3 steps toward purpose

My favorite pair of boots were in desperate need of new heels. “You’ve been having fun,” commented the shoe repair guy as he studied the damage.

“I walk with purpose.”



Photo credit: Unsplash


“A lady on a mission with determination,” he responded with a smile.

Why, yes. Yes, that would be me.

Have you thought much about your mission? What have you always wanted to do? How do you want to make your corner of the world a better place for others?

Purpose and adventure need to be planned into your life.

If not, the ordinary-every-day takes over.

Because there are jobs to commute to, bills to pay, laundry to do, kids’ soccer games to attend, “Downton Abbey” to watch. Which means there will never be time for a more purposeful life.

There were a number of things Hubby and I did in an effort to bring meaning from his senseless cancer diagnosis. For one, we established a non-profit. Had never done anything like this before.

Writing for grant funding was new to me.

And then booking speaking engagements and standing in front of live audiences? We were way out of our league.

And yet we persisted toward bringing hope and encouragement to others dealing with cancer.

Here are 3 steps to help with planning forward, two of them taken from my recently-posted e-book:

1. Capture your goals in writing. Because it helps clarify what it is you really want to do; because when you read back over your list, it refreshes the vision; because words are powerful. Michael Hyatt says this about putting goals to page: “When I speak publicly, I often ask how many people believe in the power of written goals. Every hand shoots up. Yet when I ask how many of them have written goals for this year, very few hands go up. This always surprises me, given the fact most people know intuitively (and research has proved) that those who write their goals down accomplish significantly more than those who do not write their goals.”

2. Determine first steps. After you’ve written your goals, it’s important to figure out first steps. If you’ve always wanted to volunteer with a humanitarian group to dig wells in Africa, for example, but you never determined how or with whom; you never applied for a passport; you never asked about time off … well then, what are your chances of getting off the tarmac?

3. Roll up your sleeves. Which is code for, Work in the direction of your goals. Do that one step you can do today. Then do the next thing that presents itself. And watch doors begin to open into broader opportunities. Because you were faithful in the smaller ones.

I’m reading Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn’s book A Path Appears. A good read. Full of anecdotes from America and around the world about how one person can truly make a difference.

This from the introduction:

Over the past couple of decades, a growing stack of evidence has shown that social behavior—including helping others—improves our mental and physical health and extends life expectancy. … Maybe this deep-rooted social element in all of us explains our yearning for a life of meaning. We wonder about our purpose; we care about our legacy.

A cancer diagnosis drove my passion and Hubby’s to walk with purpose. Giving back. Sharing our story. Creating memorable adventures. And to encourage others in that same direction.

Writers Kristoff and WuDunn continue:

Think of giving back not as a dreary means to a tax deduction but as a chance to inject meaning, wonder and fun into life.

Hubby and I were ordinary people who determined to step out into uncomfortable places.

It would have been less risky staying home. With our feet up on the coffee table. Remote control in hand. Watching other people lead extraordinary lives.

But we made a deliberate decision to get off the couch. And because we did, we created more memories, and made more fun, and established more meaning for the days that were left.

As for my favorite pair of boots — they’re looking good these days, but you can bet I’ll be back at the shoe repair place at some point down the road.




What about you? Is there much purpose or adventure in your life? If not, do you need to begin planning intentionally?

P.S. If you found this post inspirational or helpful, please share, tweet or pin!


Is this the way to joy?


Looking back; living forward


  1. Sharon Brorson

    Hi Marlys,

    I always enjoy your blog and appreciate your honesty. I admire your passion for life and your endless energy to “get out and get moving”. Thank you for making me smile and inspiring me to “make my own list of goals” for 2016.

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