I grew up in a hard-working, French-Canadian household. I was taught by my grandmother that if you want something for yourself – you work for it. If you want more for yourself – you just work harder. As you might guess, I am no stranger to hard work. Give me a task and a deadline and I will make a plan and outwork just about anyone.
I have come to find that my instincts for massive action is not necessarily ingrained in everyone. Some people need to really ease their way into getting something done. Not me. I tend to live by the mantra
Ready. Fire. Aim.
This is not to say that I am reckless and chaotic. To the contrary, I tend to be very methodical and thoughtful. But I am fast to gather facts, make a decision, and get to work to back-up my decision.
This trait of quick decision-making and rapid action has served me well in many areas of my life. I excelled in college and law school because I wasn’t afraid of putting in the time to really study content and learn complex information until I was sure I was mastering it. It helped me grow my legal practice through dogged networking and business development strategies. And it has helped me pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and learn a lot about business quickly.
But one morning I woke up in a panic attack – I literally couldn’t breathe – and I had the unsettling realization that I had been throwing myself into massive action and creating a life that was in complete disconnect with the lifestyle I wanted. I had gotten so used to being in motion, going to the next step in my life, in my education, in my career – that I hadn’t really stopped to smell the roses and make sure I was on the right path. I was successfully creating a life I honestly couldn’t even relate to anymore.
I didn’t want to be sitting in a penthouse office in a suit. I am meant to travel the world and walk barefoot on beaches. I didn’t want to be networking at all hours trying to build a book of business. I am made to bring more meaningful value to my community. I didn’t want to be squeezing in tiny pockets of life (yoga, haircut, date night, family dinner) around an overly scheduled calendar and to do list. I knew there had to be more to life than billing hours, to pay down my student loans, and blindly walk through the subsequent steps of life and career.
The easier decision would have been to stick it out. To put a band-aid on the symptoms. To take a vacation and talk myself into settling for the positives of my situation. But in my core I knew that I was meant to live a more vibrant, exciting, and flexible life than I had set myself up for. So I made the hard decision and began really exploring what it is I wanted out of life. I began to explore my health and wellness. I launched side businesses on top of my full-time law career.
I attended a coaching program. I began to network with people just to meet new and exciting people with different backgrounds. I opened my eyes to the fact that I was going to have to get messy and explore other options if I was going to find the right path. I began to see going out and failing at a bunch of stuff rapidly as the only way I would find my big success.
So this is where the “purposeful” side of purposeful action comes into play for me. The word purposeful is defined as “having or showing determination or resolve.” I began to realize that just because I COULD be in massive action most of the time didn’t mean I SHOULD be. You see, it’s hard to really be in touch with how things feel and whether you are on the right course or not, if you are constantly just whizzing by things. I had fallen out of touch with what I wanted and needed to course correct.
Over the past few years I have – in true over-achiever style – become a bit of a voracious learning around mindset habits, purposeful living, and how to become clear and attract what I want into my life. For my personality, I have to truly force myself to slow down and check in with myself, adopt daily habits of setting a positive mindset, of setting realistic to do lists, and moving intentionally into my day.
Now I know that some people probably spend way too much time on the purpose stuff, maybe only focusing on how something might feel, without being willing to get out there and get into action to make things happen. They may feel a bit put off that I have to adapt and slow my action down. And I would argue that neither purposeless action or purposeful inaction really serve anyone to their highest potential.
So my hope for you is that you too can focus on being in purposeful action. Of adopting mindset habits that keep you in tune with your needs, your clear goals, and your bigger vision. That you are open to failing your way to success, and getting messy along the way to finding your true path.
I am still on my journey. Constantly redirecting, shifting, failing, trying again. But the time I have spent on being purposeful has helped me to create a life that I am literally in love with. It’s not perfect. But it’s starting to become perfect for me.