Life is complicated. It is so easy to get caught up in the race for a better job, a bigger paycheck or a better level of fitness: but do these goals make us truly happy? Can we find personal fulfillment in traditional success? How do you know if you are finding success or genuine fulfillment? When I went looking for answers to these questions I had to acknowledge that, as a teenager, when things weren’t really going well for me or for my family I earnestly contemplated the meaning of my life. It was so hard to see what greater purpose my life could have. I had a dream of helping people – teenage girls – like me. I thought that must be the purpose of such hardship. I couldn’t figure out how to better my situation but I was determined to live through and bring meaning to my life. I figured that at the end of the hard times I would have knowledge that would ease other people’s hard times. But that never really came to fruition. I learned really quickly that problems like the problems I had are really only “cured” by large-scale societal change. Stronger families, stronger communities and improvement in self-worth for the young and everyone they come in contact with. That just seemed impossible.
Then, at 16, I started working at a Baskin Robbins. I started to see that I could directly affect the world around me. A few regular customers started to share their stories with me and I started to see how these small interactions started to make changes in their life and in mine. Even just a smile or kind word meant that we were all getting more than ice cream or a paycheck. I started loving my work and took the responsibility of spreading joy seriously. I figured that if I couldn’t change the world I would just brighten the lives of the people around me. I notice an increase in the joy and hope in my own life. This joy grew and spread until I was practicing random acts of anonymous generosity and reaping immeasurable personal rewards.
Some years later I was presented with the opportunity to give back to the people in my immediate family and circle of friends. I started care-taking for a family member and a close friend. At that time I completely understood that all of the work and effort wasn’t going to financially pay off but it was paying off in another way, a sense of success and contentment. I now know that the feeling I had was fulfillment. My life at that time had many challenges but I was also able to recognize the blessings. I didn’t have words to articulate what I was experiencing. I tried to share this experience with the people around me but inadequate words fell on deaf ears. How was I going to share this idea of giving to others and getting the experience of fulfillment? Could others get the same benefit?
I believe that helping people to find success, joy, blessings and ultimately fulfillment is my calling. I am driven by a passion for helping people get all they can out of their lives. I no longer contemplate the meaning of my life. I know why I am here and I am grateful for the opportunity to live my purpose. I have found ways to share my knowledge and experience and help others to find and stay on their personal path to fulfillment.
What is your passion? What gives you real, lasting fulfillment? The answer might not be what you expected. Consider making a lists of what you are good at, what you have fun doing and what seems to come naturally.