Why I Now Live on Purpose Versus Live with Purpose

It’s time to be seen and heard. You don't need permission to show up and show out in life.

“If there's one thing I've discovered, it's that stifling yourself will only lead to more misery. I polluted all other happiness because I was afraid to let myself create and change. You have to have courage. Real courage to explore, to fail, and to pick yourself back up again.”― Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

As a business owner, writer, artist or entertainer, if you want attention and recognition of your work, you need to command it. With rare exceptions, no one is going to come along out of the blue and announce to the world that through wonders of wonders, YOU are the talent they have been searching for to become the next literary, entertainment, or business sensation.

If you’re not owning your truth, uniquely putting yourself out there, and living on purpose, how can you expect anyone to take notice and embrace what you offer? Additionally, if you’re holding back for fear of perception, exactly who are you waiting for to grant you permission to show up in your life?

I’m learning how to live on purpose by showing up and sometimes showing out in ways that run counter to what I learned as a child and young adult.

Strength of character is in my DNA but somewhere along my life’s journey, I developed social anxiety and fear of judgment. I’ve allowed fear to convince me that fitting in is more acceptable than standing out.  

I first learned “acceptable” behavior while growing up. I was taught that children should be seen and not heard; under no circumstances were kids supposed to speak unless spoken to and you dare not “show out” in public.

If a child in my family had an inkling of an idea to misbehave, say like talk over an elder, throw a tantrum, forget their place or do anything to draw unsolicited attention, they got the stern eye of disapproval, and let me tell you, that look would make your bladder quiver. On a rare occasion when a child committed one of those heinous crimes, that stern look of disapproval would accompany swift punishment meted out with a swat from a switch or firm hand.

There was little room from clemency for us kids with the exception of my younger cousin Peanut (not her real name or nickname, obviously). Peanut is nine years my junior but as a kid, she was a boss. That ‘chile got away with almost everything considered out of bounds … she was a loud little thing, she demanded attention, and at family gatherings, she would plant her little narrow behind at the big table with the adults!

Little Peanut was bold, vivacious, and she loved to sing; she would belt out songs at the top of her lungs whenever the fancy struck her, and you know what, she got away with it. How did Peanut manage to escape punishment for her behavior? She got away with being the loud child who “showed out” because she was cute, she actually had a great singing voice, and her intent was clear - she wanted to share her joy.

Peanut didn’t act out to disrespect authority. My little loud cousin was a genuinely happy child and to her singing to anyone who would listen was her way to share happiness - singing was her gift and she wasn’t afraid to share her gift with others, consequences be damned.

Unlike my extroverted cousin Peanut, I was a shy kid and I preferred to “play by the rules”; I didn’t want to cause any upset because in my young mind, good behavior=good person. But Peanut wasn’t a bad child, heck I loved her to pieces (she was my favorite, shhh don’t tell) and yet, even though I knew she had a good heart, I couldn’t bring myself to imitate her behavior. I wanted the love and attention that my cousin got but I didn’t want to rock the boat or attempt to be someone I wasn’t to get it. Imitation may flatter but your light can’t shine behind someone else’s shadow.

Although I envied my cousin Peanut back then, I learned you don’t need permission to show up and show out to share your gifts with others, especially when you share your gifts from the heart. And, how you share your gifts should be unique to you.

Living with purpose means understanding that you have a gift to share and making a commitment to share it. Living on purpose means actively seeking ways to share your gift with others on your terms, no matter what.

As a midlife woman, I know that I don’t need to be like someone else to share my gifts with others. To live on purpose I must authentically show up and show out on my terms.

Today, I’m the bald gal who’s chosen to write her truth. I’m sharing my stories in my voice, sometimes sassy, sometimes not but always with honesty and heart. I confess at times the fear of what others think of me surfaces and I worry my cringe-worthy grammar will scare off some folks but I can’t give fear the satisfaction.

“Don’t adjust your self-expression to find an audience, you will regret it. It’s only fun if you are accepted as you are. And you will, one day.” –Yoko Ono

Are you tackling how to live on purpose? Maybe it’s taken some time but you know what your purpose is and now you’ve decided to use your purpose as your life’s beacon. The next challenge is for you to create opportunities to share your purpose, your gift with others.

Take steps to share your gift; write the stories that are in your heart, launch your blog, go to the audition, record that podcast or video, send out pitches - make moves to get yourself out there.

Are you watering down your vibe, your voice, your message, or your style to fit in? We don’t need to imitate others who seemingly attract attention with ease, we only need to have the courage to be who we are with integrity and good intention.

Most of all, don’t let anyone discourage you. You don't need permission to be uniquely you. #DoYou, always.

Thanks for reading #RealTalk, your access to my midlife musings + some motivational badassery.

If you received this post via email, please hit reply and let’s chat about it. Or leave me a comment on the website, I’d love to know what you think. Are you living on purpose?

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