Purpose

Developing a Growth Strategy

I went into this blog venture with a particular goal in mind (to discover my purpose) with only a hazy idea of how I was going to achieve it. (At least I thought it was something to be ‘achieved’ at the time). I figured that if I invested into something I’m really passionate about, I’d eventually discover my purpose and then I could tick off that box. Well-intentioned, but somewhat naive. It’s funny how 8 months down the line you end up with a totally different mindset. I haven’t really strayed from my main intention, but I’ve certainly ended up with different results and conclusions.

I’m still passionate about feminism and will write about it occasionally, but part of my development to discover my purpose, I’ve been getting more involved in self-improvement books, youtube channels and courses. I’ve been setting goals and challenging myself to work on my flaws and bring out the best in myself and others.

People become better when around those who demand more. In the same way, people become better when they demand more of themselves.

What I have learned though, is that making a statement or goal doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve it. It’s not about the motivation – it’s about the follow through. We often get excited about a goal to begin with, but quickly lose steam when we realise the arduousness of our commitments. And if you don’t have a plan or set of smaller goals in place, it’s much, much harder to accomplish.

I needed to ask myself what routines I will set in place in order to make sure I am following through on my goals, and how will I reflect on my progress and hold myself accountable? But firstly, I needed to clearly and broadly identify my overall goal. This was it:

“My intention is to become the best version of myself possible. To lead a life worth writing down. To be happy. To be someone who lights up any room she enters and whom people find hard to forget. To be irresistible to everyone I meet because I have something special to give to this world.” s.j.o

Yes it’s cheesy, but it’s honest!

Having concluded that discovering my purpose was less about a final goal and more about the process, I wrote this intention based on how I wanted to perceive myself. I didn’t give a time frame for this. If I had said ‘within a year’, I know that I would relax and put it on the back-burner. If I had said ‘by next week’, I know it wouldn’t have been achievable. Realistically, I would need to develop a growth strategy, and this requires short, achievable time frames and steps. (It’s all about the process…)

The same method can work for you too, regardless of how big or small your goal or goals are.

Starting with an intention is the first step. Make it as open as you like. It helps to imagine the best version of yourself possible: the person you want to become. It doesn’t matter if you want to simply be more positive, or become a famous youtuber, it could even be one around dating and improving your mindset in love. Write it down.

After this, you need to identify steps (mini-goals) that you will need to follow through and change in your short-term routine in order to meet your intention in the long-term. Some of these may be hard to do, some of them maybe even embarrassing to admit (although this can be a totally private venture) – but if you want to become the person you describe in your intention, only you can make that happen through deliberate changes to your daily life. Fate will not revolve things to work your way. You have to make the conscious decision to change.

One of my goals towards my intention is to greet people with a smile and look them in the eye. In addition if I know them: greeting them by their name. This is a simple and easy goal, but it’s one a lot of us don’t actually do. This simple action can build and strengthen relationships between strangers, colleagues and good friends! It shows that you have an interest in that person simply through acknowledgement.

It is important that you do this regularly and make specific – SMART – goals, so that they are achievable. I also encourage you to write down the purpose of each goal to specifically remind you of its benefit.

S – specific, significant

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

For example: Perhaps your intention (in a nutshell) is to reinvent your look. Part of this could be weight loss or toning. So one of your goals could be: “4-5 times a week, I will get up earlier to go for a brisk 40 minute walk.”  Purpose: “This will improve my health and general well-being over the long term and tone my legs and stomach”.

I designed two charts to track how I was meeting my goals weekly and daily, so that I could keep a visual record of progress. I have made these available to download for free. These can be used individually or together! I recommend using the daily growth strategy primarily because focusing on 2-3 goals is proven to be more achievable than aiming for 10+ and spreading yourself too thin. The checklist on the weekly growth strategy should not force you to aim for ALL of your goals EVERY day, but rather give you a range to pick and choose from.

Download them here and here– and try them out!

They also include daily gratitudes and forgiveness lists. These are important in general for our mental well being, and being able of letting go hurts, or comparing our lives with others.

For those people who may be setting goals based on appearances, I strongly suggest taking photos to track development. Not only to feel proud of your achievements when they are met, but change takes time, and it’s often frustrating and easy to give up when the results don’t appear fast enough. So keep a record! You may be surprised.

Happy goal setting!

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Purpose

Losing your Purpose in the Pursuit of Love.

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Last year I started up this blog with one goal in mind: to realise my purpose through issues greater than my own.

What I have discovered since then, is that your purpose is not a finish line or a measurable target. It’s an ongoing discovery of self, and the act of gaining happiness through connection with others.

I’ve put this blog on hold because of… well, LIFE – and not making excuses here, but LIFE generally does tend to throw hurdles at you and slows down the reaching of a goal. Buying a new house, moving to a new city, starting a new job is all very overwhelming and time consuming for a young, single woman, and I can forgive myself for that. But the main reason I didn’t write was because I wasn’t being inspired. I like to reduce the pressure I place on myself with this blog by accepting that this is a part of the process of soul-searching and creativity. Producing blog posts (particularly when one is not a writer) is not something you can turn on like a faucet. And even though there has been a LOT going on in Feminism since the Women’s March on Washington (now that it’s such a hot topic), I just haven’t been giving enough time to focus on what’s going on enough to comment on it.

Now, never say I don’t tell all!

Outside of the endeavors of my blog, I recently acquired a book by Katherine Woodward Thomas called ‘Calling in The One’. I stumbled upon it online, and my initial impression was that this was one of those cheesy, money-making scams targeted at the lonely cat-lady community (of which I totally am one). However, reading the reviews changed my mind. Most people seemed to suggest that the title is misleading, that if you were genuinely open minded, this book would serve as a useful tool in discovering the best in yourself, and learning to love everyone around you – not just a potential partner. So I ordered a copy, and so far, I’ve really enjoyed reading each chapter and engaging in the daily practices.

The most recent chapter, “Clarifying your Soul’s Purpose”, brought me back here, onto The 27 Resolve. It inspired me because it clarified what my purpose is on a deeper level. It reminded me of why I started this blog. It came at a particular time in my love life where I really needed to be reminded of what this was.

The chapter begins with explaining that each one of us is born to fulfill a particular destiny. For most of us, this lies beyond our consciousness and teases us with dissatisfaction. Many of us confuse our jobs and our roles in life with our purpose… our purpose is not a thing, place, occupation, title or even talent.

“Our purpose is to be. Our purpose is how we live life, not role we live. Our purpose is found each moment as we make choices to be who we really are.” – Carol Adrienne

WOW.

I’ve never come across a statement that re-defines it so articulately and matter-of-fact.

It’s simple. For me, I am here to learn and grow and discover and connect with others. I am here to help and heal. I am here to radiate kindness, and happiness, or hope. If I am not making choices based on this, I am not aligning with my purpose.

Continue reading

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Purpose

The Discovery of Purpose through Passion

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“Now the years are rolling by me,
They are rocking evenly;
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I’ll be
That’s not unusual.”

– Missing Verse from Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer

This blog began as a way of finding my own purpose. I wanted to find out how I can make a difference in this world, and I was frustrated with wandering mindlessly without any surety of whether I was making a deeper connection or not.

As this blog is solely tailored around my interest in gender equality and the history of women’s suffrage, you might wonder what this has to do with finding purpose? Let me try to explain:

We tend to at people we consider ‘successful’ in order to give us an idea of what purpose looks like. A-list celebrities like Beyonce and Emma Watson, political players like Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, and even well-known philanthropists and Olympians. I envy them. I want what they have. Not fame, but a love for what they do. A sense of direction and thirst to achieve great things. A complete fulfillment in their careers. A superhero mentality that says ‘I can and I will save the world’.

With this in mind, we often determine success  based on the jobs we have, how much we are paid, or what we are doing with our lives. For me, my talents seemed to have directed me towards a humble path, and one – I admit – isn’t my definition of success. I feel bored with working in a big institution. I want to make a difference on a global scale, and there is no opportunity within the career path I am on.

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I struggled initially to understand what purpose was. What does it look like? How do I know that I’ve achieved it? Do I need to be a Great Person in order to find my purpose? I eventually resigned to the fact that searching specifically for my purpose was not going to help me find it. I had to look in other ways. I had to act in other ways. And that’s when I realised:

Purpose isn’t a ‘thing’ you achieve at the end of the road. Purpose is something you discover along the way. You find it through passion. Not through logic. Through the heart, not the head.

All those blogs and aspirational speakers who encourage you to quit your corporate job and dedicate your lives to your passions? I used to think that mentality was risky and irresponsible and didn’t work for everyone. But it’s true. The happiest people are the people who find something they really want to do with their lives and make it happen.

I agree that you can’t do anything at half speed. You can only be happy if you’re doing it with passion, conviction and enthusiasm. I’ve often faced criticism for this, because my desire for stimulation leads to the abandoning of projects if I’m not fully invested, set plans or even relationships. But I’ve found myself stuck in positions where I’ve settled for lukewarm and it made me miserable! I would constantly be trying to convince myself that whatever it was I was doing was worth pursuing. But these days, I fear that I won’t achieve perfect, incandescent, utopian happiness until I’ve met my life’s purpose. My problem is, I have no idea what my purpose is.

What I’ve grown to learn however, is that you can find your true passion outside of your career. Your job does not have to define you. And that is something I’ve taken a long time to discover, while I’ve been constantly comparing myself with my successful and wealthy peers who are saving lives as doctors, or travelling the world to raise awareness of people with disabilities, or winning all their legal battles on behalf of important clients, or generally contributing to society in meaningful ways, I should never be so arrogant to presume that my job title is going to define my purpose. What defines my purpose are my passions. And one of my biggest passions is Gender Equality.

So this is why I took it upon myself to start a blog – a way of actioning and taking ownership of something I had been interested in for a long time but hadn’t really committed to. Coupling this with design – which I love, and talking – which I enjoy. It also helps keep me busy and happy, so I don’t spiral into boredom or unfulfillment with my small-town life. In one way or another, this blog has also become my ongoing manifesto.

Ideally, my blogging would give some straightforward understanding of what I was put on earth to do. Perhaps it won’t. But at the end of the day, at least I can say I tried to do something valuable with the convictions that I hold. And then if nothing eventuates from it – it was never my purpose to begin with. You can only know by trying.

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Purpose

I am so Fortunate

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With all this hatred and fear and chaos going on in the American Elections … and in the EU … and the Middle East …and North Korea and France and Russia and Africa (my goodness), I feel like humanity has allowed misanthropy to win. Although I know that sensationalism in the media plays a large part in my stress and anxiety, what this is ultimately teaching me is that, at the end of it all, I just want to be a good person and treat others with dignity and kindness and compassion. To keep doing what is right even when the world turns its back on these values, or pretends not to.

We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines.

We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines. That making positive contributions means nothing unless a celebrity endorses it. When what you build and buy is defined as success, how can we expect people to live humble lives dedicated to the advancement of all people? I’ve heard parents say that their priorities change when they have children. A shift of focus from self to others. But this seems so rare, even though everyone has a parent.

Narcissism is a modern demon.

For me, when I am challenged to chose between the set of principles I was raised on, and the values I am force fed constantly by the media and by negative figures on TV, I try to stop and reflect. Remember the good. Remember why I am so fortunate.

I have been so fortunate to be raised in a country where people can get angry over issues many would consider are ‘minor’ from a global perspective. A country with top global freedom, health, education and happiness levels. A country where the people expect the government to help refugees, victims of poverty and abuse, and the environment. Our motto is, this is not our land, we share this world, and if you have the opportunity to lend a hand – you give two.

I’m fortunate that I have received a good education. That intelligence is valued, but never more so than integrity. I am fortunate to have a sense of humour, which helps me relate to many people and see the lighter side of negative situations. I am fortunate to have been raised with both conservative and liberal viewpoints so that I can make up my own mind. I am fortunate that I was also raised with Anglican values (a non persecuted sector of faith), have a best friend who is Muslim, a brother who is gay, and because of this, have more empathy for people who are targets of hate. I am fortunate that I can dream, I can write, I can speak my mind. I am fortunate that my gender will no longer predetermine my lot in life, even though I believe there is so much more to achieve with equality.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a lower middle class family – where I never was so poor I struggled to survive, but I was still poor enough to recognise the struggle my parents went through to get me the best in life. I am so lucky to have a family who, despite our differences, has always challenged and expected great things of me. A family that I can look up to in awe, but one that is human, breaks one another’s hearts but also is extremely proud, loyal and sticks up for one another.

I am so fortunate.

And because of all this, I will never give up. I will never forget. I will keep doing what is right. Because most people in this world are not as fortunate as me, and if I don’t do anything for the sake of them, who will? If the world is taken over by extremism, dictatorship or even internet trolls, and if I am killed (literally or metaphorically) for it, I hope I can look back on my existence with no regrets, no shame, and no dishonour in how I lived my life. I will keep doing what is right.

We need more optimism. We need more faith in do-gooders. We need to let go of cynicism. We need to keep doing what is right.

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Purpose

Seeking Significance

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Sometimes a fear comes over me that I’m not at all significant. I pass people on the streets and I blend in – but I don’t feel like I should. I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, I simply hope that fate – or destiny, whichever it may be – has A Big Plan in store for me. I want to create history, help people, change the world. In reality, I am the only one who can shape my path. What I need – what I’m looking for – is a means of doing this. And what for? For meaning, I suppose. To validate my existence.

Not many women before me have had opportunities to rise up in the world.

I am definitely not blind to my own faults. I am fully aware that I have many shortcomings that not only hold me back from achieving what I want, but also obstruct my ability to be kind to others. But I want to grow more, I want to experience more, I want to absorb more and learn more in order to give myself to the world. You hear of people who are ‘born’ to become someone. A person who has prophets reciting their destinies. A person whose achievements make me question: how can I do what they did? How can I be a pioneer for change, an instrumental part in history – or at least play a role? A paralyzing fear comes over from time to time as I see these people make change while I reflect on the ‘safe’ life choices I have made, and scorn the idea of playing spectator when I could play a defining role.

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be – Paul Arden.

You may think, on account of all this ‘seeking significance’ business, that I may be a little too ambitious, or self-indulgent, or even pursuing fulfilment erroneously. Why don’t I relax and get on with life and see what happens? Yes, yes, I hear your point. But I’d be far better off searching for meaning than waiting for it. It’s easy to become a pessimist or a misanthrope when you feel that life hasn’t dished you out its equal share in good fortune, and I don’t want to turn out that way. So I need to seek out fortune myself.

A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shines, can never see its purpose in the pattern of the grand design

It’s frustrating when you know you have the ability to do something, but you can’t see a means of achieving it. Perhaps our lives really are shaped by teamwork, collaboration, working together. Maybe your worth can only be seen from afar – not by how much you achieve or how much you own.

What does significance and purpose mean to you? How do you know if or when you’ve achieved it? Can you seek it alone?

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Purpose

And so it begins.

AndSoItBegins

“This is not a diary, nor a memoir; but rather an arbitrary organisation of many thoughts I have had around philosophy and women’s history and the pursuit of happiness and the people who have influenced my character and beliefs. I am using this collection of writing as self-therapy: the aim is to understand who I am more clearly, in order to get through this current quarter-life crisis and (hopefully) find out how I can influence the world, or history, or whatever it is I’m destined to influence.”

Late April, 2016

I started collating my thoughts earlier this year in order to organise and review my thoughts and my values. It has led to this blog, The 27 Resolve, and I expect it will continue on in this format as a journey of self discovery.

I’ve never considered myself a writer. If anything, I prefer to reflect and talk it through. I want this blog to be a discussion opposed to a monologue, so I invite you on this journey – whoever is willing to do so – with critical awareness rather than critical opinion.

Let’s change the world.

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