What should I do with my life? Moving from Ambition to Meaning

There comes a point in life when you look at where you’ve come from. You see your years littered with schooling, deadlines, stress and anxiety. You see yourself hunched over your desk late at night in your office when everyone else seems to have gone home and you are grinding out another hour or two of work to finish the presentation/report/project. You didn’t enjoy that late night with the ache in your belly from too much coffee, too little sleep, and the deep stress of a deadline. You didn’t enjoy the feeling of fearing for your job – wondering if you’d get reprimanded or fired if you didn’t finish the report to satisfaction or if you made a mistake. But you did it day after day, week after week, year after year because you had ambition.

Ambition to be somebody. Somebody special. Somebody who had a respectable career. Somebody who was in charge of things. Somebody who could have an impact on the world. Somebody who could change lives, change the industry, change the state of things.

Pushing pushing pushing. Late nights, long commutes, endless meetings. But it’s all for a good reason right?

I mean you have to have a job, right? You need to earn good money or you’ll end up on the street, right? How will you pay your bills without a job? What will happen to you? What will people think of you if you don’t have a good job? How embarrassing. What will you say at the family get together when they ask about your work and then you have to say you are a bagger at the grocery store and then they say, “But didn’t you go to law school?” And it will be terribly awkward and no one will know what to say next and then they’ll excuse themselves to get a drink or hit the bathroom. Or they’ll make a comment about the terrible state of the economy — anything to reduce the tension that results from you doing something that is unexpected for “someone like you.”

But what is it all for? Who told you that you have to get good grades, get into a good school, and get a good job? What does any of that even mean? What is the point? Is the purpose survival? If it’s about survival then you definitely can survive with little to nothing, as many of our brothers and sisters in developing countries show us every day.

Is it about making something of yourself? How can you possibly be better than the day you were born – fresh faced and innocent, absolutely pure, full of joy, wonderment, and awe at life itself. How could you possible become better?

Is it about changing the world and making an impact on others? Who can you change aside from your own self? Have you not tried in vain to change someone’s mind about politics or religion and seen that it is practically impossible to move someone else’s thoughts even an inch in any direction? The only person you can change is yourself. Perhaps try changing your inner world and making an impact on your own life for once.

I am just like you. I have strived for A+ grades since I was in kindergarten. Got a 4.0 GPA in high school. Voted to be VP of student council. Captain of the swim team. Made NCAAs. Graduated magna cum laude. Got an internship at MIT and a fellowship to grad school. Blah blah blah. Who gives a shit?

Do you really think anyone cares? Do I even care looking back on it all? I am absolutely grateful for my journey. It has led me to this moment, and as such it is all perfect. It is all a gift. A miracle. But any path, any history, would be an equal blessing and gift. To have lived even a moment in a body in this universe is the greatest gift there is. At this moment I am ready to thank my past, bless it, and release it. I am not my history. I am not what happened to me in the past. I am not my memories. I am shapeshifting in each moment, dreaming the next moment into existence. I am ready to return to my Source and my true nature. I am ready to journey back to the wonderment that I experienced as a child.

Are you with me? Are you sick of the striving, the go go go, and living your life to impress other people or to not stress them out or disappoint them? Your parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, your coach, your colleagues, that lady at church, your 6th grade teacher who believed in you, those people in that club you belong to, the other players on your team…why do they have more say about your life then you do?

How twisted is this world that we allow other people to dictate what is the right thing for us to do? The world that tells us how we should look, dress, vote, pray, work, shop, exercise, eat, talk, and think. That is fucking ridiculous. Time to pull on your big girl pants and take charge of your life. Grab your life by the fucking horns and steer the bull in the direction you feel like moving for a change. Better yet, be guided by your own inner knowing. That little voice that has been calling you, tugging at your heartstrings. The little voice that you have ignored for YEARS, maybe even decades. The voice that has told you to quit your job and do what you love. The voice that reminds you that life is too short to deal with all the bullshit and drama that you put up with. The voice that says do what you love, just be brave and do it. The voice that says stop worrying about what your mom will think of it. The voice that says you are worthy of life and love no matter what you do. The voice that says that you ARE love. The voice that says wow this world is pretty awesome I wish I looked at the stars more often.

How to get started moving from Ambition to Meaning?

1. Start by forgetting your past. Start by thanking everyone and everything that has happened to bring you to this point, reading these words. Think of the shittiest thing that has ever happened to you. Now thank the people involved for doing or saying whatever they did. Thank them for shaping you in some way to bring you to this moment. Without them doing or saying what they did, you would not be here. Their role was essential in getting you to this moment. If you cannot thank them for their role in getting you to where you are right now, then stop reading at this point, for you will never be able to return to your true nature without this awareness.

If there is any memory that sticks out as painful, too painful to remember with gratitude, then it is now time on your journey to heal that part of your mind. You must heal yourself and integrate that memory with a grateful heart in order to make peace with it and release it. Otherwise it will continue to skew your vision and make you see the world as lopsided, as you have seen it since that moment where your heart got injured. I don’t care if it takes you 5 years to make peace with that terrible incident, your shitty family, or the situation you were born into. Start that journey now or you will never be free and you will forever have a story about who you could’ve been if that thing didn’t happen to you that ruined your life. Don’t you want to be free from that story? Don’t you want the other life? The one that you tell yourself you could’ve had if things had been another way? Well you can have that life, even with the past you did have, but you’ve got to release the pain and victimhood around your memory. So make a choice – the life you want, or the shitty story you use to explain why you don’t have the life you want.

2. Start living in the present. Acknowledge that THIS IS IT.  This moment is IT. This may be your last breath before you have a massive heart attack and stroke that kills you. This may be the last breath before a nuclear bomb goes off and kills you. This may be your last breath before a sniper shoots at you through the window right next to you.

 

Yeah. Shit gets real when you realize that this is it. That this moment might be your last and that you wish you had had a better day. Boo hoo. You’ve had decades of moments in which to suck the marrow out of life and you politely declined because nice girls don’t do that sort of thing.

 

Well, consider this your wake up call. I hope you realize that you are lucky to be alive to read this next sentence. Stop surfing the internet and start living the life you want to live. Let go of everything that is not essential. Realize that nothing is essential and let go of it all. Do what you love. Follow your bliss. Give thanks for each breath, each moment, this amazing world that you are privileged to live in. Turn off your fucking computer and iPhone and get your life back. Release your obsession with trying to better yourself, with learning more, with worrying about things that will probably never happen, and your obsession with the future. Start being impractical, irrational, and overjoyed. Delight in life. Be Love. Be You.

 

Now seriously, tune into the fact that this is it, this little moment right now, and get your life back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to What should I do with my life? Moving from Ambition to Meaning
  1. Tricia Greaves Nelson
    October 1, 2012 | 7:17 am

    Love your passion, Meghan! And I can’t wait to share this with others…I have clients who struggle with “what to do with their lives” and this is a great message! Thanks!
    Tricia Greaves Nelson recently posted..5 Reasons People Don’t Recover from AddictionsMy Profile

  2. Anneleis
    October 3, 2012 | 9:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this article!! As a 19 year old girl, fresh from high school with so many possibilities ahead (and completely confused!), this is a great reminder to just do what I love. This touched on so many of my fears and brought me calm. I don’t have to impress anybody. That is so freeing!! Thank you! It’s so easy to forget that life is right now, and that enjoying it is what’s most important.

  3. Rebecca Skeele
    October 6, 2012 | 6:56 pm

    What an honest post, Meghan. Good for you. Yes we shift values in our lives…what used to motivate us, drive us, and push us along one day doesn’t make sense any longer. I love you are articulating one of those times. They are SO important in taking that deeper journey and following that quiet whisper in our life.
    Good post…well said.
    Rebecca Skeele recently posted..Virtual Symposium Video 3My Profile

  4. Michael
    October 7, 2012 | 4:11 pm

    As Tricia said, I do love your passion, but I’m not sure I totally “get” your position. I think that life is always a balance between ambition and meaning, not one or the other. Without ambition, we would all lie around watching TV all day with little regard for contributing to the world in any meaningful way. Without meaning, we would just be chasing after fame and fortune, oblivious to the carnage we leave behind. So, to really live a fulfilling life, I believe you need both, and they need to be in balance.

  5. Amethyst Wyldfyre
    October 16, 2012 | 8:33 pm

    Girl you are ON FIRE!!!! This is such a GREAT post – and I want to say that even when we finally do give up ambition for meaning – sometimes ambition sneaks in and rears it’s ugly head again. It’s sneaky!! Staying present is the very best way to let yourself really experience what you are here for. Smell the roses, savor the flavors of life, breathe in the fresh air and pay attention to what is really important and know that priorities do change over time. Love your Passion – stay true to you and keep writing!
    Amethyst Wyldfyre recently posted..Visionary Leadership Skills: Skunk Medicine Be Aware of What You Put Out There Part 3My Profile

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