Burn out is something that many of us have encountered. We all work extremely hard at meeting conflicting needs and urgent pressures, and often there is no room left for the purpose that once ignited our hearts. Tiredness and despondence is a natural, understandable reaction to days that are filled with rolling compromises, unrewarding efforts, confused ambition, and the relentless pressure of external priorities. The problem is that striving leads to ineffectiveness and exhaustion because we are missing the essential ingredient of purpose. The risk is that when push comes to shove, we sell out on the things that make us uniquely valuable, deeply content, vibrantly alive! We all need a fulfilling, custom-made intention that pulls us through seasons of listless disillusionment into driving conviction. We need to make a stand to establish, defend and advance our purpose in any and every situation.
When I lost my voice it took me nearly two years to realise that what I had actually lost was a deep, defining connection to my purpose. Even though I was passionate about all of the things I had built my life upon, it dawned on me that somewhere along the way I had become disconnected from myself. I loved the things that filled my life, but somehow these things had become little more than mechanical operations.
We comprehend the defining Purpose of our Infinite Self by expanding our awareness of our Original, one-of-a-kind inner person
The source of my mistake was thinking that my actions defined my identity, and assuming that my life would never change. As I worked through my recovery I realised that life’s different roles and structures can only serve us if they are flexible to evolve. At the heart of the perfect life is the realisation that our humanity demands growth, and this growth relies on change. Our Infinite Self thrives when we understand that we exist to pursue a cause that sets us on fire, and that this cause can only be enlivened through change. In hindsight, I needed to learn that living a life fuelled by passion for my purpose relied on me embracing my need to continuously grow in myself.
From a biological point of view, growth is something we have in common with other living things, and it is simply an increase in measurable size. This is distinct from the development of the living thing, which involves the transformation that takes place while undergoing growth. In some living things growth can lead to dramatic transformation, as in the case of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, a tadpole becoming a frog, or a small seed growing into a large tree. All living things grow, and for complex animals such as human beings, this growth provides the vehicle for development and transformation. We simply can’t enjoy the fullness of our Infinite Self if we don’t champion our need for growth, and this growth comes from strategically responding to change.
When we watch ourselves acting powerfully in the world we begin to realise that we each have a unique reason for living that suits us down to the ground, and that this purpose will take us on a journey of unearthing our greatest assets. In real terms, knowing your purpose will highlight what you want in life, and also what you are willing to give up to get it. In coming to know your price like this, you will fortify yourself against compromise so that you no longer back down on things that are important to your identity. Knowing your purpose will also mean that you learn to choose your battles, because you will only want to engage with challenges that allow you to fulfil your reason for living. You might even see that you have been spending far too much time and energy on meaningless drama and useless activity that brings no reward whatsoever. Finally, knowing your purpose will mean that you are able to find the work that energises you. The work that you will do with passion and flow will be the work that targets your purpose and allows you to shine in the fullness of your strengths.
As I recovered my sense of purpose, I unearthed the deepest parts of my identity, and this allowed me to recover my voice. Tightness in my throat was replaced with the liberty of free flowing wholeness. Disillusionment and despair gave way to direction and strategic action. Mundane activity was replaced with work that set my heart on fire and my imagination racing with possibilities. These are the three things that I learned about growth as I emerged from the trauma of the voice strain injury:
- GROWTH IS CONTINUOUS: There is a valuable opportunity tucked away in every situation, and knowing our purpose will highlight specific ways that we can exploit every single situation for our greater cause.
- GROWTH IS DRIVEN BY PURPOSE: We each have unique superpowers, and when we establish what they are and operate in them, we can live for our purpose without ever stopping.
- GROWTH ALWAYS WANTS MORE: This sort of life inspires an insatiable desire for expansion, and as we extend into living our purpose we find that our capacity for life, love and wholeness is perpetually enlarged.