40 Days of Living in Your Purpose
The 40-Day Challenge
I’m all about a challenge. To the minute sometimes. How much can I get done in 20 minutes? Holy shit! A lot. When I do a 40-day challenge, I’m so pumped up about it. I make charts and goals. I get so into it, I document it. Not only to track my progress but to prove to myself that if I really wanted to do something, I could do it. 40-day challenges for me, are a practice in discipline and self-motivation.
Have I successfully completed a 40-day challenge? Well, what’s your definition of success? Sometimes, the last few weeks of these challenges, end with poor results or I don’t track them. I’m human. Other times, I literally go 40-days without social media and live to see another day. The point of these challenges is to grow from them. In this particular one, I was trying to commit to my purpose.
What is my purpose?
At this moment in my life, I’m defining my purpose as two things:
1. To write so people feel loved and inspired.
2. To help people with my words (both written and spoken).
Now, I haven’t mastered this. I’m still discovering it. This purpose is mine, you have one too. Don’t know what it is? Let’s try and find it.
Finding what my purpose was, took time. Hell, I’m still working through it. That’s what finding a lovely life is all about though—progress. Alas, these were the two things I wrote down to focus on.
The purpose of this challenge
For this particular 40-day challenge, I wanted to commit to writing every day. I figured that was a good data point. (LOL) If I was going to live in my purpose, I figured I had to actually do the thing I said was my purpose right? I guess we will find out!
Part of this was also defining what writing meant for me. I was having a hard time writing because I was putting so much pressure on what I defined my purpose to be and what other people thought about my writing. I wonder if I had this purpose thing all wrong.
When it came to writing, the only thing I could control was the actual writing. I couldn’t control how people were going to feel when I wrote, they were going to feel whatever they wanted to—what they needed to. I was also reaching a point where I was measuring my writing quantitatively versus qualitatively. I still struggle with this. I wanted to explore that in this 40-day challenge and see if my purpose could be less of a burden for myself.
Week One: Timelines & Affirmation
As with all my 40-day challenges, I start things with such determination and commitment. I take all the notes, learn all the things. I make observations about my findings and feel accomplished. That being said, I started with a plan.
In order for me to live in my purpose full-time, I was going to need some short-term and long-term goals. What do those look like for you? Maybe you need to stay in the job you’re currently in and save money to start your business. Maybe your loving that side hustle but you’re not giving yourself enough time to make it into something more.
You’re going to have to make sacrifices to live the life you want. That might mean saying no to some things on the weekends.
Throughout the week, I started noticing a lot of my writing was being influenced by opinions. I was working on a manuscript that just wasn’t coming together and frankly was sharing way too much with others for validation rather than seeking actual feedback. Later in the week, I came to my senses and finally started writing the book how I wanted to—not how others wanted me to.
Make yourself happy first, before you seek affirmation from others.
Week Two: Isolation & Inspiration
For me, this week was about welcoming frustration and figuring out what I needed to do to get out of the writing slump I was in. While finishing the first draft is the goal, I realized I didn’t know my characters well enough to keep the story moving. The plot was there but I had no idea how these people were supposed to react to the scenarios I was throwing at them. I took some time and paused on the manuscript—I got to know my characters.
Committing to living in your purpose might feel isolating. You’re cleaning house and only inviting in positive support and reinforcement. You’re focused now, which means the things you’ve eliminated as distractions are still going to be there—now, you’re just more aware of them.
The biggest thing I learned this week was to let go. Sometimes when we are stuck or even tempted (especially in a challenge) we tend to get frustrated with ourselves. It’s much easier to just give up or give in to that distraction. It’s okay to change things up and find something else that works. You’re not getting distracted if you’re looking for inspiration somewhere else. What inspires you to keep going? Try something new before giving up completely.
Living in your purpose doesn’t mean sacrificing your joy. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing with your purpose, it’s time to find another direction.
Week Three: Learning to Relax
By week three of any challenge, I’m overwhelmed. I burn out easily because I go in at 110%. I want to do all the growth. I’m trying to find that lovely life, remember? What happens though, is through all the burnout, I end up trying to multitask. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great multitasker…but should I be? Probably not. The human brain is only programmed to do one thing at a time anyway, I just like to push the limits and see what happens.
As a continued working through my manuscript this week, I started to open up about my writing again. I was burned earlier by sharing too soon but I had my confidence back and I knew I didn’t need to share everything. It’s okay to talk about what you’re working on.
You don’t have to give everything away if you haven’t figured everything out yet. That’s why they call it a work-in-progress! Give yourself permission to figure it out.
In the middle of the week, I finally took a day off. It took me three weeks to learn how to let go and relax—and that’s me forcing myself to pause. I gotta work on that more. What I learned on my day off that I’d like to pass along to you is: good work, takes time. Remember that timeline you made at the beginning of the week? That’s great! It’s a blueprint. In real life, we need to adjust. That is okay. You’re doing great!
Good work takes time. Sometimes five years and that’s okay too. Don’t rush it, you’ll end up where you’re meant to be, eventually.
Week Four: FOMO & New Plans
It’s really hard to commit to a challenge when you’re the only one doing the challenge. I get FOMO by scrolling through Instagram on a random Tuesday. I definitely get FOMO when I decide to look at what everyone else is doing when I’m in the middle of a 40-day challenge.
Their growth does not look like your growth. It will always be different. Remember that.
I think the most important thing here is to make sure you define success for yourself first. Stop worrying about what your friends are doing. Odds are, if you’re working towards living in your purpose, sometimes you’re going to have to make new friends. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but not everyone in your life is meant to stay in your life forever.
When you are making huge strides in your growth, certain people will move out of your orbit.
This was the week I tried my best not to worry about things that weren’t in my control. It wasn’t easy. If people were out having fun and I needed to make my word count goal for the day, I needed to dig deep. I drank a cold glass of discipline to wake me up again and got back to work. Remember, in order to live in your purpose (whatever that is for you), you might have to make sacrifices and do the work to get you where you’re meant to be.
Your time will come, there’s a time for everything.
Weeks Five & Six: Oops.
I dropped the ball here. The bullet journal pages for week four and week five are empty I’m afraid. It’s not to say I abandoned the 40-day challenge, it’s that I didn’t document my findings because these were the weeks I let go and figured out that in order to live in my purpose, I had to actually live it. The good and the bad. To be honest, not documenting everything and focusing on the actual challenge is probably a good thing for me.
Learning what your purpose is, takes time. Figuring out how to apply that to your life and find a way to love what you do is also going to take time. It’s almost like working with clay—you have to mold it and work through it to make something out of it. That’s the same thing with your manuscript.
You’re gonna have to make mistakes. You’re gonna have to run into walls and write things that don’t work. You’re not supposed to know it all. Writing is rewriting and figuring it out along the way. Kinda like finding a lovely life worth living.