How to (really) live your life purpose

Life purpose is a Big Deal. It’s fabulous to know what it is, finally, but then what?

I’ve heard more than a few people say that knowing their life purpose feels like this huge thing they suddenly have to live up to, and it feels so far away and overwhelming. Plus, how do they even start to get there?

I’ve come to think of life purpose as something it takes your lifetime to master and grow toward. After all, if you were done, you’d be dead, right?

Therefore, I see it as something that we must move toward — and live — incrementally. It’s something that happens with one step after the other, moving toward a culmination — a critical mass even — of steps, actions, choices, and decisions that have us embracing a new destiny.

And LIVING your life purpose means taking those steps and making those choices on a daily basis to be in alignment with who you are here to be.

Making the Choices in the Moment

Here’s what I mean:

My own life purpose picture includes Success, Leadership, Family/Community and Mass Communications.

Yesterday, I received a somewhat jumbled email list of tasks from another parent to help our preschool dealing with the sudden death of one of their teachers. I was a little overwhelmed by it and was trying to figure out how and if I wanted to help. As I contemplated the list, it became clear to me that the reason I was overwhelmed was that there was no plan to get the results we wanted (success) and no clear authority leading the charge (leadership).

I thought, “This project needs a leader.” And then, “I’m a leader. I’ll do it.”

I checked with myself first to make sure I wasn’t just seeing a need and filling it, but consciously deciding how I wanted to participate so I didn’t fall into the School of Service trap of self-sacrifice. Then I went for it.

What was so fabulous about this was having an opportunity to use my organizational and online skills to create ways for our community to communicate, succeed at creating the outcomes we wanted, and to be a leader while doing so. And voilà, I was living my purpose.

Don’t Fall Into the “It’s Too Hard” Trap

Living your life purpose is about making the smaller choices on a daily basis and seeing them through. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to pull off the whole shebang at once. Yes, you’ll want to aim for that ultimate outcome of your purpose, but you’ll also want to be living it along the way.

A little bit at a time will be just fine, thank you very much.

Your Turn

What does this inspire for you? Let us know on the blog.



Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only a few items are left. Find them here.

~> January 23rd, 2012. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.

~> February 2, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on February 2. Details. SOLD OUT.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was just named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Getting back into the swing of things after time off. :)

Visionaries: You Must Be a Leader and You Must Have a Plan

I love science fiction with a passion that is beyond reason. It delights me utterly.

I love it because it expands our limited thinking in the most unbelievable ways. And since I espouse and delight in such expansive, biggifying thinking, well, sci-fi pretty much always makes my day.

Can’t Stop the Signal?

This weekend, one of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows — Firefly — experienced a fascinating resurgence. It was cancelled shortly into production in 2002 after a short-sighted move on the part of a big network (Fox). The fans of the show have been pining for more ever since.

On Twitter last week, in response to the news that the show will be airing again on the Science Channel, the lead actor, Nathan Fillion, mentioned that if he were to win the lottery, he’d buy the rights to the show, make new episodes, and release them on the internet.

The fans of the show have gone wild with tweets, comments, and speculation ever since, and have even kicked a fund raising campaign idea into gear to try to get the show back on the air, again (apparently there have been other past attempts with unfortunate outcomes).

Why am I telling you all this?

What fascinates me about this is that while an anonymous fan has jumped into action to set up a fund raising website, the project doesn’t seem to be gaining much momentum. I think this is true for a few key reasons:

1. There is no clear leader on the project. The person who has set up the website has chosen to remain anonymous. I think this undermines his or her credibility.

On the other hand, I personally think this project would have a much better chance of success with leadership from the visionary series creator, Joss Whedon, or at very least the lead actor, Nathan Fillion. If they were taking the lead on this, with a good team to help them implement it, I think nothing in the ‘verse could stop it.

2. There is no clear plan for the project. The basic idea floated on the fan website is this: We’ll figure it out once we get the go-ahead from Fillion. The issue I have with this is that there isn’t enough for him or other leaders to respond to. Lots of good ideas but no clear plan. I think the folks behind the scheme might want to consider laying out a serious campaign and a serious approach so that the Powers That Be have something tangible and real to respond to.

3. The role of the followers is muddy. As fans, do “we” have the power to take on a project like this? I’ve been asking myself that question pretty seriously over the last few days, and thinking closely about whether or not I want jump on board and make a proposal to make this project happen.

On the one hand, it’s a perfect “Browncoat Rebellion” against the evil (Network) Alliance — a more show-paralleling campaign could not have been better designed.

On the other hand, even in the show, they still had the captain to lead the charge. :)

Visionaries Take Note

What can we learn from this? We visionaries who want to deeply impact the world with our ideas, art, messages, and insights…

1. If you want to see your vision come to fruition, you have to be the leader — be someone other people can follow. Sure, you can empower people to take action on your behalf or even design a plan. But your followers need clear vision, leadership, and sense of direction before they can get started. That’s going to come from you, the leader.

(Joss? Nathan? Anonymous fan website guy? Anyone?)

2. You must have a clear, actionable plan in order to make your vision real. With details, strategies, and purpose. Personally, I’d LOVE to see Firefly get back on the air. In this case, designing a powerful, clear, decisive campaign is in order, with time lines, a crowd funding platform, and promotion strategies.

When contemplating our own vision, think about how you can design a practical, real, step-by-step plan to make it so.

3. It’s not enough to just have a good idea and a plan — you also have be passionate enough about it to get into action with it AND see it through. Someone — ideally you — has to take the reins, be a leader, and get into action making your vision real. The passion will carry it forward from there. Right now, this Firefly project is a brilliant idea filled with passion — but no clear leadership and no real plan.


Your Turn

  • Where are you with your vision? What is it about?
  • What is your plan to bring it into being?
  • Is your passion in place to help you see it through?
  • Or — what does this article spark in your thinking about your vision?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

(Browncoats — your comments, opinions, and debates are welcome too.)


What’s Jenna Up To?

~> February 25, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Special call with guest Isabel Parlett on “How to Say What You Do, When What You Do is Deep, Powerful, and Hard to Describe.” Register here.

~> March 1, 2011. My Artist’s Way Accountability & Support Group starts. For details send a blank email here.

~> May 2011. My next Voice Your Vision retreat will be held in Berkeley, California. Specific dates and registration details to be announced. A special savings will be available if you’ve already had your hands analyzed.