Many years ago I wrote a blog about passion and purpose. In the last blog, I stated I would share with you some of my past in nursing and the lessons I have learned about health. For all of us one of the important things about health is living out your purpose. In many articles I have read about centenarians, those who live to 100, one of the things they believe enhances long health is waking up everyday with a sense of purpose. Therefore, understanding the “why” and the purpose of our existence is important. It will help us through the stress of life and we may have better direction when we have a focus. The blog below gives some insight into my own journey of understanding my purpose and I hope it will help you realize your own journey in finding yours.

Blog from 8/16/2016

I sense we are in a time of significant change it feels like I should get use to things not being the same.  The longer I live, the more I see I must let go of the past.  As a Gen Xer, I grew up in a time of great transition.  I remember no PCs, cell phones, cable/satellite TV, automated cars, microwaves, etc.  The growth of technology has significantly changed our world.  The amount of information that is available is tremendous and sometimes very overwhelming and stressful to have access to too much information.  However, with this technology and ability to research and gather data there are many beliefs which also appear to change. 

I have seen this week alone articles on the benefits of flossing to be false and that frequently changing passwords actually may hinder security verses improving it.  What does a person do with all of this change and all of the information that causes this change?  What we thought was true is not really true at all.  How do we decipher the information to understand truth from deception?  It all seems so complicated.  I am starting to be open to things not being as I thought. However, it has to be based on some science, accurate research and empirical data.  I am not one to believe a change in a concept or thought just because you said it or you believe it. 

I am not the one to jump on the “popular” bandwagon.  I have experienced many times how wrong thinking has affected my decisions.  When I learned better, then I did better.  I do not believe we get all the correct information we need as children or throughout our life.  Some information is passed down through tradition and culture.  This does not make it true; it just makes it acceptable to the person who received it.  When everyone else is doing it, then it must be right. If it was not someone would say something, right?  Maturity will show you that you are responsible for your won belief and value system.

How you interpret the overload of knowledge is very important.  Understanding what you think and why you believe it is vital because good and bad decisions are made from this information.  One thing I have been dealing with recently is understanding my purpose.  I know God created me for a reason.  Therefore, I need to specifically know what my purpose is so I can make sure I am on track.  After 40, you realize you have lived more in the past than you will live in the future and this becomes sobering.  It becomes extremely important so you don’t waste any more time. 

In my reading, I saw an article which mentioned that learning purpose rather than indentifying your passion is more important to being satisfied with your life.  However, much of what is being stated is “find your passion and everything else follows”.  Yet it actually is find your purpose and then you will become passionate in what you do.  It seems like a small thing but it is actually requires a huge mindset change (paradigm shift).  When you only concentrate on passion, when life get tough or you do not feel “happy” anymore then you quit or search for something else which feeds your passion. 

However, when you look for purpose and the why of your existence then you will not quit or make a course change.  Purpose keeps you focused because you realize without it you will lose your passion.  Purpose allows you to be in places, take jobs which you may not truly be passionate about.  However, in those things you stick with it when you have identified your purpose for being there.  So far in my journey, I have learned this all too well as a nurse.  When I began nursing, I was very passionate about my career in the hospital setting (ICU).  I did not look to be in any other place.  But I lost my passion after too many twelve hour shifts, schedule changes and holidays worked.  And I lost my passion as I saw too much crisis, sadness and death.  The stress of it all burned me out because I worked in areas where you could not necessarily fix everything.

But with this loss of passion, it made me look for purpose.  I could not imagine not being a nurse, especially after spending four years in college and studying aggressively to pass the nursing boards.  I had struggled while in college with a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease and having a pituitary tumor surgically removed.  This all happened while pursuing my Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree.  I could not go through all of that just to say I quit because I lost my passion.  I began to look for the “why”.  Why did I become a RN? 

In reflecting on this, I saw maybe my motives were not all pure.  Yes, I wanted to help people but I know it was a career where I would always have a job.  I suppose that is not a completely selfish reason to choose a profession.  But it will not get you through the hard times.  When I looked at the why then I looked at the grown up things.  When I entered college, I was the ripe old age of 17.  In all honesty, at this point in my life, my focus was on getting a degree because I needed a job where I could support myself.  My focus was on growing up and becoming an adult. Therefore, I was not looking to understand what I did in life could impact the world in some way. 

However, a loss of passion makes you look at things differently.  You gain a new perspective. Sometimes the light bulb comes on quickly but sometimes it takes years.  For me it required searching and continually seeking out new opportunities.  I had to do different things in order to see where I fit. In nursing, there is a greater opportunity to do this.  In the 1990’s, the health care industry was in great turmoil and transition, as well as dealing with the technology and information boom. Out of this came new job opportunities for nurses as skill sets were being reviewed.

Nurses were not maids, bed pan givers, or bath washers but they were critical thinkers with vital assessment skills.  They were health educators.  They were holistic in their view of planning care for a family.  Nurses are the central piece in health care because without them it all falls apart.  If all nurses when on strike what would happen?  It would not be good.  Yes, a team is needed and nursing does not work in a vacuum but they are also a vital part of the team as a coordinator of care.  With this understanding arising, I was able to try different things which involved my nursing skills but were out of the hospital setting. 

When I became involved with Health Coaching, my journey began to make sense.  After years of going through all aspects from intensive care, emergency medicine, GI/Outpatient surgery, public health/home health, and wellness/preventive health nursing, I saw the best and the worst.  I had personal experience with seeing how living an unhealthy lifestyle lands you in a critical care bed.  I saw without proper health education and compassionate health coaching one’s healing process can be affected.  I was able to see that information can be given but without help in processing it or using it in practical application the information is of no use. 

When I realized I had a gift to help people understand the health information they were getting and how to use it, then I became passionate about nursing again.  I realized I did not necessarily need to be at the bedside when my purpose was to make sure they did not get in the hospital bed in the first place.  However, through my hospital experience I had a unique perspective on how unhealthy lifestyle choices can have devastating consequences.  This is not to say all hospitalizations are related to lifestyle choices because there is a concept that “life happens”.  However, being a RN Health coach and having access to health information and research, lifestyle behaviors play a big part.  My nursing knowledge and skill help me show compassion and empathy for people.  I do not judge where they are, I just show compassion so they can get to a better place.  A place of better life quality and success.  This is my purpose; therefore, it has become my passion.  Which is to show people the way to a healthy lifestyle.

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