Google the term “Find Your Purpose” and 612,000,000 results pop up. Wade through a few of them and they’ll give you plenty of lists and how-tos all intended to offer you a quick fix on the path to a meaningful life. But quick fixes are not the solution. It isn’t easy finding your purpose.
The real power of the pause is the opportunity to have time and leisure to ponder the course of your life, to meditate on what brings you joy, to reflect on your values and what it means to have a life well lived. I am sure busy stay-at-home moms are laughing into their much-needed coffee or wine glass as they read this, but if you elect to take a professional pause, I encourage you to use the time not just to focus on your family, but to also focus on yourself.
We so often lose ourselves in our roles as mothers and wives and daughters and employees and community volunteers and … In fact, losing ourselves is one thing most women have in common. We become so outwardly focused, we forget our inner truth. And as a result, we often end up living inauthentic lives working in careers that are unsatisfying. It’s no wonder then that so many women leave the paid workforce to be with their children. For some, motherhood may be the first time they have found true meaning in their lives.
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But while our children give our life meaning, they are not our sole (or soul) purpose. To find our life’s work, we need to look beyond what we can bring to our families and consider how we can utilize our talents, trainings, and abilities to make a difference in the world. Getting clarity on our inner truth, our values, and that which most deeply matters to us ensures we will find meaningful work.
My pause allowed me to realize I loved writing, making change through the sharing of ideas, and, at the heart of it all, empowering women to bring their full talents to bear at work and at home. Early in my career, if you had asked me would I become a journalist or an author, I would have scoffed at the notion. And yet here I am.
My friend Monica Laurence told me she sees it this way: “We each have a legacy. The question is, do you want to wait until the end of your life to leave it or do you want to live it each and every day?”
As I have said before, I am not here to advocate that you should take a pause. But if you do take time away from the paid workforce, I encourage you to make the most of the time you are giving yourself. Yes, be immersed in your family, but also be immersed in your own evolution. Taking the time to pause, however that looks for you, can empower you to get clear on your legacy. Don’t wait until it is too late to live it.
The real power of the pause is the opportunity to have time and leisure to ponder the course of your life, to meditate on what brings you joy, to reflect on your values and what it means to have a life well lived.