Note: This is part of a new series where I feature people who are on their true peak journey.  If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact me.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today, our guest is Jacqueline Way, from 365 Give | Changing The World One Day at a Time.  Jacqueline recently started on a quest to make a difference in our world, every day, and document that journey.  From that, her site has become a place to share something, every day , that is good in the world – from her, and from others making a difference in their own unique ways. 

Jacqueline shares her story of life, and of finding a deeper purpose in all that she does.

Please read and enjoy…

 

Do you ever wonder what your true calling is? Do you ever wonder why you are here or what the meaning of your life is?

What Is My Purpose?

I have asked myself this question often. It started when I began my own business in my late 20’s. I started in the wonderful world if fundraising. Previously, I had many opportunities to grow my business and get involved in the corporate world but I made a clear decision based on my “calling.”  I’m not religious but I heard this voice – that little voice we all have. It was calling to me and telling me to base my business on giving back. I didn’t have a million dollars to give away but I knew I could raise it through other people. Fifteen years later I have done just that. I have used my skills to raise more money than I could ever give by listening to my calling.

Then Comes Middle Age

Then I hit 40. Oh that magic age that makes us sit and reflect what we have done to date. All of a sudden I was half way through my life, I had a two year old and I wanted to do more (as if raising a child and running my own business wasn’t enough). But the voice was getting louder and louder.  I wanted to get to the end of my life and know I had done everything in my power to leave the world a better place for my beautiful son, his friends and future generations. I sat, (I had no choice I had broken my foot – the gifts life gives us!) I pondered, I thought, I wrote, I waited to be inspired. I waited..and waited…and waited… and then it came!

Inspiration!

It hit me one day when I asked myself some important questions.

  • When was I happiest?
  • What made me work until the wee hours of the night just because it made me happy?
  • If I was asked to get up in front of an audience with no preparation and speak passionately on one topic what would it be?
  • If I won a million dollars what would I do with it?

The Answers 

The answers were there, I just had to listen. The answers to all of my questions came back to the same thing. I wanted to change the world! Wow what a big statement from one person.

I wanted to inspire other people to give more in their lives. I wanted to find a way to make people understand that our everyday actions and choices could change the world. I’m not Bono or Oprah but I am someone. I am one person that could do something every day to make the world a better place. I had few financial resources to start a worldwide movement, little technical background but I had a vision and desire. I had passion, I was inspired and I had the drive to figure it out. I had one other thing as well that had been holding me back for far too long….

Fear

Have you ever been so scared to start something you know nothing about that you just don’t do it? I have done it many times. I have tons of brilliant ideas to change the world but fear always held me back.

  • What would people think?
  • Where would I get the money?
  • How would I do it alone?
  • Who do I think I am?

 Not this time. I had a son to think of and an example to set. What kind of an example was I setting if I let my fear get the best of me and let my life go by without at least trying. I took a deep breath and jumped. I asked for help and the perfect person appeared to hold my hand to get me going. I started a blog, 365give.ca. Eight months ago I didn’t even know what a blog was. But I had to write – everyday. It was going to be my mission. Do one thing to give back to the world everyday and blog about it. I did forget one thing about myself – I’m not a writer! I can ask people for money for a good cause, but I’m not a writer. I started writing every day. Then came the challenge to get my blog noticed. Twitter? Facebook? No one told me I had to become a social media expert so someone would read my writing! Ahhhh! In comes the fear – I don’t do social media. I do now. I’m not an expert but I do my best.

Happiness

Happiness comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be as simple as taking the first lick of your favourite ice-cream or lying on a beach listening to the waves. It can be a first kiss or your first born. The happiness your get from giving back every day is something no one can take from me. It doesn’t come and go, it doesn’t leave you or fade. Giving everyday has brought me a happiness that gets me up in the morning and drives me. It helps me write, it helps me Tweet and Facebook. It even keeps my fear at bay.

The greatest gift of giving is what you receive from it. The look on someone’s face, the first time your son picks up garbage to help the planet without any prompting. Or it could be a surprise email in your inbox from someone like Lance that inspires you to keep going.

Exploring

Taking the time to explore what it all means to you is time well spent. I have found my calling. It is giving. It has made me feel like I am moving in the direction I should be going. It will change and evolve as I move along this journey but I now know I am heading in the right direction.

What will you do to move in the direction you should be going? Will you listen?

Jacqueline Way is the founder of 365give, an online diary of one woman’s actions and impact in changing the world every day for 365days. 365give has the potential to create a movement of giving and a community of committed ”givers” that can educate and inspire future generations.  Keep up with Jacqueline on Twitter and Facebook.

Note:  Photos provided, in part, by Karen Somers Photography.

Explore Commit Emerge
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stuck in Customs

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

~ T.S. Eliot

What are You Exploring?

Two months ago and it just sort of hit me.

Why am I doing this?  

That was the question I asked myself…I asked, and didn't have an answer.  Well…not an answer that really felt "right".

On the surface, it sure looked like everything was good and fine. {with everything in my life}  On the surface…until I looked a bit deeper. 

Have you ever had that feeling like you've been the "hamster on the wheel", just going in circles…except, for why?  {Why do you do the things you do?}  Or, for me:  why was I doing the things I did?  And when I paused long enough to ask myself that question…I just didn't have a good answer for the why

We all have amazing gifts we bring to this world.  You.  Me.  Everyone. 

Have we become like the hamster, though?  Are our lives like the hamster wheel, as we blindly spin through our day…and then start it all over again? 

…and on the surface it all looks good and wonderful…

That makes me think about the image we project, is it our true image? 

Or do we create safety zones.  Safety zones such as our job, our family, our hobbies, our habits.  Safety zones that give us that surface look of good and fine?  Safety zones that buffer our true image?  Is there something deeper beyond these safety zones, though? 

{Are there parts of you that feel vulnerable?  Is there a zone that feels unsure?  Do you sometimes wonder why…why you're doing what you do?}

Back to these last couple of months for me…(it seems like I am easily sidetracked…)  A time to explore the "why" behind all that I do, all that I am.

A time to go past that safety zone (the one of career, family, this site…).

…a time to go deeper, a time to listen, a time to be…

Sometimes, perhaps, that has to be a very solitary journey.   Not a time to be an open book…a time to open the book.  Not a time to lay it all on the line…a time to really see the line.  Not a time to bare the soul…a time to look into soul, in all its nakedness.

And so it has been.

The Commitment

I don't even remember now, what it was that triggered the thought…the thought of taking this blogging sabbatical I've been on.  I've decided it doesn't matter, though.  What's mattered is what this time has meant.  What's mattered is the commitment I made to do this, because it just "felt right".  You know that "voice within"…your intuition, gut feeling, inner vibe, sixth sense..  We all have this (now, whether we are listening or not…that's another story). 

It felt, in a way, like I was abandoning everything I had created here in this space.  {have you ever felt like you're abandoning something deeply meaningful to you?}

That voice though, when I really listened, was speaking very clearly.  Was speaking very clearly to me.

And so, a commitment to pause.

More than just a commitment to pause, though – this was a commitment to me, to be still and listen.

Might it feel vulnerable? {yes}

Might it take me out of the safety zones I portrayed? {yes}

Might I sway off course from my own personal commitment? {yes}

Might it all be so worth it, all that would come from this commitment to me?  {a resounding yes}

These past many weeks have been all of this. 

  • I've questioned if I really know my purpose here (both here in this space, and for my time here on earth). 
  • I've questioned how much it matters that I know this. 
  • I've questioned if I'm living fully and authentically to words which hold deep meaning for me:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a better place … to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • I've questioned what it means to be vulnerable. 
  • I've questioned the why of all that I do. 
  • I've questioned what holds me back from shining my own light.

And I've committed to living.  Living…in the full sense of that word, and all it brings with it.

The Emerging

So today I return to this space…and everything is the same, and everything is different.

The emerging will continue (as perhaps, on some level, it does for all of us).  For me, this emerging is with deeper clarity and purpose.

Today, I choose to continue to emerge…emerge not just on the surface, but from all parts of me.   And this space will continue to evolve as this new unfolding continues.

How about you?  How do you choose to emerge?

journey toward your true peak
Creative Commons License photo credit: K2D2vaca

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost

May our journey together here continue to enlighten all of us…