- Personal Inventory: You may have heard this term before in a 12 step program but hear me out. I’m not talking about identifying my character defects or anything like that. I’m referring to a list of questions I asked myself while searching for the answer to why I was put on this earth.
Surely it wasn’t just so I could screw my life up and suffer for over 30 years in addiction, then work my ass off to get clean and call it “good”. While in recovery I witnessed a higher power working in my life so I knew there was a greater purpose to my life and it was up to me to discover what that was. So I researched all the great thought leaders in the arena of finding your passions and purpose and found that in order to find mine I had to answer the following questions:
- a) What were the 3 happiest moments of my life? (go back as far as I can remember because as it turns out they were when I was about 10 – 12 years old)
- b) When was a moment in my life when I felt unstoppable?
- c) When was a time when I was doing something and time just flew by or had no meaning?
- d) What was the emotion I was feeling in that moment?
- e) What are my hobbies? How often am I doing them?
- f) Of all the jobs I’ve had which ones did I enjoy? Which ones did I hate? What was it about each one that I liked or disliked?
- g) What have been my top 3 greatest struggles in life?
- Finding my Purpose: By writing down answers to all of the above questions I started seeing a clear picture of the things I was passionate about. Questions “a” through “e” gave me all the things I loved doing but still didn’t define a purpose for me. For my life to have purpose it had to be about serving something greater than myself. I had learned about the power of giving and receiving in recovery so I knew it wasn’t just about me. At the time I thought the purpose of question “g” was to identify what to avoid in my life but, as it turns out, that was the most important question of all. That question kept coming up in meditation and as much as I tried to detach from it the more it reared its ugly head. Then, as the universe always does (or God, or however you define it) it smacked me up side the head. I was listening to the radio one day and a guy said “YOUR GREATEST STRUGGLE IN LIFE IS THE VERY THING YOU WERE BORN TO TEACH.”
- Defining passion and purpose: My purpose is my message or gift and my passion is the way I’ll deliver it. Once I understood this, the fireworks just started going off. “You mean I can do everything I love doing and fulfill some great purpose while doing it?” I’m in!
- Build Support: Once again, a valuable skill I learned in recovery. I can’t do it alone. When I finally decided to get clean I had to leave my old tribe behind and find a new tribe of like-minded people who were going to support me in my recovery. People who were successful in doing what I wanted to accomplish. If it worked to get clean maybe it’ll work to get awesome. It did. I started attending networking events (go to meetings), I hired a life coach (get a sponsor) and began reaching out to mentors who were only too happy to share their success with me. I was now building a team just like I did in recovery.
- Take Action Daily: I developed a daily practice that addressed the 5 areas of my life I needed to stay healthy in… Physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and financial. I made it so simple and so quick that there could never be an excuse of time or difficulty. Every one of these areas has a muscle that needs to be exercised every day. I’ll go into my daily practice in detail in the next week but you have to customize it to fit you.
- Track my progress (Continue to take inventory): This is the fun part. If I do these steps in order (sound familiar?) I celebrate new growth every single day. And because I’m doing all the things I dreamed about ever since I was a small boy, every day is like Christmas morning. It’s kind of like that movie “groundhog day” only way better.
Of course there’s a lot more that goes into it which I’ll be discussing with you in the next few days, but in a nutshell that’s the nut.
I, sincerely, hope I’ve given you something of value today and I’m committed to building on this each week. If we can all grow 1% each day we’ll live the life we were put here for.