purpose

Wednesday WINSday--TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Some people say the first step is the hardest because it’s the scariest.

Some people say the middle steps are the hardest because they can be the most challenging.

And some people say getting to the end is the hardest because the end is never really the end. By the time we get there, things have changed so much, it’s time to start again.

For over a year, I’ve been recording Mission Driven Monday, a weekly video-cast series. I interview women I admire, and we chat about our proudest accomplishments, the things we’re learning in our current season, and the legacy we want to leave. It’s been a lot of fun, but one thing I’ve learned is that people have short attention spans, so I’m trimming the fat and spending the next 52 weeks sharing the best little nuggets from every conversation.

Meet Amy Phelps!

My friend, Amy, was my first interview subject. She’s a mother and a wife, a former teacher, and a current autodidact.

Don’t know know what an autodidact is? If I was a teacher, I’d tell you to look it up so you would remember it better. You probably should look it up anyway because an autodidact is a self-learner.

I met Amy in the way that all young moms do—in the preschool carpool line. All the minutes we spent together at birthday parties, mother/daughter teas, and school programs, added together to create a beautiful friendship.

I say this a lot, but none of us are JUST moms. We make PB&Js AND we make art. We give baths AND we give time to causes that matter. We do homework AND we do both paid and unpaid “job-type” work.

All these responsibilities can leave us feeling both full and empty at the same time. Our kids don’t need us less as they get older, but they do need us in different ways. Nothing stays the same, and so we must do the very thing we tell our kids to do—adapt to change.

Amy, a former Biology teacher, is learning how to do photography and web design, a strong departure from her former world of plant physiology and animal dissection.

She says, “All you have to do is start. And then you realize you’re not alone.”

There’s this song I love from the 1960s, a turbulent time in the United States for sure, but I also think it fits here.

These lyrics of “The Times They Are A Changin’” are as relevant today as they were more than fifty years ago.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
— Bob Dylan


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that getting anywhere in life requires taking a step. I need to be reminded that while taking steps is good, the payoff isn’t always at the end. Who we meet along the way is usually the best part of every adventure.

My friend Amy knows that. College ends, and life with family begins, children grow up, and the things that worked for us in the past may no longer be the things that sustain us as welcome the future.

I’m grateful for our friendship. And it wouldn’t have happened if we both hadn’t taken steps toward each other nearly a decade ago. As our paths crossed, so did our work.

If you want to see our full interview, you can watch it here.

Want more GOOD STUFF?

I wrote this FREE GUIDE, and it’s just for Mission Driven Women. Fun fact: Amy did all the design and layout! You can get it free here:

Take the first step

You don’t have to know what you want to be because there’s so much joy in discovering WHO YOU WANT TO BE.

All you have to do is start.

And then you realize you’re not alone.

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING YOU BECOME THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE?

Mission Driven Monday--Orly Wahba

Meet Orly Wahba!

Orly might just be the most interesting woman in the world. I’m not kidding! When you read her bio, your jaw will drop. This woman is a mover and a shaker! She was first introduced to me by my friend, Lydia Mays, founder of See Beautiful.

I had the distinct privilege of being one of the first to read Orly’s book, Kindness Boomerang. It’s beautiful and deceptively simple, not because it’s lacking in any way but because Orly envisions a world where kindness isn’t the exception but rather the EXPECTATION.

Orly Wahba is an educator, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author and community activist, passionate about inspiring and motivating people to make the world a kinder place. Orly began her career in kindness as a middle school educator at the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York, teaching the children to embrace unity, build their self-esteem, and use the power they have to influence the world for good.

Yearning to make a larger impact with her philanthropic work, Orly founded Life Vest Inside—a non-profit organization with a mission to empower and unite the world with kindness——in 2011. Through Life Vest Inside, Orly encourages people to embrace the incredible power of giving and recognize that in times of hardship, kindness——like a life vest——keeps the world afloat.

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Life Vest Inside gained international acclaim when Orly’s award-winning film Kindness Boomerang went viral, receiving over 30 million views, landing her a spot at TED2013, where she presented a talk on the magic of kindness. Orly and her work have been featured on The Today Show, CBS, NBC, Bloomberg TV among others.

Orly's first book Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts was released in January 2017 and serves as a lesson-a-day guide to living a kinder, happier life. Her cross country Kindness Boomerang tour was a huge success, delivering over 50 talks in a 5 week period. The mission: to spread kindness & foster positive dialogue. Orly created and runs Dance for Kindness, an annual global event uniting people in over 50 countries, 120 cities under the banner of kindness.

We are all unique, significant and special in our own way——each of us with something to contribute to this wonderful world that only we can give.
— Orly Wahba



In 2014, the seeds for a new venture were planted and in the summer of 2019 finally became a reality called - Abraham's Legacy: A Social Network for Prayer launched on both iTunes and Google Play. Orly created the app in memory of her grandfather and hero, Albert Nackab Z’L

Orly attended Trapeze School NYC, directed community theater, plays drums and piano, figure skates, plays basketball, softball and is a mean ping pong player. She also has hopes and dreams of infusing positive change in the political arena by focusing on ethics, character and values.

Orly serves on the Board of the Pay it Forward Foundation and the Brooklyn College Foundation. Orly received her BA in Film Production and English from Brooklyn College, and her MA in Jewish History from Touro College.

Orly is following her mission, not the madness. I’m excited for you to join us for this conversation.

Important Links from this Episode:

Orly’s 2013 Ted Talk: Kindness Matters

Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) through 365 Daily Acts

Dance for Kindness: Worldwide Flashmob on Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Abraham’s Legacy: A Social Network for Prayer

Want more great content?


A Simple Exercise to Discover Your Purpose

By Guest Contributor, Kristi Porter, Founder and Chief Do-Gooder at Signify.

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I first met Kristi about three years ago. At the time, I was just beginning my own journey into entrepreneurship, and the learning curve was steep. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing! Someone sent me the link to Signify’s website and blog and there I found a guide who seemed to know exactly how I was feeling and exactly what I needed in order to lead my growing business with confidence. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, unequipped, or just plain stuck, then I encourage you to check out both the free resources and paid offerings at Signify. You won’t regret it!

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And now, here’s Kristi:

I’m sure this has never happened to you, but there are times in my life when I’ve felt aimless.
Directionless.
Purposeless.

 It’s not a good feeling. In fact, it’s a pretty discouraging feeling.

 Ever been there?

 At times like this, one of the best exercises I’ve found to get back on track is one I discovered in the Experiencing God workbook. Three times I’ve done this Bible study, and three times it’s changed my life.

I’ll give you the 50-cent tour of this exercise below, but what I think it does so well is give me perspective. Perspective brings clarity, both for where God has brought me, and potentially where He is leading me.

When we’re feeling sad, restless, or like we have no vision for the future, I think it’s often because we’re caught up in our own stuff. It’s like not being able to see the forest for the trees.

However, when we have perspective, we can rise out of our own circumstances to see the path we’ve been on and, possibly, the direction we’re headed—even if it’s only the next step.

 

Share Your Story to Gain Perspective

I’ll give you a small example from my own life to illustrate. I’m a solopreneur, so I have no co-workers. If you’ve ever tried to do something big on your own, you know there are lots of moments of doubt. I go through those pretty much daily! Plus, because I have no one working alongside me, there’s no one to constantly talk me down off the metaphorical ledge.

It’s at these times God has been so faithful. Without a doubt, He sends me someone new, and I get to tell my story. It could be in a new client meeting, someone I met at an event, or just a new friend. Regardless, they don’t where I’ve been, so I get to tell them.

In the process of sharing my story, I listen. And by the time I arrive at the present, I think to myself, “Wow!

That’s MY story! I got to live that, and now I get to serve the people and causes I care about. That’s amazing!”

Just like the exercise below, sharing our stories gives us perspective. It’s not about our busy calendars; it’s about the journey. And I think it’s that kind of outlook that truly gives us vision.

So, if you’re feeling restless, burned out, or looking for deeper insight in your life, give this exercise from the Experiencing God workbook a try. It can be an incredible opportunity for breakthrough, especially when trying to discern those things that bring meaning to your life, and maybe even your purpose.

 

Take an Objective Look at Your Past

The first step is to figure out where you’ve been. Getting perspective can be incredibly difficult in the day-to-day. There’s so much being thrown at us all the time to keep us busy and distracted. This could be a source of great unrest for a lot of us, because we feel like we’re just moving through life on autopilot. And autopilot is the opposite of what we’re after—purpose.

So, to move forward, we’ll start by looking backward.

Essentially, what you’ll need to do is list your “sign posts,” as the study calls them. These could be major milestones as well as meaningful moments. Think about the points in your life that stand out.

Oh, and before you begin to “put pen to paper,” also think about how you personally like to process information.

Me? I love bullet points, so I keep a list of these sign posts in Evernote. I’m a list maker at heart, and I don’t like keeping up with paper.

But if you’re a more artsy type of person, maybe you want to take a big piece of paper and create a map or draw your sign posts visually.

Find a way to help you get the information out of your head so that you can analyze it later.

 Okay, back to it! Here are a few prompts to get you started:

·      What are the major milestones that have occurred in your life? (ex: moves, college, marriage, kids, jobs)

·      What moments have been meaningful? (ex: pivotal conversations, experiences)

·      When/where/why have you grown spiritually? (ex: What did this look like?)

·      What other times stand out in your life?

Having done this study three times, I started with the big transitions and then began to fill in the gaps. Now, I add to it annually with anything I think adds a dot to my personal timeline.

The important thing here is write down anything that stands out to you, and that you consider to have shaped you in some way. 

Look for Common Threads

Whew—that’s a lot, right? Some good stuff and some not so good stuff? Me, too.

There are definitely days I’d rather forget about heartaches, bad bosses, and having chronic health issues, but those experiences shaped me, too.

So, after you’ve written what amounts to the abridged story of your life out of your head, move on to the evaluation. Basically, connect the dots of your life.

Look for common themes, threads, and occurrences.

What continues to pop up?
What trends do you see?
What makes you happy?
What makes you sad?
What do you want to see more of?

If you’re having trouble spotting themes, ask someone you trust to take a look. They might be able to spot them more quickly.

Next, add your own summary section so you have a dedicated place for your takeaways. You’ll want these to stand out for future reference.


Move Forward with More Clarity

Hopefully, you’re starting to see more clearly. You’re able to identify lessons, ideas, and values you couldn’t see as easily before.

Maybe it reinforced your thinking, or maybe it surprised you. Regardless, I hope and pray God has revealed Himself to you.

 Here are just a few of my own insights:

·      Justice has looked different to me over the years, but it’s always been important to me. I volunteered for years with social justice organizations, but I realized that I needed it to be a bigger part of my life. So, while I love working with all my clients, my favorites are definitely in the social impact space.

·      Writing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. Even when I wasn’t doing it full-time, I had to start a blog to not only keep up with the practice of writing, but feed this source of creativity.

·      Traveling brings me both enjoyment and clarity. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made it a point to figure out ways to travel, even short distances every couple of months. It’s not just for fun, but to use as periods of reflection for my business.

·      It’s not uncommon for me to have major spiritual breakthroughs after moving to a new location. I think one of the reasons I’ve felt spiritually stagnant recently is because I’ve been in the same place for too long!

 And remember, new experiences can change your perspective. I think it’s a good idea to do this exercise each year to see what new insights appear and where God might be leading you next. Your purpose might indeed look the same throughout your life, or may shift from season to season or year-to-year.

What about you? What has been revealed to you through this process? With all of this newfound knowledge, what will you do next?

 Whether you found a new direction or purpose or not, you should see that there is order to the chaos we call life. You have been created and called, loved and led, gifted and given, restored and redeemed—over and over again. You have not been forgotten, you have been favored.

 

 

 Kristi Porter helps nonprofits and for-profits with a social mission get noticed and grow through effective marketing and communications. She also teaches solopreneurs and small businesses how to incorporate easy philanthropy strategies. Essentially, Kristi makes cause-focused organizations look and sound more professional so they can build a larger audience, increase sales or donations, and do more good. Connect with Kristi here.

Kristi Porter, Founder and Executive Director of Signify. Focus and Shine!

Kristi Porter, Founder and Executive Director of Signify. Focus and Shine!


If you missed our interview with Kristi Porter for Mission Driven Monday, you can catch up HERE.


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