Do you ever experience the whole “why am I here” angst?
Do you wonder: What is my purpose?
Do you ask: Does anything I do really matter?
Color me guilty.
I spent most of my 20s and early 30s dealing with those questions. I found that journaling helped. A lot. I worked my way through Julie Cameron's The Artist Way*—twice. I have a banker's box full of spiral notebooks and journals filled with my musings and efforts at purposeful self-discovery.
As much as the journaling helped me connect-the-dots between my interests, talents, strengths and perceived goals, I've come to realize that actually taking action, even baby steps, has been more valuable in helping me discover where I'm going on this journey.
By actually doing something we can learn if we really are interested in it or reasonably good or at least capable of becoming good.
We Learn Through Action
In the same way that a lawyer becomes a lawyer through practice, a writer is a writer because she (or he) writes.
If you have a dream or an interest, it's ephemeral until you actually take steps to engage in it, to practice, to discover. You must take action.
Last year, Javacia Harris Bowser started the #BlogLikeCrazy project to encourage women bloggers to practice the craft of writing by writing and publishing a new blog post each day during the month of November. I didn't fully participate then, but when I saw her tweet about this year's #BlogLikeCrazy I decided I'd go all in.
At this point in my life, I already have a portfolio of published writing. I was a full-time freelance writer from 1999 – 2002 and wrote every day, on assignment, for real money during those years until the jobs started to dwindle in 2001 after the dot-com bubble burst and the economy slid into a recession.
My purpose in joining in #BlogLikeCrazy this year is to force myself to take daily action on a vision that has emerged over the past year. I'll be writing more about that in future posts.
For now, I'll just say that in 2012 I really dove into a new period of self-reflection and personal journaling to reevaluate my life up to that point. I had a big birthday in November 2012 and I wanted to seriously consider where I'd been in my life, the lessons I'd learned through taking action up to that point, and make sure I was on track for the second half of my life.
During that time, I could sense the direction, the vision, but I couldn't exactly see it.
One day, just over a year ago, I was out for a run and I'd been contemplating all these questions, framed around the need for specific direction. I'd been running for nearly an hour at that point and my brain was on auto-pilot. Suddenly, I received this message: “Stop thinking. Take action. The results will amaze you.”
Take Action. The Results Will Amaze You.
In the months since then, I've started to take steps toward this thing that was still ephemeral. And what's amazing is that with every baby step I took I gained more clarity about the purpose for this thing and how it relates to me and what I can offer. At this point, I can actually describe the foundation and the framework.
Later this month I have another birthday coming up. I'm giving myself a present:
Massive action to propel my vision into reality by the end of 2013.
Not completion, because this vision is something that will continue.
One aspect of my vision requires creation of a LOT of content: Blog posts, podcasts and video. That means I need to be writing at least one blog post every day, in addition to the other behind-the-scenes work that's involved.
#BlogLikeCrazy is the perfect trigger to ramp up my efforts from working a few hours each week on this vision to working a few hours every day.
Purposeful action in the direction of your dream is the best gift you can give yourself. You deserve it.
The world deserves the gift of your talent and your dream.
If you aren't sure of your purpose, take steps toward something that seems right and those steps will help to illuminate the path or reveal that you're on the wrong path.
You can't think or journal your way onto The Path. You must take purposeful action to find it.
What's your dream? Are you taking purposeful steps to make it a reality?
I'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We can do this thing together.
*Link to The Artist's Way is an Amazon affiliate link.