At the heart of all of my coaching engagements is the desire for individuals to understand their purpose in this world. There is no established timeline for when you will find your purpose. You can’t plan for it and honestly, it may or may not even happen. If you are like me, it may be something that happened and you didn’t even know it was happening.
Six years ago, I was 36 years old and my daughters were 4 and 6 years old. I remember it vividly because I called it the “Golden Age” which was primarily a name given to celebrate my youngest daughter’s graduation from the Terrible 3’s. I can recall looking forward to a less hectic time ahead, a more peaceful time. At the same time my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. She was 83 years old and was full of life so it was painful for her and our loved ones to hear the news. She made the decision to fight and take on chemotherapy. Our family’s guiding mantra became “so long as the treatment is not worse than the disease”, we would support her decision and take the gift of more time with her. It was a blessing to see her fight so hard for the life that she was leaving behind. (The picture above was taken on a day in October, 2013, when she was undergoing chemo but felt good enough to go for a ride.)
I began spending some weekends in Mobile, AL with her to allow my parents, her primary caregivers, to have a break. I remember having lofty goals of trying to capture her life story and document all of the things that I wanted to know about her and pass on to my girls. Those goals quickly fizzled out. Instead we just sat on the loveseat in her bedroom, holding hands and watching Golden Girls or having coffee together and talking. I thought a lot about her life, how her heart had been broken by my grandfather (her first husband), how she had had rebounded from that heartache and had become a school teacher in rural Mississippi, touching so many people’s lives. I was happy to just be near her, basking in the unconditional love that she had always shown me.
At this same time, I was reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I began practicing mindfulness meditation. It was through the convergence of these things: my grandmother’s illness, working on my own Happiness Project with Rubin’s guidance, practicing mindfulness meditation and prayer that my purpose began to unfold (unbeknownst to me).
As my brain began (slowly) processing all of these things and my purpose began unfolding, I felt significant changes. The things that bothered me once before didn’t bother me as much anymore. I stood tall in my convictions and my beliefs. I spoke up against those that were unkind and chose not to surround myself with negative energy. I no longer felt the need to apologize for who I was or prove myself because everything I was doing was grounded in kindness. And because I was intent on being a force of positive energy in the world, the universe was pointing me towards other positive people and the energy around me changed for the better.
After eighteen months of fighting her battle with cancer, my grandmother passed away on December 4, 2014. She was at peace and it was time for her to leave this world. While I was sad and heartbroken, I never really felt like she left me. Instead, she became a force of positive energy in my world, guiding me forward like a bright light.
Losing her brought me to my purpose to coach. In hindsight, it all makes perfect sense. As a HR professional, my goal has always been to make leaders stronger through coaching them through issues versus doing it for them; seeing them grow brings me great joy. Anytime I learn a new concept, it is sharing it with others that I feel compelled to do. And much like my grandmother and mother, I choose to live out my purpose by being a positive force of energy in this world, a bright ray of sunlight. ☀️
Today would have been my grandmother’s 88th birthday and here I am, living out my purpose to coach, to grow and develop others. I had to embrace the fact that these events didn’t happen on my timeline and I had to release some power and control to the universe when things got scary but at my core, I know I am doing what I am meant to do in this world. I also know that my grandmother is smiling down on me and taking pleasure in the fact that I have followed in her footsteps as a teacher.
Happy Birthday “Care”!