I remember researching “enlightenment” at 14 years old. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, but I knew that something inside me sought answers. I wanted to learn about life and intention. Little did I know it would be the experiences throughout the next decade that would teach me the all-too-important lessons a book never could.
To say the last several years had their share of ups and downs would be a slight understatement. It hasn’t been an easy journey… yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My quest for greatness begins with what I strive for in life: authenticity, integrity and purpose.
Authenticity (def): the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures.
Perfect. How often do we hear that? Perfection was so important to me; it caused me to abandon my authenticity. I had the picture perfect life planned at 14: graduate high school, go to a great college, meet a beautiful girl, get married, buy a house, have kids and grow old. It was simple.
Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. The reality ended up quite different from my “plan” and I couldn’t allow myself to let go of what I thought “perfect” should be. Why? I have discovered we often try to show everyone that we are flawless in hopes that we will be liked and accepted. Not only is it impossible to please everyone; we shouldn’t even try.
Our beauty lies in our vulnerability, our love, our complex emotions – our authentic imperfections. When we embrace who we are and choose to be authentic, instead of perfect, we open ourselves to deep meaningful relationships and real happiness. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. You are perfectly imperfect just the way you are.
Integrity (def): the concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, and principles.
Another pivotal discovery in my adult life is that circumstance does not define character… integrity does. Aristotle said it best with, “we are what we repeatedly do.”
Being rebellious in high school does not define me as “bad ” just the same as graduating college with honors does not define me as “good”. Serving on active duty in the Marine Corps does not define me as a “jarhead” the same way I am not a “frat boy” because I joined a fraternity. I am nothing in quotation marks. I am me.
As long as I strive to consistently align my thoughts with my actions, I will live with integrity. It is my belief that integrity is the glue between authenticity and purpose.
Purpose (def): the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
When I discuss finding and living your purpose, I’m not referring to placing your life on hold to discover something mysterious that’s hidden somewhere nearly impossible to reach.
I genuinely believe we all have a unique arrangement of strengths, experiences and passions that blend together in unexplainable ways, leading us to our most authentic, purpose driven lives.
It is almost too easy to get wrapped up in the notion that “someday when I’ve figured it all out and I’ve discovered my purpose, I’ll be happy and until then my life sucks”. Living a life of purpose is all about knowing that our highest goal or ultimate purpose is seeing just how consistently we can plug into the best within us. With that as our goal, every moment gives us an opportunity to be on purpose.
“In life we do things. Some we wish we had never done. Some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads. But they all make us who we are, and in the end they shape every detail about us. If we were to reverse any of them we wouldn’t be the person we are. So just live. Make mistakes. Have wonderful memories. But never ever second guess who you are, where you have been, and most importantly where it is you’re going.” –Unknown
Here I stand on my personal quest for greatness. Striving to live with authenticity, integrity and purpose. Excited to embrace the growth and development as I focus on only that which I can control. No regrets, no worry of the past for it is has led me to this moment that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Proud of the life I’ve created, as it all makes sense when I look back to connect the dots. It is perfectly imperfect and it has only begun.
To your quest,