Making Your Life Matter

When Abigail Lupi was 10 years old she visited her grandmother at an aged care facility. Shocked by how sad and lonely many of the residents were Abigail gathered a group of friends to sing, dance and act to put on shows for them. This troupe evolved into CareGirlz, a troupe which has brightened the lives of thousands of people since it first began.

A stabbing, which occurred at Granville Boys High School in 2011, inspired Ali Amood, Adam Alahmad and others to do something. They decided to set up a café to foster a sense of community, to feed the kids whose families didn’t have the means to provide them with breakfast. Pulse Café started with a grant of $500, which they used to buy a coffee machine.

Since the inception of the Pulse Café violence at the school has decreased and students are happier and more attentive.

Louise Hay started Hay House Publishing at 62. She started a foundation at 63. She co-wrote You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Cheryl Richardson at age 84. And although she retired from the day-to-day running of Hay House, she was still involved with her business until her death at age 90.

All of these people felt called to do something, and age wasn’t a barrier. We all have a calling, often more than one, that is sometimes easy to overlook because it may seem too ordinary. Whether your calling is something grand, or an activity you engage in that makes you happy, it’s important because it’s your reason for living. There have been many studies carried out over 20 years that show that seniors with a sense of purpose, that gives them a reason to get up and look forward to each day, live longer, are healthier and have less cognitive decline.

The purpose of my life, your life, everyone’s life is to share our gifts. Purpose is rarely something grand, in fact we usually find our life purpose in simple ways we share our gifts every day. Purpose is always about sharing the best parts of us with others and this could be through: acts of kindness, volunteering, teaching, being a role model, sharing and helping others.

Understanding your calling

Your calling is something different, something that your soul calls you to do and this can change at different life stages. A calling is never dependent upon age.

A calling can be a strong impulse to follow a certain path or to take a particular course of action.

Sometimes we think of our calling as a job, and for some people it is, but often it’s something we do every day. Raising children can be some people’s calling. Being a teacher who really helps their students to believe in themselves, may be another calling.

A calling can change at different life stages. Although we are parents for our entire lives, when our children grow up we need to find a new calling. The same applies for people whose work is their calling, once they retire their calling may be to do something different.

My calling was to be a mother, it’s all I ever wanted ever since I was ten years old and it was more important to me than work, money or success. I’ve always said that if I hadn’t had children of my own I would have adopted, fostered or started an orphanage overseas. I always knew that I was meant to be a mother.

I absolutely loved, and still love being a mother, but my children grew up. Along with parenting, my work has been a big part of my calling for the past 20 years. My work is about sharing what I’ve learnt from my own life experiences with others. Even though I am passionate about my work I still felt a little lost when my time as a full-time parent ended, and this is natural but since then I’ve discovered new passions.

I am passionate about helping baby-boomers find meaning in later life. As I may not be able to teach forever, and I want to make as big a difference as possible with my life, I started my non-profit movement, Be the Difference, to encourage more people to get involved in making our world a better place to live.

I am more passionate now than I have ever been even though I am now 71, and I have no doubt that I will find a way to share until the day I die, although I do admit I may slow down a little.

Stay open and willing

To recognise your calling and how to share your gifts you can:

Look at where you are challenged in life, usually challenges present you with opportunities to develop a strength that shows you your purpose.

Ask questions.

Follow your heart, it always takes you to your calling.

Practice being mindful.

Listen to your intuition.

Give as much as possible, that doesn’t have to be money or even time, it can be sharing a smile, visiting an elderly friend, looking for ways to brighten another person’s day.

Imagine reaching the end of your life feeling fulfilled knowing that you have touched and enriched so many lives. That’s what purpose is, it’s about being the best you possible. Your calling is often a way to express your purpose, it helps you to grow to your full potential, it always supports you to evolve.

My favourite quote about purpose, is from Neale Donald Walsch. He says: “Your life has nothing to do with you. It has to do with everyone whose life you touch, and the way in which you touch it.”

My Top 6 Inspirational Books

Several years ago I conducted a survey where I asked my blog readers where they would look for guidance or help if needed. Among the options included were; counsellors/life coaches, courses, friends and books. And most people told me that when they needed help or inspiration the first place they would turn to would be a book, followed closely by a friend.

I must admit The Power of Positive Thinking was the first of many inspirational books that changed my life because until I read it I had no idea that I had the power to change my life simply by changing the way I think. But as great an impact as that book had on me it was several more years before I really committed to learning more, and I only did this because I felt lost and directionless. I didn’t have a career, or any prospects of one. I was living on a Government benefit and looking after my two young children, one of whom was just a baby. But I had a great friend, Helen, who visited every weekend and each week she bought me a new book. Although I was grateful at that time I didn’t really realise just how much of a blessing those books were and what an impact they would have on my future. Some of the books Helen gave me included: Think & Grow Rich, Success through a Positive Mental Attitude, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity and The Magic of Thinking Big. They literally changed my life as they inspired me to start my first business, from my kitchen table, with absolutely no money.

I have no idea how many inspirational books I’ve read since that time, but I wanted to name just a few that have really impressed me, and I’d love to hear what inspirational books have changed your life.

Conversations with God – Neale Donald Walsch
When I was going through my mid-life crisis I would go for a walk each morning and ask for guidance and each day I received insights as to how to change my life. A lot of those insights I implemented into my life but sometimes I did wonder if it was just my imagination, then a friend gave me the book Conversations with God and I soon discovered that some of what Neale was writing about was the same as the guidance I received. It reinforced that I was on the path that was right for me, and in some instances answered some questions I still had.

You’ll See it when You Believe it – Wayne Dyer
If I had my way I would make this essential reading in high school. In this book Wayne so clearly describes how we’ve got it all wrong, that we wait until we see something until we believe, whereas we need to act as if we believe then our dreams come true.

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You – Serena J Dyer and Wayne Dyer
When Wayne Dyer died I felt so sad I went on a binge re-reading many of his books. One I hadn’t read was this one so I bought it at that time and I just loved it.

The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
I love to learn and this book, while not just a motivational book, is filled with information on research and statistics that prove that being happy needs to be a priority in all of our lives.

The Success Principles – Jack Canfield
This is a book I recommend to all of my life coaching students as it not only inspires it is practical. It is simply filled with tips and strategies on how to live a great life.

Jonathon Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
I loved this book, I was so inspired by the story of this little bird who didn’t accept limits that I bought a china seagull and named it Jonathon. It still lives in my living room and reminds me to never ever give up.

What books have inspired you, or changed your life?