Writing the Story of your Life - Module 1

The Most Important Question

What is my Life's Purpose?

That single question is both the most important question we can ask and the most frustrating at the same time. The quest for significance and purpose is as old as time itself. While not everyone is concerned with true purpose, many who have searched tirelessly throughout the generations have walked the same path you are journeying. It is a noble path. It is difficult, but worth the cost. A life well lived is priceless. Unfortunately, few are brave enough to venture the rocky road of purpose. Your willingness to make the journey of purpose sets you apart. You are unique. You are brave and created with potential beyond your imagination. The trick is to uncover it. You may be surprised to find that what you are desperately looking for may already reside within you. You just have to open your eyes and shift your thinking. That is the first step in this incredible journey!

A Word of Caution : Be Kind To Yourself! 

Sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves. We are often filled with Grace for others, yet are fierce task masters who are unforgiving and relentless when it comes to our own hearts. While there are many who may attempt to steal or kill our dreams, the real danger for our future lies in our own hands.......or maybe more accurately in our own minds! 

The words we use about ourselves can be the most powerful words spoken to us. Each day we are surrounded by thousands of narratives attempting to grab our attention, yet the one narrative that we often are oblivious to is the story we speak over our own lives. Others may have filled our minds with thoughts or feelings of inadequacy but it is ultimately the words we speak into our own hearts and minds that have the greatest capacity to destroy our futures. You may be able to shut the door of your home, turn off your phone and pull the shades, but at the end of the day as you lay your head on your pillow you will find the strongest and most prevalent voice of them all is.......

"YOUR OWN VOICE - THE ENEMY WITHIN"

This voice is relentless and does not rest, continually speaking a narrative over your life. The problem with your voice is that it knows your deepest darkest secrets. Though you may be able to put on a mask and "hide" who you really are from those around you, that small, yet POWERFUL voice inside your head knows your secrets.....and it is unfortunately the harshest and most unforgiving voice of them all! 

A key to finding your purpose in life, and most importantly living out that purpose is this:

Give yourself a break! Take it easy on yourself, learn to love yourself for who you are, how you have been intricately made, not just the polished parts but the rough edges and messy parts as well. There is only one you. The World needed you for such a time as this. You bring a very unique set of skills and passions to the world. The passions that exist inside of us and the gifts we have to offer the world are surprisingly sometimes the vary parts of us that are broken. It is often the parts of our life we wish to ignore or forget that become the catalyst for our platform to help others. Never discount who you are or what you have encountered in life to this point, the greatest victories in life come through the most difficult battles. Don't allow your own inner critic to sell your future short. The world needs you, all of you.....even the broken pieces!

 

The brokenness in our lives is capable of creating value for our future. It may not seem as if that is possible, especially when immersed in a season of pain, yet often as we look back through time we see that the product of our lives is an accumulation of our experiences. Many of those experiences are made priceless because of trials and difficulties. 

 

 "Only You Can Live Your Story. Only You Can Tell Your Story".

                                                                                                      – The Story Team

Idea/Journal Prompt: What Messages Do You Tell Yourself? Are they messages that empower your dreams? Do they propel you into a bigger future or do they limit you? Be Honest With Yourself! List these messages below and re-write those that are destructive. Re-frame the internal lies into messages of hope. 

(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.) 

The Path To Purpose

The truth of the matter is most of us likely already know our purpose. If we can't name it, we certainly can "feel" it. People who have a purpose or a calling have a fire in their belly that won't go out. It is nearly impossible to extinguish the flame. Time can dull it. Responsibility can suffocate it, but at the end of the day the ember burns bright below the surface. It still remains. 

The hardest part of "finding your purpose" is actually TRUSTING YOURSELF! When you talk to people that have fully embarked on the journey of their life, most will admit they always knew down deep what they wanted. The answer to their question was not "what".....but more importantly "when" and "how". 

Ask yourself the following question: "How do I do what I most deeply believe I need to Do?"

Sometimes a better question is "what is standing in the way?". Be careful! The answer to that question is often painfully close to home. We often blame a lack of resources or time or experience as the things that keep us from the life we have always envisioned, but most often our greatest obstacle is ourselves! It is often our fear of failure that paralyses us stalling our future. 

We are ultimately in control of our own lives. It is ourselves that controls our spending (or lets is spiral into debt). It is ourselves that have a voice in what consumes the precious commodity of our day. It is ourselves that choose the direction of tomorrow. The hardest part of changing the world around us is in reality changing ourselves. Trusting ourselves. Giving ourselves permission to truly live! It is seldom the circumstances of life that keep us from living a life of purpose. The greatest obstacle is our own hearts and patterns of thinking that destroy our hope and imprison our futures. 

Naming The Fire In Our Belly!

For many of us, on the outside, we really don't feel like we have a clue of what we want. It is easy to go through life without any sort of direction. We are constantly distracted. Our lives are inundated with media, information, emails, social media posts, work, family, responsibilities......the list is endless. We are at the same time consuming and being consumed each day. When the sun sets at the end of the day, our head is spinning, our souls are bruised and we set despondently staring at glowing screens, desperate for change yet feeling hopeless and frustrated. 

The reality is that there are countless people who have neither taken the time nor have the energy to truly explore their own hearts. Our lives have little room for introspection. Most of us are functioning within a survival mindset. Getting through the day, then the week, living for the weekend. Living paycheck to paycheck. Hoping for things to change, but feeling helpless to make the changes. When you live long enough in such a manner, the hopes and dreams of our youth disappear under deep layers of life, calloused and bruised. Even when we get a chance to pause and consider the unlikely possibility of change.....our hearts fall short and our spirits come up numb. 

The answer to the catch-22 we find ourselves in is a firm belief that what we so desperately are looking for is buried deep inside each of us. It is like a seed waiting for germination. Buried  in the darkness of the soil of our lives. Cold. Lifeless and seemingly lost. But eventually, when the conditions are right, the miraculous happens. Life emerges out of the ashes. From the depths, unseen below that hard surface of our lives comes a single hope. Alive. New and productive! 

The metaphor of the seed is probably the most helpful idea to capture what is happening in our lives. In reality the metaphor of the seed is part of a larger principle in life called the principle of sowing and reaping. The beauty of this idea is its sophistication wrapped in a "word picture" that is accessible to anyone.....even a child! 

Consider The Seed

A seed is a complicated thing. It is chock full of genetic traits. Hundreds and thousands of years of natural and human development culminating in the greatest aspect of all.....POTENTIAL!

The potential in a single seed is nearly impossible to comprehend. Consider an Acorn. A single acorn can easily be held in a child's palm. A squirrel can carry a half dozen in its cheeks. An acorn is a tiny snack for the squirrel yet the scope of its potential is not its size, but more importantly the potential that is within its tiny structure. Once mature, a single oak seedling can grow to hundreds of feet tall, consisting of wood prized both for its durability and beauty.  But it is the potential of the countless seeds that it can produce that becomes nearly exponential in nature. A single acorn, grown to maturity can go on to produce 10 Million other acorns with the same nearly infinite potential over the lifespan of the original Oak Tree. The true worth of the Oak Tree is not in the lumber harvested from its members, but its potential for EXPONENTIAL RE-PRODUCTION

If you would stop and hold a single seed in your hand, the potential wrapped in that tiny package is really a picture of you! The dreams buried deep inside us, though small, often hidden, have the potential to RE-PRODUCE in ways that will not only change our lives but the very world around us. This is only possible if we are willing to see our potential and to practice the principle of sowing and reaping in our lives. 

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

The principle of Sowing and Reaping is not only a powerful metaphor but also an agricultural truth. It is a simple metaphor but has profound truths that lie within its simple narrative. To understand its significance to our search for purpose in our lives, stop and consider a garden. Likely every school aged child in the United States has planted a sunflower seed in a paper cup in class to take home to their mother or father demonstrating this very principle. 

Here is a simple and foolish sounding question.

If I were to plant a tomato seed, what would I get in return (once it germinates)?

The answer.......A Tomato Plant! (Stick with me for a moment!) If I were to plant a bean seed, what would I get in return? Yep A bean plant! Simple right? And that is the heart of the principle. You get what you sow. Nothing more and nothing less. If we move our example slightly into the abstract. What do you get if you show kindness? (Assuming that most normal healthy people reciprocate what they are given), the answer would be Kindness! What do you suppose you get when you spread hatred? If you guessed Hatred, you are right!

Also consider the soil. A gardener not only plants a seed, but also painstakingly prepares the soil to accept the seed. Breaking the hard ground open, pulling out the weeds, the thistles and debris. Then, working the open ground until the soil is supple, adding needed nutrients, preparing the perfect environment for the smallest of seeds. Even then, once the seed is planted, the gardener continues to loosen the soil, adding water and shade as needed, all in preparation for tiniest evidence of life to emerge. 

The final element of the principle is the hardest part to accept, yet it is no less important:

Time is a constant in the principle of sowing and reaping. It is also the hardest variable for those who are hungry for change and a life filled with purpose to endure. Time sometimes feels like its own dark prison. In reality, time acts as the soil of our lives. For it is time that our dreams are buried in, waiting with hope. Sitting dormant filled full of limitless potential. Time is both necessary and often the biggest killer of our hopes and dreams. 

If you are reading this sighing, exclaiming an over-educated sort of grunt.......saying to yourself, "This is simplistic and elementary".......you are right, it is! The truth of the matter is this, the beauty of the principle resides in its simplicity and its predictability and the profound nature of its application too our lives. 

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping has the following applications in life: 

  • You get what you put into life

  • There are few surprises

  • Great things often start from small beginnings

  • For your dream to survive you must prepare for its future

  • A harvest is only possible if you plant a seed, some seed fails to survive so scatter broadly and success will be guaranteed. 

  • You must be willing to bury your dream in the "soil" of time and allow it to germinate in its own season. A dream awakened to early will never survive. 

  • Once the newness of your dream emerges, it must be nurtured! 

Module 1: Application 

Applying the ideas: 

In the beginning of your search (or rediscovery) for purpose, the most important step is to Trust. Trust yourself, believe that within you is implanted a small seed that holds limitless potential for the life you have always dreamed of! Trust that time is on your side. Many times individuals feel as if they have "missed" their opportunities, because of age, responsibilities and the constraints of life, we often find ourselves grieving prematurely. When in fact it is not the end, but instead just the beginning. Seasons must come and go, winter must blanket the ground before the birth of spring can unfold. Our expectations often do not match the vastness and complexity of our calling in life. But with time and an unyielding passion, the landscape of our lives unfold with a surprising suddenness, just as the first buds of spring burst forth. 

Time is on our side and we must see the seasons of dormancy as times of preparation. The dark seasons of our lives create a fertile soil of experience that prepares the way for our future and supports the development of our lives as they unfold. Don't allow the silent seasons of your life to be mistaken as the death of your dreams!

Our future is a direct result of what we put into it. Without sowing seeds we have no way of realizing our potential in life. Sometimes our future produces a harvest not fully anticipated, but life is ultimately its own teacher, leaving us forever in awe and anticipation waiting for the next unexpected surprise! 

Trust the process not your expectations. As we grow older we discover, often painfully, that life is often not as we once assumed. Our assumptions and expectations of the "way things should be" often act to shackle us in self imposed prisons. We slowly waste away, trapped in lives that don't fit unaware that we hold the keys to our freedom. A single shift in perspective can open futures that seemed impossible or unimaginable. Take time to examine your motives, assumptions, and what you have always assumed was "the way things worked". Often the beginning of a new season is only possible by ending ways of thinking from previous seasons in our lives that have limited us and stifled growth. Though it has become a cliche, the statement "Life is a journey not a destination" is the truth. The process we find ourselves emerged in throughout our journey is not only necessary but given a chance, becomes a beautiful experience unique to each one of us. 

Idea/Journal Prompt: Take a moment to look deep inside yourself. Try to find that thing that once seemed to burn bright within you. Imagine life with no limits. Don't worry about time, money or responsibilities. What is the one thing that you would want to accomplish the most? What one thing would you devote your life to if money, time or responsibility were not factors?

(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.) 

Idea/Journal Prompt: Think outside of the box for a moment. When you think about your purpose in life, try not to define it by a certain task or skill. Think more generally. Now brainstorm as many ways as you can think of that your purpose can come to life? [For example: Purpose....I love to Write. Ideas may be: A blog, book, online course, poems, sidewalk poetry, writing workshops, etc. Think outside of the box and list as many ways as you can that your purpose can manifest itself. 

(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.) 

Idea/Journal Prompt: Think about the principle of sowing and reaping. What inputs have you put into your life? The principle says, what you put in is what you get out (it works proportionally as well.....put lots of kindness in and you get lots of kindness out, etc.) Now think about your purpose/goals. Are you making inputs into your life that will achieve your objectives? Be honest! If not, what can you begin to input into your life today that will "produce" the life you have always wanted? Remember, a bountiful harvest begins with a simple seed. Don't underestimate the smallest of inputs in your life, those tiny beginnings over time will produce a life you have always dreamed of. Plant the seeds of your future today, scatter broadly, and you will see great success! What seeds can you plant today for your best tomorrow?

(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.) 

Action Steps

Now is the time for Action! The most important thing when exploring new possibilities in life is to take them from the planning/learning stage to the doing stage! There is power and potential in movement. Even if you don't have a clear picture of where you are going or even how to get there, sometimes the only way to figure it out is to "blindly" but CONFIDENTLY take the first step. It is often in the process of our actions that our path unfolds. Until we push past the curve in our path that swings out of sight, we will never discover what lies just beyond our view. Action. No matter how small, creates a powerful momentum in our lives!

 

      "A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

                                                                                                      – Lao Tzu

 

Pick some or all of the following action steps. Add any of your own as well. Once you identify some actions you want to accomplish........BY ALL MEANS GO DO THEM! 

 

Action Step Ideas - Uncovering Your Purpose

  • Read through your old journals or diaries from when you were younger. Look for forgotten dreams no matter how crazy or "immature". Look for themes, reoccurring statements, ideas or phrases that may identify an underlying passion. 

  • Ask those closest to you (only those that you trust and know will not dismantle and steal your dreams with negative energy!) what they think your passion is? Do they see something in you that you don't?

  • Forget about money. Don't get caught up in the Purpose must make a living trap (more on this later!) If you did not have to worry about money, how would you spend your time? What would motivate you to get out of bed in the morning? Go do it!

  • Watch some movies and/or read some adventure books. What speaks to you? 

  • Pick a place on the map. Where would you go? Why? What sort of needs are there?

  • Go do good. Find a local non profit organization that needs help. Lend them a hand. Sometimes in the process of doing good we discover our passion and purpose. 

  • Interview some people. Find others that are moving in their lives purpose. Go ask them questions. Find out how they got there. What worked. What got in the way. What did they have to do differently to make their dreams become a reality. What was the cost. Was if worth it?

  • Visit Instagram. Sometimes an image can ignite an emotion, stimulate a thought and lead us to something undiscovered. Jot down thoughts that emerge. Ideas. Ah-Ha Momements

  • Make a Vision Board. Collect images, quotes, articles that speak to your heart. No matter how disconnected they may at first seem, add them to a bulletin board. Sit back periodically and breath in what you see. Just when you least expect, racial and dangerous ideas will emerge. Capture those, the authentic ideas that come before our ability to "safely" filter our the what ifs are the beginning of greatness. 

  • Take time. Don't rush it. Enjoy the process and the inevitable "rabbit trails". Sometimes the best path is not the most direct one! 

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Action Step 

Ideas

Idea/Journal 

Prompts

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