hardships I’ve endured, to give up. I’m here to contribute to the greater good in my own small or maybe medium-sized way. One day at a time, one connection at a time, one offer of support or encouragement at a time.
My purpose is to help heal the world from the financial abuse that is hurting so many women.
I realize that may mean working more than I want to some days. It may mean that I don’t see a payoff financially for some time. It may mean that I get discouraged or overwhelmed. I may even want to give up at times.
But I am clear that I have a purpose that is bigger than my job or my family and that while those things are important, they are not my main purpose. This is. And I will do the best I can to keep the focus off of me and on that purpose as I do my part to move this important cause forward another step or two.
I will continue the legacy started by my mother and all the other women who have come before and blazed the trail that I now walk. I will lay down a few stepping stones on that path along with the other leaders of change that I meet, and then, when our turn is done, others will take their turn and continue to walk the path of healing this world.