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How I Live on Purpose

by Ashley on November 7, 2014 · 3 comments

I’m sharing how I live on purpose in support of my friend Dr. Danielle Dowling and her new book The Soul Sessions, a 5-week guide to crafting greater joy and making big things happen. Get a wee, free sample here!

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One of the main reasons I created Your Super Awesome Life was because I was tired of my life being a list of “shoulds” and “musts” written by somebody else. I wanted to live on purpose.

I wanted my life to be built around my values of authenticity, courage, connection, adventure, and love (not yearly budgets, annual reports, and stale coffee). I wanted to do work that thrilled me and inspired others. I wanted to live on my terms.

I wanted to have the freedom to organize my days around what’s important to me: learning new things, spending time with people I love, training for races, practicing yoga, and making the world a better place through coaching.

But I also didn’t want to feel like I have to do it all, because that’s the trap that many of us fall in to, at one point or another.

We feel stretched too thin. We feel pulled in too many different directions. We feel like we have to keep it all together, and look fabulous while doing so.

We’re chasing perfection, yet also searching for purpose and balance. And it’s impossible to have all three without going insane (at least from my experience).

So let’s break this down.

How do we let go of perfection?

Although it seems super complicated, it’s actually a simple two step process. First, you must recognize that you are only human and humans aren’t perfect. Second, you must learn to forgive yourself. Every day. Multiple times a day. Multiple times an hour. Remember, you’re human and humans make mistakes. The quicker you can understand this and truly believe it, the easier it will be quit holding yourself to impossible standards of perfection (and ultimately failing to reach them).

How do we live on purpose?

Once you’ve come to accept the fact that you’re human and you’re not perfect (woohoo!), you can begin to uncover what’s important to you and build your life around it. This is how you live on purpose.

You figure out what lights you up, what excites you, and what you can’t stop thinking about. Then you do more of that and less of everything else.

You begin saying “no” to things that you’re not interested in, that stress you out, or that don’t propel you toward your bigger goals. It will seem scary at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. I promise.

Over the past few months, I’ve started saying no to any TV show that isn’t The Voice or Pretty Little Liars (and now I have so much more free time to read). I’ve turned down second dates with guys who are perfectly nice, but didn’t make me feel butterflies. I’ve said no to late nights out with friends so that I could wake up early to run. And I’ve said no to potential clients who didn’t make me super excited to coach them.

And finally, how do we find balance?

I could try to explain my theories to you here, but since it’s already been said fantastically well by Glennon Doyle Melton in her book, I’ll let her doing the talking here.

“My yoga teacher taught me that balance happens when opposing forces press equally against an object… I have marriage pressing in and kids pressing in and work pressing in, and church pressing in and friends pressing in and I think all of these powerful, worthy forces work together to keep me solid, upright, and balanced. When it feels like one is pushing too hard and I get wobbly, I just focus on strengthening the others up a bit. And I just make sure that everything causing tension is worthy of pressing on me… Maybe we can think of that tension as holding us up instead of tearing us down. It would be a great tragedy to have nothing important pressing in at all.” – Glennon Doyle Melton in Carry On, Warrior

Now it’s your turn! How do you live on purpose?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa November 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

What a fantastic quote at the end.

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Ashley November 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Isn’t it just perfect? :)

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