I was a professional figure skater, performing in ice shows on cruise ships around the world for six years. When I would tell people what I did for a living, their response was always the same, “Wow, you’re living the dream!”
When looking at my life, yes, it did seem as though I was “living the dream.” My job was to entertain, and I was basically getting paid to explore spectacular cities and places around the world, with no bills to pay or real stress of any kind. And to be honest, for the first few years I agreed with them—it was an amazing life I was living. But, the longer I was there, the more I realized I was just going through the motions. I could easily live my life with my eyes closed. The more cities I saw, the more immune I became to the beauty of the world. Here I was, “living the dream” but so dissatisfied with my life. I felt empty, restless, and just so unhappy. I felt confused. I wanted more and felt like I really needed more. But at the same time, I couldn’t understand why the life I was living wasn’t enough for me.
Why Didn’t “Living the Dream” Make Me Happy?
After struggling for years with not knowing why I was incapable of experiencing true happiness, regardless of how perfect my life situation was, I realized I was feeling the way I was feeling because nothing in my life was challenging me. And without being challenged, I wasn’t bettering myself. As this really began to weigh on me, I decided I needed to take action and do more things that challenged me to really grow as a person. I thought doing so would help me feel more satisfied with my life. So, I started practicing yoga and meditating daily. I became obsessed with reading self-development and mindfulness books. I was fully dedicated to doing whatever it took to become the best version of myself.
For a while this worked—I felt happier and more satisfied with my life. But soon the yoga I was practicing didn’t feel as effective and the words from the books I was reading all began to look the same. I was so happy with everything that I learned, the person I had become, and the relationship I had developed with myself, but what was next? What was I supposed to do with all this? What was the purpose? And yet again, I found myself feeling dissatisfied.
Find Your Purpose, Your Reason to Get Out of Bed
That’s when everything truly became clear to me: the reason I felt unhappy with my life was because I lacked purpose. I could explore 1,000 more cities and places, I could continue to live a 100% stress-free life, I could continue to learn and practice yoga, but I would never be truly happy because I had no purpose behind any of it.
There was the answer I had so desperately been searching for: to be happy, I needed to find my purpose.
We often get lost in the materialistic world, thinking things outside of ourselves will make us happy. What I’ve learned is that no amount of things, experiences, or accomplishments will bring you true happiness. Living the perfect life isn’t the answer to living a happy life.
I get it, having more sounds appealing. Having a bigger house, a nicer car, a fancier vacation, another gold medal, a higher-paying job, the perfect outfit, or finally getting from “point A” to “point B”—it all sounds like it would make you feel satisfied with your life. Am I right?
Well, let me tell you, none of it matters. Zero. When you are constantly striving for that next best thing or that next amazing experience, and when you finally have that thing or see that place, you won’t feel any different on the inside. You’ll still feel like something is missing—leading you to “need” more and more. It’s a never-ending cycle. We need to realize that nothing in this materialistic world is capable of filling that void inside of us, no matter how hard we try.
We all need a reason to wake up in the morning. We need a reason to get out of bed. We need a reason to show up for our lives and a reason to want to become a better version of ourselves every single day. Because, without that, what is the point of this life we’re living? To feel 100% happy with our lives, we need to have a purpose.
How I Found My Drive and True Happiness
I wanted all of those things. I wanted to have a reason to wake up in the morning. I wanted something that brought me real happiness. I wanted to have a point to my life. But, what would bring me all those things?
I had no idea.
So, what did I do? Naturally, I allowed that question to consume me. The only thing I thought about, talked about, dreamt about, and stressed about was finding my purpose!
And this was my biggest mistake.
It took me a long time to learn that my purpose wasn’t something I could go search for and find. It was something that would find me once I started living my life with purpose–because to live for a purpose, you must first live with purpose.
How to Live With Purpose
This means being intentional with everything you do. No matter what you are doing, you will do it to the best of your ability. It doesn’t matter if the task is big or small or something you are passionate about or not—you give everything 100% of your effort. Nothing deserves more or less; it all deserves your best. When you do this, you are living the best you can live and you are being the best person you can be.
We don’t always have control of our life situation, but we always have control over how we live our lives. I needed to stop living my life with my eyes closed, using no extra effort at all, and start living that same exact life with effort, care, and thoughtfulness. Small tasks in my life which I once viewed as unimportant and didn’t deserve my energy, I started to treat them like they were the most important things I could be doing. People I encountered every single day who I took for granted, I started to express my gratitude for their presence in my life. These small shifts made the biggest impact. If I was living each moment of my life with purpose, how could my purpose not find me?
How My Purpose Found Me
After years of living this way, things began to fall into place. I realized the energy I put out, people were feeling and absorbing. This gave me the amazing ability to gain their trust and connect with them on a deeper level.
This was an important realization because, while struggling to find my purpose, I was simultaneously struggling with body-image issues and an eating disorder. Knowing this was something that an overwhelming amount of women struggle with, I wanted to be able to empower them in regard to how they could learn to love and accept their body, regardless of their size. So, putting the two together, there it was, my purpose: connecting with women to empower them to feel more confident in their own skin.
At first, I believed the best way I could do this was through personal training. I could connect with women who were looking to become healthier, and, as I worked with them on their physical health, it would bring opportunities to also work with them on their thoughts and self-image.
This led me to work for Burn Boot Camp, a gym that believes before you can transform physically, you first need to work on your mental and emotional transformation. Woah! Seriously, how perfect is that? I began training at their gyms and was beyond excited about the connections I was making with the women and the impact I was having on their lives. (Listen to our episode of This Grit and Grace Life podcast with Burn Boot Camp’s Co-Founder here: On Business, Happiness & Health with Burn Boot Camp’s Morgan Kline – 065)
Soon after, I was then given the opportunity to join their headquarters marketing team to write their health and fitness content, and before I knew it I was producing their podcast, Coffee & Kettlebells. I was lucky enough to have the freedom to make their podcast what I wanted it to be. So, of course, I made the primary focus of the show on empowering women to love their bodies unconditionally. While I originally had my heart set on making personal connections with women in Burn Boot Camp gyms, working on this podcast has provided me the platform to reach more women than I could have ever imagined. With our podcast now being listened to in over 150 countries around the world, I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity I have to live out my purpose on such a large scale.
Be OK With Gradual Development
As you can see, finding my purpose and living it out wasn’t one ah-ha moment or something that randomly appeared. Rather, it gradually developed. I believe the reason why everything fell into place so perfectly is because I stopped relying on things and places to make me happy and instead focused on simply just living my life to the best of my ability.
If I hadn’t done that, my purpose would never have appeared, nor would have any of the opportunities. I believe when you become focused on the wrong things, it stands between you and your happiness. When you discover where your focus truly belongs, life begins to work with you and you will find that God always provides what you need. If you are searching and struggling, I want you to know that there is always hope.
Since finding my purpose and actually pursuing it, I can say to you with complete honesty, I am happy with my life. Not only am I happy, but I’m actually excited about my life! I’ll admit, it’s a lot less glamorous than performing in ice shows on cruise ships, but it’s challenging me and forcing me to grow into a better version of myself. It’s helped me let go of the “grass is greener on the other side” perspective, and it’s helped me have more gratitude for everything and everyone around me. Each morning, I’m excited about working for something much larger than myself—something impactful and something purposeful. At the end of the day, I rest knowing I am living the life I meant to be living.
For more on a strong woman’s purpose, check out:
Does Finding Your Purpose Really Matter?
What Every Woman Needs to Know About Body Image
6 Ways to Focus on Self-Growth as a Woman
Dear You, You Were Made for Something More
5 Life Skills You Can and Should Master to be a Strong Woman
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: How Do I Know What Defines Me? – 078!