A Journey called Purposeful Living

Following on from my last post detailing why I quit my job, I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses and reactions I’ve received from friends and loved ones. The support and encouragement has been truly remarkable and I’m deeply grateful and humbled by it. Every comment was read and cherished. I’ve been especially touched by those who voiced similar sentiments about their jobs, finding their purpose and feeling a sense of unfulfillment. From the friend with three kids whose husband quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his dream of obtaining a masters degree, to the friend who took voluntary redundancy and went travelling through Kenya and Tanzania for four months or the friend who quit her job as a teacher and started her own learning company, it is always liberating to open yourself up and realize that you are not alone in your struggles, there are other people who have walked similar paths and ultimately there is very little that separates us in comparison to what unites us.

One of the recurring questions I’ve received over the past couple of days has been “do you know what you’re going to do next”? And the truth is, not entirely. Sometimes it feels as if I’m at a crossroads of some sort. A crossroads between familiar territory versus venturing out into the unfamiliar. The more I think about it, the more I’m compelled to explore the unfamiliar even if for a period of time or concurrently. I keep thinking about how I would feel when I get to the end of my life and look back on the things I did and accomplished and I get this sense of dread that if I don’t at least try, I would regret it. I don’t like regrets. They serve no purpose to me and therefore if I have the choice now to potentially avoid a regret, I would prefer to take that choice. Having said all that, what I do know right now is that I’m rediscovering passions and interests that have been buried by the vicissitudes of daily life, one of which is writing.

A good friend of mine also asked me an interesting question “do you think that each person must have some sort of talent or particular thing that’s called their purpose”? It really got me thinking about the term purpose and the human perception of purpose. I believe that talent and purpose are two different things which can exist independently of each other or coexist in unison. I can be talented at singing, enjoy singing but it does not mean that my purpose in life is to be a singer. Purpose on the other hand is the what you were created for, the thing that gets you out of bed every morning. There is a sense that yours and the lives of others depend on it so you cannot ignore it, try as you may. It is a nagging deep within to do more, be more and create more. There are many notable people whose talent and purpose appear to intermingle, such as Serena Williams and Bill Gates to name a few. These people have mastered the art of turning their talents into a purpose that supersedes personal interests.

We can find purpose in our everyday life. Take for example, the security guard that keeps office buildings safe or the air traffic controller that ensures airplanes land safely and without incident are both fulfilling purpose. Now being a security guard or air traffic controller might not be their passion, but it fulfills a purpose that goes beyond self to the greater good of humanity. Perspective matters in being able to find fulfillment and a sense of purpose in everyday living. If the everyday humdrum leaves you feeling depleted and wanting, then consider pausing for a moment and listening to the inner workings of your heart. The answers most of us spend a lifetime pursuing already lies within us. Ultimately, our willingness to let go of fear and take action is the key to unlocking those answers and living a purposeful life.


Why I quit my job

Sine Metu
Without Fear

Tuesday marked my last day in gainful employment. I promised myself this year would be a year of taking more risks, living more purposefully, stepping out and documenting my journey as much as possible. I’m unashamed to say I’ve failed woefully at documenting much of it until now. This promise to take more risks and live purposefully stemmed from what can only be described as my year of turmoil. 2017 was one of those years I will never forget, a year that in some ways changed my life and the events of which are still changing my life even as I write this. It was a year of growing a backbone and truly realizing that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. As a popular adage goes, it was a year of “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong“.

Continue reading “Why I quit my job”

Breaking the cycle of perfectionism: my personal journey

Nobody wants to hear the F-word, and I know what you’re thinking right now but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about failure. Nobody likes that word or wants to hear that they failed. Yet failure is a part of everyday life, in the same way success is. Some people might disagree with this and that’s okay. For a recovering perfectionist like me, it takes a lot to admit that failure is a part of life and whether we like it or not we are bound to fail at some point, the longer we live on this earth.

I grew up thinking there was no room for failure in life or in other words, failure was not an option. With that rule and mind-set in place, it meant that I would work my hardest to ensure I never failed at anything.  But it wasn’t just about not failing, I wanted to be at the top and I did just that. This served me pretty well until about my 2nd year, 2nd semester of university when failure came rearing it’s ugly head at me for the first time. I failed two modules and it felt like my world had literally come to an end. See, I’d never failed a subject before so seeing the letter “F” on my result was about as alien as swimming in the Atlantic ocean. I couldn’t accept it. I tried my hardest to get my lecturer at the time to re-mark my results, but all my efforts were futile. After much internal struggling, I resigned myself to my fate and vowed that I would more than make up for those grades during the next semester. So, I poured myself into my studies with a renewed vengeance. Every spare moment I wasn’t having a lecture or working on an assignment was spent studying. Needless to say, I aced the following semester with a 4 point GPA. 

Since then, I’ve had other encounters with failure – not necessarily of the academic kind but nonetheless just as unpleasant and traumatic in some cases. Failed relationships, driving tests and job situations. Each time I failed at something, it felt worse than the last time. A sea of emotions would overtake me and I would wrestle internally with not being able to understand why I couldn’t just succeed at whatever it was, after all I was accustomed to excelling at most things. It never occurred to me that even the best of us fail sometimes and that’s normal and part of navigating life. Finally, my epiphany about failure came when I realized I’d attached my sense of identity to my ability to succeed. This meant that whenever I failed at something, my entire identity was questioned and nestling on shaky ground. I no longer felt like the ground beneath me was stable and I was worried I would not be able to overcome this unfamiliar feeling. It has finally taken me a string of failures and a lot of deep reflection to truly understand and even come to appreciate what failure can do for me, if I allow it. We’re told we must work hard to succeed, but nobody ever tells us that even though we work our hardest, sometimes failure is just inevitable. Nobody teaches us that failure in itself is a teacher. I’ve come to realize that success, whilst rewarding and exhilarating teaches very little. Failure however opens up a whole new world of opportunity to learn about ourselves, our world and even challenge previously held views and beliefs. Failure can be the catalyst to enjoying a kind of success borne out of true humility, maturity ,wisdom and experience.

A wise quote put it succinctly “failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success”. Take for instance, I have failed my driving test 6 times. Now some might think I must be a terrible driver to have failed a mere driving test that many times, but believe me when I say that I am actually a very good driver. In fact on two occasions after taking the test, the examiners have commented on how well I drive even though they still failed me. Human logic would reason “if I’m such a good driver, why am I failing”? Well, that’s a good question but the problem with that question is that it assumes that good drivers never make mistakes. Every test I failed allowed me to continue learning to drive and correcting the mistakes in the first place that caused the failure. So while I may not have a licence to prove my road worthiness as a driver yet, my experience of spending more time learning has greatly improved my skills, arguably more so than some who may have passed the first time. My point is, my encounter with failure allowed me to continue the journey of learning and in the process, build experience. My driving success is no longer defined by the plastic card I long for, but by the experience I have garnered behind the wheels and by the strength of character it has built up in me to brush off disappointment each time and keep going. 

I am no longer afraid of failure. Failure is just another word that has no control over my emotions or my identity. It is just another step on the journey to a life well lived.

And then Christmas came along…

20151225_165941.jpgChristmas, a favourite time of the year for many. I imagine right now on the streets of London people are frantically buying Christmas presents, lights everywhere, Christmas tunes blaring from various shops and decorative accessories beckoning eager shoppers to come in and spend their hard earned cash in the spirit of Christmas. I can only imagine right now because whilst the rest of the world is busy preparing for this season, I’m scooped up on my couch with the worst flu known to mankind,  short of the dreaded avian flu – not that I  know what that felt like but I feel like I’ve come pretty close judging by the past few days. With nothing better to do,  I’ve had a lot of time to think about this season a lot and whilst I’ve always been a lover of Christmas and have declared it my favourite time of  the year in times past , I’ve also come to see and experience a less than glamorous or joyful side of this season. Sadly, the festivity and emphasis on family time can also be a harsh and glaringly painful time for many because it draws attention to what isn’t. Absent fathers or mothers, a lonely widow or widower or a singleton wondering how many more Christmases they will have to spend alone or tagging alongside others because they have no one else to share it with. I don’t mean to paint a gloomy picture, but it is reality. And staring at this reality,in light of my poorly state got me thinking about what love truly is.

Love isn’t words first and foremost. Sure expressing love for one another is still important but what counts even more is what action follows those words we so easily say to one another. Love is picking up the phone and calling (not WhatsApp ing, texting, IG’ing, Facebooking or Twittering) that friend or family member or loved one to check how they’re really doing. Love is going the extra mile, even at one’s own inconvenience to help the invalid with their groceries or domestic chores. Love is seeking out opportunities to show kindness to someone – even if all you can offer them is a smile or a prayer, something that may mean little to you but mean the world to them in a world where they’ve been shown little to no love. Love is looking after the elderly in your midst,  love is helping the homeless escape the bitter cold of winter or treating them with  dignity and respect and talking to them so they don’t feel forgotten.

Love is action, the loudest word you can speak. So if Christmas truly is all about generosity of spirit and making merry, then the best thing you can do this Christmas is light up someone else’s world who can’t pay you back cos let’s face it, family members and friends can easily give back what you give them.

Where’s my coffee??

Have you ever felt the nagging frustration of waiting for something that seems to elude you? You thought by now you’d have what you wanted, be where you wanted to be or received that long overdue promise. With each passing day, you feel like the clock is ticking away and that once thriving, hopeful burst of energy and anticipation has now been replaced with hopelessness, sarcasm, frustration and fear of the what ifs and why? You may not say it out loud for fear that putting it into spoken words will somehow be the confirmation that all is lost and it will never happen? Yet within you lingers that nagging fear and growing anxiety and you can’t seem to shake it off. Continue reading “Where’s my coffee??”

~Weekend Quotes #3~

“I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God”.

King Solomon

After what has been a busy, stressful week…. It’s time to kick back and enjoy the fruit of one’s labour. Whatever that may look like for you, remember that all is vanity and grasping for the wind so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

Joie de vivre!

One of a kind love

Today I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a while ago when I was pondering the meaning of true love. It came from a time of confusion and despair when I couldn’t understand why certain things happen in life. Whether that’s the disappointment of a love lost, shattered dreams, broken promises, whatever it may be, there is something in the human spirit that yearns for love – to be loved and to love. When promises are broken and life happens, it can leave us feeling dejected and perhaps rejected, without hope and excruciatingly disappointed. But maybe, just maybe…the kind of love we long and hope for isn’t real love? Maybe we’ve confused the fairy tale love and romance of Hollywood and Disney movies for real love, pining for the happily ever after story.
Continue reading “One of a kind love”