When I was much younger I used to dream about being a motivational speaker or author.

I fantasized about being on stage in front of a crowd of people opening their minds and touching their hearts.  I dreamt of helping them find themselves; release the struggles that held them back; re-ignite their passions; and take powerful soul-inspired action towards their best life.

While friends dreamt of becoming parents, lawyers, doctors, teachers, athletes, actors and successful business leaders, I privately dreamt of becoming an inspirational leader.

But inspiring others I found wasn’t so easy.  My inner critic crept in regularly asking me who I thought I was to be or do such a thing. She was quick to point out all my faults, and convince me that other people’s lives were actually quite good, and that it was me who was struggling.

So as much as I desired it, I felt like a sheep trying to fit into wolves clothing.

The pressure to do something ‘great’ was heavy, I was feeling like a failure, I was struggling, and I felt lost – lost in life, lost in what to do, and lost in knowing my life purpose.  

Have you ever felt heavy pressure to be or do something “great” with your life, but not feel qualified or able?  Have you ever felt that your dreams were just too far out of reach, or that your life purpose was a question mark?

One day I realized that regardless of whether I could inspire others or not, becoming an inspirational leader was actually not my purpose, and not even my gateway to fulfillment.  (Thank GOD for that AHA.)

The truth was that I didn’t know what inspired others.  I just knew what inspired me.

In that moment I decided to let go of trying to inspire others, please others, or live up to parental or societal expectations. I decided to try living simply to inspire myself.

This sounded fun, and seemed entirely do-able (and it is!).

I discovered that our life purpose isn’t some big grandiose accomplishment that gets a hospital named in your honor (but that could be a part of it), and it doesn’t depend on other people or external circumstances. 

When our purpose is tied to external factors to which we don’t have full control (ex. other people being inspired by me), we hold ourselves back from fulfilling our potential or being in our purpose, because we’ve made it conditional.

When I turned my attention inward, I re-claimed my personal power and the ability to be in my purpose despite circumstances.

I now know that my life purpose is expanding and deepening more into the energy of love, following what lights me up, healing what keeps me stuck, and living in such a way that I’m aligned with my values, and in integrity with who I am.

From that place, I contribute the most to the world.  And maybe one day that looks like being an inspirational leader, but it could also look like many other things (like being a wife, a dog-mom, a coach for women entrepreneurs, a fitness trainer and a tortured author – yes, it’s true), and countless other possibilities.

So I dare to ask what inspires YOU?  

  • What are your passions?  Are you living them?  Do you feel fulfilled?
  • If you were to live the rest of this day and the ones following, in a way that inspired you, would you live any differently?
  • How would you be showing up in your life that is different than how you’re showing up now?  (And likely no, that actually wouldn’t look like lying on the couch all day eating icecream as your negative ego might have you fear.)

Only you can define your happy, and living that, dare I suggest, is what your soul has called you here to do.

I’d love to hear from you… can you relate to any of this? What has your experience been of living under self-pressure? Other people’s expectations? Your own inspired guidance?