The Power of Purpose

by Anna Peterson Macsalka

Here I sit looking back at 2020 (and even the first part of 2021), the blur of tragedies, challenges, and hard lessons learned seems blinding.  But through the fog, I can still see the sporadically sprinkled, tiny bits of magical moments I had with my kids, my husband, and with Zenimal that I wouldn’t give up for anything.  Incredibly bittersweet.  

Without witnessing these challenges, I’m not sure I would have been so driven to seek out more meaning in all of it.  Which is what lead me to create a partnership with the Precious Dreams Foundation despite Zenimal still being in its infancy.  I was so consumed with how my own kids were faring, until I realized there are thousands of children in homeless shelters and foster care facing the same scary world-- alone.  Utterly alone. Talk about a shift in perspective.

I think for the last few years I’ve been treating Zenimal like a racehorse without any real “big picture” purpose.  Eat, sleep, go as fast as possible in a short amount of time, repeat.  I’m realizing it’s time for us to slow down, switch gears, and start cultivating something more meaningful.  Much like a workhorse from this point forward, we’ll plow a field with our strength and dedication to what matters so we can plant things that will give back in the biggest ways possible for years to come. This is how we will find our new joy.  This is how we will make a difference.  Hard work where it’s needed most.

An article in Inc. reported on a 27-year study that showed the secret to living a happier life was “working and living with a sense of purpose and meaning.”  That’s it.  One thing.  The piece goes on to outline 8 questions you can ask yourself to help find your purpose, but I think the simple key is to do something to help someone or something other than yourself.  It could be as small as picking up trash in your neighborhood or volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of America to something massive like starting your own foundation.  Start small, do it for a short period of time once a week for a few weeks and see how you feel.  If you start to feel a little lighter and more content, you know you’re on the right path—welcome to the party!  If not, don’t give up, keep exploring what lights that fire for you.  It’s out there, I promise.

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