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Your Life Purpose Is The Way Home

There is a funny thing about how time works in fairy tales.  At the end of the adventure, they say “and they lived happily ever after”.  But the reality of time is that it takes your whole lifetime to live through the happily ever after part.  You don’t get to your star with a one and done journey.  A life purpose isn’t a one and done.  The journey will last your entire lifetime.  Your life purpose might be experienced in different ways at different times in your life, but it is always the same life purpose.

“At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success, but our significance.  Live a life that matters.  Live a life of love”

– Unknown

The story you are living in this moment is just a chapter in one of those books where each book each over 1,000 pages and it is just one of the 10-12 books in the series.   There is a lot of hills, valleys, lakes, and oceans to walk. That’s a lot of walking after your star.

There are multiple ways in which your life purpose will be lived from the moment you were born to the moment when this body dies and you go on to the next adventure.  So while you’re not who you used to be in this moment, you still have time to become who you could be.

“Fear comes from not knowing what to expect and not feeling you have any control over what’s about to happen.  When you feel helpless, you’re far more afraid than you would be if you knew the facts”

– Chris Hadfield

There are times in your life journey when you will go through a storm, or walk through the desert, or climb a mountain, or feel like you are drowning in overwhelm.  The actual danger you perceive versus what danger you are in usually don’t match up.  Danger is a thing, and fear is your reaction to it.  It’s not the thing that will stop you.  It is your imagined fear about the thing.  This is because what fear tells you is happening, is entirely different than reality.

Become skilled at facing fear.  Think about when you were learning to ride a bicycle.  There were some fears involved with learning to ride, as everyone crashes.  Some people just skin their knees or elbows.  Some people break an arm or leg.  When I was a kid, there were no helmets, so some people when the crashed had a head injury.  Riding a bike can be dangerous, but you determined the risk was worth it, because everyone else was riding a bike.  So you overcame your fear and learned to ride despite the risk.

“A mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker.  A mistake is a lesson, not a loss.  It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead-end”

– curiano.com

Most fears originate from a lack of understanding about what is happening or could happen.  It is a lack of knowledge and experience.  You know from watching everyone who learned to ride a bicycle before you – that crashes are going to happen.  You will make a mistake:

  • You might grab the brakes too hard and flip the bike head over heels
  • You might spin on gravel and lose control
  • You might turn too sharp and lose your balance
  • You might go too fast and not be able to stop
  • You might get distracted and hit a parked car
  • All of which will crash your bike.

Each one teaches you something.  Going back to the bicycle – when you got personal knowledge of your bicycle, the fears you had, in the beginning, went away.  No one is afraid of the bicycle itself, but rather the fears of being hurt from crashing that the imagination produces.  Here is the interesting point – did the bicycle change or did you change to eliminate those fears?  It was you.

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through” – Rosalynn Carter

In his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”,  Astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about how he realized what his life purpose was as a 10 yr old child watching men walk on the moon.  He shaped his entire life to support that dream of being an astronaut.

  • As a teenager, he learned how to fly,
  • Learning how to make decisions and stick with them – it’s a skill that’s required for long term dreams.
  • He went into the Airforce as a pilot,
  • He got a degree as an engineer,
  • He became a test pilot,
  • He then joined NASA for the space program.

From 10 years old forward everything was focused on what he perceived as his life purpose.  I am sure that he had times when he questioned what he was doing.  I am sure that he had friends and relatives that said his chances of actually going into space were limited, especially in the years where NASA had to downsize the space program.

This got me to think of other life long goals such as professional sports.  Say you decide that you want to be an Olympic Athlete – you would choose the sport that you have the most natural talent, passion, and drive for.  Then you would eat, sleep, and drink that sport every day for years.

It’s really different from what Chris did – he had stages of accomplishment he went through based on the above list.  It wasn’t enough to just learn to fly a plane.  You also had to acquire a needed job skill in addition to being a pilot.  He had to develop a certain mental headspace that a test pilot has – being able to run towards risk instead of avoiding it.  Unlike the Olympic Games in which you have many competing, only a couple of pilots go with each flight.  So your second profession has to be what else is needed on the Space Station and you have better be a master of it too.

“Become so confident in who you are that no one’s opinion, rejection, or behavior can rock you”

– Unknown

He has vertigo – a fear of heights.  He trained his mind that it was ok to be up high if there isn’t the possibility of falling.  The best thing about space flight was that he really couldn’t fall.  He took that fear, recognized his fear and the facts around his fear, and realized he doesn’t have to live in fear.

Those words to me perfectly describe a person who is in the zone, on course to completing a life dream.  A person who at that moment is totally on purpose.

He talked about how when they strap him into his seat preparing to lift off how it is hot and cramped.  Behind his back is a parachute/survival kit and it makes for an uncomfortable position, which you have to deal with for a few hours minimum – even so, he couldn’t imagine any place else he would rather be.  Those words to me perfectly describe a person who is in the zone, on course to completing a life dream.  A person who at that moment is totally on purpose.  The hyper-focus is so clear, that nothing distracts or impedes you. He describes that moment when you switch from hoping something is going to happen, to knowing it will. That moment of liftoff, when you know it is a sure thing.  The closest feeling I could come to is when you step up on the stage for graduation and walk across to get your diploma.  At that moment you know that nothing can take away your sense of accomplishment in putting a period to a lifetime goal.  It feels like magic, winning, and that feeling of knowing all of your hard work paid off.

You can listen to his 2014 Ted Talk here where he talks about his experience of going blind while out on a spacewalk.   It was all of the years of preparation which enabled him to stop the panic that anyone would have and creatively figure out how to fix the issue.  As he stated in the quote above, the best answer to stop fear is competence.

What are your dreams, visions, your life purpose?  Are you on track to bring them into reality and complete them?  Have you allowed distractions to sidetrack you?  Are you unclear on what your life purpose is or how to bring it into reality?

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Sheryl Silbaugh
Sheryl Silbaughhttp://lemonademakers.org/
SHERYL Silbaugh is a writer, speaker, and transformational coach. She is a Director at Bank of America. She is the founder of LemonadeMakers.org created to inspire people to transform grief into gold. In April 2010, Sheryl suffered the loss of her nephew, who was randomly killed by a gang member. The idea of LemonadeMakers came from her grief. She experienced firsthand the creative power of transformation. She started a small Facebook presence that has grown from 500 followers in July 2015 to over 47,300 in March 2017. She demonstrates how to take life’s lemons and make lemonade. She is a skilled guide for those experiencing transition or loss. When we let go of what no longer serves us, and open ourselves to our soul’s calling, we uncover the treasures of our experience and can let the rest blow away on the winds of healing. She aims to support people to create transformation in every area of their lives. She provides insights on how to collaborate together to manifest their dreams in The LemonadeMakers Club. She teaches how to explore our inner and outer world to see what needs to be transformed. She is gifted in her ability to see patterns in human behavior and asks just the right questions to start unlocking the doors to your life purpose and the unique personal genius that we all have. Her book, “Timeless Treasures” will be published the summer of 2017, a collection of over 90 essays on transformation.

4 COMMENTS

  1. You’ve certainly shed some light in this article. Loved it.
    WHO hasn’t faced fear of some sort at some time in their lives?
    And How does one rid themself of this often crippling emotion?
    Certainly some good pointers here! Great Piece… Loree
    Still following my *

    • I’ve always believed that if each of us could just be consistent in following our north star in pursuing our life purpose that the utopia written about in so many books would finally arrive. As Thomas Paine said so many years ago, “These are the times that try men’s souls” – yet in times like these is when all of us have the opportunity for tremendous growth. Keep following that star!

  2. Sheryl! Thank you for this burst of inspiration! I absolutely love all that you’ve shared here and the quotes are beautiful. I did not know Chris Hadfield’s story of becoming an astronaut. Pursuing our dreams can get us out of bed in the mornings even as grief and heartbreak might beg us to pull the covers over our heads. Sometimes discovering those deeper callings takes incredible courage because some of us had to (for survival) place these dreams in a frozen storage locker for years until we found safe people, safe places, and enduring safety inside our souls to thaw out those aspirations. If you haven’t been encouraged to connect with the still small voice inside, then listening to your own voice and passions may take some practice. There likely will be people who throw buckets of water all over the lit candle that is your dream, but you still have the power to grab a lighter and ignite it over and over and over again. Then look for the people who will bring kindling and logs to the fire that is your burning passion/purpose, and you will find them. And you can bring kindling and logs to the fire that is their dream!!! And oxygen and that spark! Thank you ever so much for this beautiful essay!!!!

    • We can all follow Mr. Rogers advice – when you see scary things “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping” – and I add to it to become one of the helpers. Connection is so important in times of upheaval, like now.
      Great time to open up any remaining freezer doors and defrost whatever you find hiding in the back corner!

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