on mission

Recently someone said to me:

Ruth, you need to figure out what you want to do with your career.

It was matter-of-fact, and the directive gave me pause. I couldn’t decide if it was a statement of encouragement or admonishment.  Either way, these words tumbled through my brain and clunked around my heart.

Truth be told, they’re still punching my guts.

Figure out what you want…

Fundamentally, I’m not sure it’s something I believe is mine to do. Maybe it’s not up to me to figure out what I want. Maybe what’s mine to do is to show up where I’m positioned and give all I have to offer.

If I keep trying to get things right, then I miss the living right in front of me. Perfectionism comes at a high cost. It’s why I decided to become a recovering perfectionist.

To become a recovering perfectionist, there are things one must pretend to know. For example, one might pretend to know how to relax. One might pretend to know how to let things go. One might pretend to know that things will be okay if not on time.

Lately, I’ve not had to pretend quite so much, because I’ve been learning to be okay with living my mission.

Years ago I gave it a name…

Honestly, I didn’t really know what it meant, but I sure liked the sound of it. Sometimes the sound of things is enough for my writer soul to pursue it. I started tugging on the idea, seeing if I could unravel the meaning of Mission Story. I delivered a keynote based on the idea and have tagged 177 blog posts.

Often I unravel meaning by weaving words.

I don’t need to figure out what I’m going to do with my career, because I’ve already determined how I’m going to live my life.

 I’m living Mission Story.

It’s not streamlined; Story is organic. It is alive, constantly changing and adapting. It is unwritten. It’s unfolding moments making days unfurling into months and seasons and years.

It doesn’t go how it’s suppose to go; Story is unpredictable. It’s intertwined with others and together we move forward.

Because I trust Story, I don’t need to figure out what I want to do. Instead, I collect and curate and connect the stories entrusted to me.

The important thing is I don’t give up. As I hold firm to Mission Story, I see things more clearly. The ordinary, nearly insignificant moments that pile together to make a day are my most valued treasures.

 I’m living Mission Story.

I believe in this wild and precious Story I’m living, and I know it is worthy. So no matter how blurry the world looks or how busy I think things are or how counterintuitive my decisions seem, it all comes down to one mission —

Mission Story.

I find significance in story. I find magic in moments posing as meaningless. I seek these bits and write them down. This is my mission — to find significance in story and inspire others to do the same.

It’s not the sort of mission that marches with dominance across the top of a resume. It’s not really a mission to support a career.

It’s a good thing I don’t really want a career.
I want to live a good story.
And inspire others to do the same.

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  1. I'm glad you're living your story, Ruth. Each day lived is what we do when we don't want to miss the good moments of our lives. You are inspiring me, and I'm grateful. Have a wonder of a day today!

  2. This post really resonated with me. So many lines popped out, like “Often I unravel meaning by weaving words.” and “I find magic in moments posing as meaningless.” Wow! As Linda said, this is an inspiring post and it's one I'll be thinking more about. Thanks so much for writing and sharing it!

  3. So many sentences to love in this post: “I collect and curate and connect the stories entrusted to me.” Thanks for the stories you share with us. Ant hen your mission statement: “This is my mission — to find significance in story and inspire others to do the same.” Your mission is a worthy one and your writing propels me to share my stories too.