This week I met with a friend whose life is an open field of possibility. She’s getting a fresh start and we talked about finding her purpose. She talked. I listened deeply. Turns out, she already knew what direction to go, big-picture wise. Like all of us, she was letting uncertainty grip her and that open field can look mighty scary even if we are someone with confidence to burn.
As usual, things fall into alignment when you listen and look. Even though each week I discuss creativity, mojo and zen in some form on this blog, I wasn’t sure which direction to go today. But the new O magazine called to me and I spent the chilly night reading Martha Beck’s latest column about it already being too late for all the things that hold us back and waste our time. Our to-do list can keep us from living our purpose and our minds can be our worst enemies. That’s why in January I started calling living our authentic truth our #truedo list.
Beck says, “Our purpose manifests in the way we orient ourselves to experience.” You must choose your state of mind and your purpose can flourish. What I learned more than a decade ago from Beck is that our bodies tell us when we are veering from our purpose – we have physical ailments, tension, sadness and low energy.
By paying attention, I realized I had to make a change. Not only did I miss being social – something I don’t get from book writing and editing – but I could CREATE the opportunity to work in an industry I love while still using my strengths as a storyteller, strategist and producer. Now I’m a week in to the announcement I made about a new media property I’m launching in December called Sooner Spaces with two of my friends who share my love for design, but in different areas. We complement each other enough to fully realize our vision for bringing news, ideas and inspiration to stories about spaces and “loving the space you’re in.”
I’ll admit just like my friend who had that open field ahead of her, I’m full of butterflies. I need pro voices to make the site a success and that means sponsorship and that means financial investments of others who believe in what we’re doing. Thankfully, it’s happening. Urban Kitchens became a sponsor Friday and I’m thrilled to have Jo and her team on the site sharing their expertise.
When you are working your purpose, the day doesn’t drag on, it flies by. You are in the flow, the zone and you can’t wait for the next day to do it again. No, not all part of your life can be that way, but Beck gives us the 3 Bs – BAG an activity we don’t want to do; BARTER it (trade with someone else who could do it) or BETTER the activity by adding something you like. That’s why I watch TED talks on my iPad while I fold laundry and why I listen to jazz while I insert edits (a no-think job) into a manuscript. Yes, even one’s “dream job” has areas you will not like as much as other parts.
Lastly, Beck gives us the ego candy test. If we are only doing something to get noticed for it or for pride, it’s ego candy. If you are doing it and wouldn’t care if no one knew it was you and would do it even if everyone else thought it was stupid, you know it’s purpose-driven. Thing is, people want to know the stats and want assurance that something will be successful before you’ve even done it! That’s how business works, but it’s not how creativity works. New products, ideas and transformations simply do not have predictable outcomes. We don’t have a crystal ball to guarantee something will be the next big thing or a flop. But if it’s your purpose, you’re going to go for it and you’re going to be a better person for having done it. Surround yourself with smart people to make it happen, too. You need supporters, not naysayers. My husband is wise counsel for me because he can help me build fences where I had none before. He asks me great questions. Focus your goals and grow your garden there.
Once you have cultivated your inner wisdom, your intuition can be your best guide.
Now, what’s on your True Do List?
You on Twitter? We’re having a #buzzTeenHalloween party Tuesday night at 9 p.m. CST to discuss paranormal/fantasy books, including my angel novel, TWIN FALLS. We’ll have prizes, too. Follow me @lenabrownbooks.
I’m half-way done with STERLING AND SLOANE my romantic holiday novella I’ll be releasing digitally only in November. I’ll likely keep the price at .99 as a holiday gift to my readers. It’s the first book I’ve written where I’m going between the hero and heroine’s POV like a traditional romance so it’s fun to be in dashing Sterling’s head. I mean, dang, I love this guy!
November is National Novel Writing Month but due to the release of S&S and two other Buzz books (by Heather Davis and Cara Brookins), I’ll spend the month promoting them and working on the December launch of Sooner Spaces. But I will happily cheer you writers on!