The word purpose is thrown around a lot and it’s a good one. But, I am really digging the word mission too. I truly and wholeheartedly believe that all of has have a purpose-filled mission in this life.
But do we listen to that deep part of our souls that guide us towards fulfilling it? I’m here to nudge you to do it.
As military spouses, many of us put off the things. You know what I mean – those dreams of starting a business, going to school, saying yes to the dream job or writing that book. For many of us, it’s because we are under the assumption that we’ll do it when our service members are done with their careers. But, I think for most of us…we are scared. The fear of failure looms behind those dreams like a ferocious grim reaper. I get it, completely. But what if those failures are simply there to make us better than we could have ever been before?
Most of our big dreams may give us that deep pit in our stomachs. Personally, I think it’s half fear and half self-doubt in our own abilities. It is scary to take a chance, not knowing if you will be successful. But that’s okay. That’s what life is all about! You will miss out on the most beautiful parts of your story if you never turn the page. Let me tell you a bit about mine.
I spent most of my early years as a military spouse working in the field of social services. It was a foundation that would cement for me my destiny to be a social worker. Little did I know, my true purpose and mission was still brewing. Despite being pregnant with my second baby, working full time, mothering a first grader and being a wife – I started graduate school. It was a massive juggle, but we did it. I say we because as a military spouse you truly can’t do these things alone. Between my husband and my Godsend coastie spouse family – it all came together. In this part of the story, I want to stress that our journey will not look like our civilian peers. Our barriers and challenges are much different than theirs are! But, we are scrappy – so we get it done.
Now, missions. I thought I was destined to be a social worker and live happily ever after in the land of serving vulnerable populations nine to five. An award and a new Army friend changed the course of my life forever. After working with her on an extraordinary project, I felt it. That deep excitement and fear of wanting to do something more. Working with her gave me the confidence to realize I can do the things, even the things that seem crazy or too much. All I needed was that spark and I got it in spades.
In the year and a half since that, my life is nothing like what I thought it would be. Yes, I am a now a licensed social worker – practicing as a therapist to children and families. But I only do that part-time. The rest of the week, I am running a non-profit I co-founded with military spouses like me, who believe we can change the world – together. I write full-time for multiple publications and even co-wrote a book. My life is nothing like what I originally planned… and it’s amazing.
I tell you my story not to impress you or push you towards entrepreneurship, but rather to impress upon you the fact that you can do all the things. Nobody should dread Monday, instead we should be rejoicing that we get to wake up and do something we are passionate about. That is a purpose-filled life. That is living your mission. That is what I pray all of you will find. But how to get there? Here are my tongue in cheek tips.
You are worth it.
Tell that little voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t good enough to shut up.
Make a plan.
Examine your life. Are you happy? Is there something missing? I really like vision boards, make one. Then stare at it, hard.
Build a tight circle.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. No, don’t go dumping your friends. What I mean is make sure those you spend the most time with are driven, supportive and purpose-seeking individuals. Seek mentors, having a squad may sound cliché but it’s important.
Even when you are scared, just do it. These two things are important. Having dreams in the back of your mind of things you always wanted to do won’t feel good. You may fail at some of your dreams and that’s okay. I firmly believe these are lessons to help you grow. Successful people weren’t magically perfect, they failed a lot before they got to where they are, remember that.
Be willing to put in the hard work.
If I had a dollar for every time someone messaged me and said ‘I don’t know how you do it’ – I’d probably be rich. Or at least have enough saved away for Starbucks every day for six months, not joking. Here’s the reality: it takes a lot of work. I get up when it’s still dark to write and work on various projects I have going on. I see my clients at night when my husband is home to wrangle the kids while I do therapy. I work weekends sometimes. But guess what? I’ve never been happier or fulfilled. Hard work pays off.
Maybe you read this and think I am delusional or argue that nothing is missing from your life. I am so glad for you! Nothing makes my heart happier than knowing you’ve already found your purpose and are content. But for the spouses who’ve been dreaming, thinking, wishing and hoping – I am talking to you. You can do whatever you put your mind to.
But first, you have to believe it.