Having to find your “one thing” is a byproduct of hustle culture.
It’s akin to climbing the corporate ladder, just that instead of vying for a seat at the C-suite, you’re climbing towards a Ted talk.
Whichever way we slice it, we’re climbing a ladder towards validation. A ladder that demands purity in our productivity, focus, and sacrifice. No room for the “fluff” of life.
I get it. How else will we ever be invited to speak at Ted without a succinct pitch deck of our “one thing”?! How else will we get a cover on Forbes?! More importantly, how will we grow on Instagram without a clear niche?!
If that’s what signifies success, then of course we’re chasing our “one thing”. Desperately trying to attain it so we can breathe a sigh of relief because finally we are a valuable human. (Thanks capitalism for training our brains to associate value with productivity and profitability!)
I can’t help but compare it to the quest of “finding a husband”. The idea that checking off a wedding from your to-do list will bring you one step closer to fulfillment.
Finding a purpose and finding a husband are not items on a to-do list that, when achieved, unlock the doors to nirvana.
Some people marry early and divorce early. Others marry late and grow old together. Some have fulfilling 10 year marriages and others have miserable 50 year marriages. We’re so wrapped up in comparing age and years when the real success of a marriage is measured in the love and fulfillment you give and get out of it.
Could it be the same for our careers? That our focus on timelines and “getting it right” is obstructing our sense of how we actually feel waking up to it every morning?
Within the ups and downs of life, are you proud of how you’re spending your days? Who you’re spending them with?
I’ve found that the day-to-day holds all the secrets. I don’t know who I’ll be or what I’ll want in twenty years, but as long as I don’t lose sight of what excites and fulfills me, I know what’s meant for me will never pass me by. Because you don’t need a perfectly articulated purpose to be living it.
Our perfectionist brains are little devils that keep us from this very simple task. It’s the equivalent of wanting a partner and then being on either extreme of dating: hiding out at home (ie. failing ahead of time) or going on a first date with your wedding dress already picked out. What happened to meeting people for the simple joy of meeting new people? Or working on yourself so you attract higher vibe people? (Yes, I said “higher vibe”, and no, I have no regrets about it.)
Our quest to find our “one thing” feels very similar. We bounce between the extremes of starting a new hobby with a mountain of expectation tied to it, or giving up and resigning to the idea that we’re defunct and have no purpose.
Let your purpose court you, romance you, and unravel over your lifetime however long that takes.
My weekly date is on Friday mornings, writing this newsletter. I’m putting no pressures on it to be my “one thing”, nor am I giving up on it because it’s not a “legit career”.
I protect my Creativity Day with all my powers. I pour love into it and celebrate the energy of this day. Today, I shared an Instagram story of my writing desk when I sat down at it. Such a seemingly small thing, but I’m strengthening my identity as a writer and imprinting the importance of this day into the real world. Ain’t nothing fluffy about coming alive through your creativity.
Tell me, what fabulous date will you accept from your purpose this week? Do share!