The Yellow Brick Path to Your Purpose

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
-Robert Bryne

Path After attending the big writing conference in February, I decided to do an audit of my book writing efforts. I avoid numbers like I would flesh-eating disease and haven’t done a proper check-in (Amazon stats) for a long while.

Most of what we are taught about business is about process, and everything I was trained for in my sales career was about logical, steadfast method. When I say process, I mean the mechanics of managing a successful business or career.

As the book industry—and the world—changes at a dizzying pace, we, as writers, are inundated with what we must do to succeed. Having been indoctrinated for so many years, and achieving a high level of success in sales by the A+B=C program, I have been a diligent and obedient student.

I could show you my four websites and write you a 100-page report on everything I’ve done, by the book, including the creation of an extensive marketing plan that became the example by which all future classes will use as a guideline (Momentum’s Women’s Business Accelerator Program).

47767066So what did the audit reveal? A staggering defiance of the laws of physics. If a mathematician were to calculate my extensive efforts over the past umpteen years and determine what my results should be based on the law of averages, she/he would tell me that I have broken all laws of probability. What I discovered was that I could likely have done as well sitting under a coconut tree soliciting the odd passerby.

I have friends who are successful via a strict adherence to process. I have friends succeeding through radical non-conformity. And I have friends beating their heads against the same unyielding cement wall to live a painful and confusing reality.

Which brings me to the pursuit of our purpose. I believe everyone comes here with a unique gift (or gifts) to use and to share.

I had a life-altering AH-HA epiphany eighteen years ago while I was on a gondola in Venice. A stranger saw who I was before I knew who I was. As we floated down a dark canal, she blurted out, “We think you’re really a famous authoress, traveling incognito and you’re just not telling us!”

I’d been a voracious reader since childhood and realized, in that beautiful Italian moment, that I’d always wanted to be a writer, but had not given myself permission to be one.

Small DE-LogoThe following year I began to write and self-publish while working full-time in a sales career. Destinations Extraordinaire is not just a small business idea; it is what I believe to be my life’s purpose, and my raison d’etre.

After reviewing my audit, I’m wondering if maybe I’m off base. Or … maybe I’m going about it all wrong.

Do you believe you have a purpose? Do you believe you are living it? Do you care? And the big question: if you were given a month to live, do you feel you have fulfilled your life’s mission?

I have always been on a quest for meaning, but since another harsh brush with my mortality, this question is the theme of my existence:

Why am I here?

roosterOur purpose could be something less grand than we imagine. My mum has frequently stated that she’s never known or fulfilled her purpose. I beg to differ—emphatically. She has been a Mother Hen of Excellence and gave us a sense of balance and love in an often-tumultuous family life. She has an innate sense of goodness and generosity and has instilled many values that have served her three chickadees well. Now she has reassigned all of that good mothering to her six grandchildren who revel in a deep sense of safety and love in her care.

While doing some research on ‘finding your purpose’ I came across a blog post called, How to Discover Your Purpose in About 20 Minutes. When I read the instructions, I thought the concept was an interesting one, but that I would definitely not cry, as the writer stated. Because I have spent innumerable hours pondering and journaling on this topic, it was a speedy exercise. Within a minute, I was in tears. (I recommend you give it a try if you’re at all interested in finding your purpose.)

Mossy Heart RockFor graduation night at business school, we were asked to write a letter of commitment to ourselves and recite it aloud. It is a worthy task for clarifying what is most important to you. This was mine …

My self-commitment is to:

Rebuild my life through my writing and speaking. My vision is to create a business to support myself while living a completely authentic life that honours my values.

Investigate beautiful planet earth while inspiring, sharing insights, entertaining, revealing the soul, and promoting compassion through storytelling.

Excellence: a commitment to ongoing learning, and to improving my writing, artistic, and speaking skills.

Challenge the status quo and be a pioneer by incorporating play, pleasure, joy, and love into business.

Be a goodwill ambassador as I make my way through the world.

Continue to stretch myself by doing things that I’m afraid of, but that will grow me and inspire others to do the same.

And lastly, to make enough money so that I don’t have to do my own damn bookkeeping!

Possibly the universe is telling me to toss method and the myriad rules to the wind for a while. My surrender after last year’s flood exposed a sweet secret. Pragmatism and process are not always the way. I learned that magical things can happen when you just relax, listen to your heart, and allow.

There sometimes comes a point when we need to do a 360. When you’ve proven to yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt that following convention is not bringing you to your life’s mission the way you’d envisioned, it might be time to play by a different set of rules. For someone who is addicted to plodding along the path of process—which means throwing a lot of poop at the wall to see what sticks—it may be a formidable challenge to shift perspective, but it’s one worth testing.

Do you feel alive each day? Excited? Exhilarated? If you find that you are fighting your way against a strong current and going nowhere fast, or feel utterly uninspired, maybe it’s time to turn the game upside down.

PreviewAfter Dorothy had tried every which way to find the road back home, Glinda the Good Witch told her, “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You had it all along.”

imagesMaybe instead of strategies and tactics and dodging flying monkeys, asking for the guidance of our White Witch (divinity) and clicking our ruby slippers (our higher wisdom) with faith will spawn better results than following the herd’s methodology. More active gratitude, visualization, meditation, and heart work, less marketing. More listening for the guidance, less busy work. For others it may be letting go of doing the same things over and over while seeking different results (definition of insanity, according to Einstein).

The pot of gold at the end of the Yellow Brick Road, for me, is life with a deep sense of purpose, peace, play, and joy. How I get there or where I land may, after all, be none of my business.

Check out my new website The Write Way Gift Café with some neat new gifts and a cool way to practice random acts of kindness for $5 a pop!

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Post © Wanda St.Hilaire

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9 Responses to The Yellow Brick Path to Your Purpose

  1. Wiser than wise. Redefining purpose. Making a difference in the lives of others. You’re brilliant!

  2. Interesting article, Wanda, my new Twitter friend. Love the transformational nature of the Wizard of Oz. Maybe it is time to redefine not only your purpose but the whole idea of what a purpose is. What if we’re all evolving to a new purposeful perspective? I encourage you to check out the Life On Purpose Perspective here:

  3. Lynn says:

    Interesting post Wanda, I worked for Corporate Canda for over 20 years and for my dedication and hardwork, they laid me off 3 times,no less. The last time I happily walked out the door, cheque in hand knowing my life would turn out for the best. It did as I bought into a franchise which has now become the most enjoyable career which also allows me lots of time to pursue my artistic interests. Going with the flow is the only way to go through life, I have been reading a lot of blogs and sites about publishing etc as I also love to write and the workload to maintain an online market presence is too much wasted energy in my humble opinion. You love to write, keep writing!! Spend your time doing what you love, you never know what will be revealed to you in the future.

    • wanda says:

      Absolutely Lynn!I loved Yann Martel’s enthusiasm for just writing … with little focus on all of the hullabaloo. I figure something will come to me if I do the things I love to do.

      Thanks!
      Wanda

  4. Terrific and inspiring post Wanda.
    I think we all need to regularly do a check in on what our “life’s purpose” need to be and more importantly, are we working towards that said purpose.
    Loved the Gondola story!
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you for articulating something I have been pondering. I have also invested a lot of time, energy and attention to selling my books of poetry. Did everything possible….and still ended up with a box of books in the basement. I also attended the writer’s conference in San Miguel and appreciated the advice about how to conduct oneself on a business model but really? I do not want to spend all of my creative juice on promotion and marketing. I agree that most important of all is to live your passion. I love the list you made for your self-commitment…especially the last. My dream is a chauffeur as I am on public transportation and someone to do mailchimp for me!!! But most of all, I believe in the power of connecting within to the still voice, the intuition that will lead you where you are meant to be.

    • wanda says:

      Thanks Wendy! I’ve already had some interesting realizations by stepping back a bit and doing some meditation and listening to inspirational interviews in regard to how and why we get the results we do in our lives. Something for future posts after I go deeper down the rabbit hole.

      Love the chauffeur. You go girl!

      Wanda

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