Despite the hectic speed of life in 2018 many of us feel like something is missing from our daily grind. We want to make a difference in the world but aren’t sure where to start, so we move through life feeling numb and craving the connection our longform to-do lists fail to provide.
But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Opportunities to do more, and get more, out of life exist all around — the trick is staying open enough to see what’s in front of you, and what makes you want more. Something our Parents with Purpose have sorted. We revisited our interviews with those movement making mamas and to highlight (some of) our favourite suggestions for living a more purposeful life.
Have a read, then give one to two a try. A richer life is right around the corner.
1. Start Small
“Every action you take can be an opportunity to live your purpose, and your purpose can be many different things,” says leadership coach Stephanie Jhala. “My purpose doesn’t always have to be that grand or that big, it can be anything.”.
2. Follow Your Truth
“Find something that has always resonated with you, but that you had to put on the back-burner when you became an adult,” says sex educator Rene Ross. “Maybe you’ve always wanted to save the whales, and every time you hear the whales are in trouble you feel that pang in your heart, follow that, it is intuitive to you. Listen to those messages.”
3. Look for Opportunity
“Just keep your eyes open and look for opportunities that come along,” says local food leader Julie Gryba. “So just always being present and aware of what’s around you, because there are always opportunities.”
“We hit this gap in services that we really didn’t realize that was this huge. I think the most successful things come from seeing that gap, or a lack of services for people, and trying to fill those voids with something meaningful,” says baby box provider Gwen Broda. “That’s what’s most rewarding.”
4. Do What You Love
“My only advice is just pay attention to what interests you. When you’re on your phone looking through Twitter, you’re looking through Facebook — what links do you click on, what do you research in your spare time, what is grabbing you?”, asks energy entrepreneur Juli Rohl. “…just dive into that, whatever that is… just dive into it and learn as much as you can about it, and it just keeps fuelling you.”
“You have to find what’s going to make you happy and just go for it. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job, it just has to be something that is right for you,” says clothing designer Chavah Lindsay. “If you’re a mom there’s never enough time for anything, and you’re just going to drain yourself anyway, so why not use your time going after what you love?”
5. Take Care of You
“As much as we love our kids, we should not forget we need time for ourselves, says biofuels supply chain manager Vivian Yang. “Just to be ourselves, not somebody’s mom. For me, going to work is important because it gives me that change of scene. Plus, a lot of my colleagues, they also have kids, so we talk, exchange ideas, opinions, and sometimes discuss issues together. That’s really helpful for me.”
“It sounds so easy in theory to say you need to make time for yourself, says United Church minister Beth Hayward. “I think when we allow ourselves to become all consumed with our work or our family it’s at the detriment of own sense of being fulfilled. And whether that’s a 20 minute walk, joining a knitting club, or going to the parent’s meeting at school, that at least gets you grounded enough to be able to see how you might serve the world.”
6. Find What’s Missing
“I think you have to look and see what’s missing in your community. It could be something like knowing people in nursing homes don’t get visitors,” says Deborha Sutherland who runs rEcess, a respite program for children with special needs. “Maybe you create a group of people that visit the elderly. You have to search out what’s lacking… there’s lots of opportunities, you just have to look for them.”
Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and assistant editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.
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The Whole Family Happiness Project is a group of moms exploring our connection to our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us. Come join us on Facebook.