From Consumption to Contribution
When what you do for a living goes from being a means to earn an income, to an absolute moral imperative, you’ve found your life’s calling. – Kathleen O’Grady
Forgive me for quoting myself (I’m not that vain, I promise), but the above thought came to me in the shower several years ago, and I believe it accurately conveys the essence of what I hope this post will inspire.
The Externally Validated Self
Sadly in our consumer-based culture a majority of peoples’ self-worth is tied to their job title, salary and material possessions. The only issue with this is that when any one of those things are taken away from a person, so is a big portion of their identity.
Don’t get me wrong, I too enjoy the finer things in life. When I can, I love to eat out, buy quality clothing, get my nails done, and drive what some would consider a fancy car. However, when I was struggling to get my business off the ground (to live my legacy), and could only justify the bare essentials, I realized what was most important. It was not what I had to “show” for my hard work, but the IMPACT my hard work created.
SPOILER ALERT: Once I shifted from an intention to acquire money, to an intention to contribute more meaningfully to humanity, the money started to flow.
Most People Have it Backwards
So often I hear people say, “If I had more money I’d be able to live a more fulfilling life and make a difference.” Automatically, the quest of obtaining more money becomes the primary focus, and the desire to help others takes a back seat.
Again, I had this same limiting belief. I get it! But what I’d like to do is save you some time, and hopefully expedite your ability to achieve fulfillment in the support of others. The world needs your gifts just as much as you desire to give them! Stop making excuses and get out there…
You don’t have to drop everything and start over from scratch (that’s just fear trying to convince you not to change), you just need to begin taking small steps in the direction of what it is that will bring you joy and peace. If that means volunteering on the weekends, great. If it means taking a class one night a week after work, awesome! If it means scaling back to part-time at work to go back to school, go for it!
Leaving a Legacy
When you consume (food, books, music, entertainment, material possessions, etc.) you are benefiting from the creativity of others, and therefore validating their legacy. This is a beautiful thing. It’s win-win. Until, the simple act of enjoying a life of consumption just isn’t enough….
A majority of my clients and students come to me when they are ready to step into their authentic creativity, and begin to understand and cultivate their own legacy. Age is irrelevant (obviously, since I started my legacy work at 27), but it’s been my experience that people tend to “wake up” to the call of their legacy between the ages of 45 and 65.
Sometimes ‘wake-up-calls’ come in the form of a death, illness, job loss or other crisis. And, sometimes not. Trust me, if you are not already, listen to your heart NOW. You may save yourself from unnecessary discomfort.
Having said that, sometimes it is in our discomfort that we become who we need to be to carry out our legacy. The trick is to be aware, open and creative.
Thanks for reading!