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Discovering Your Purpose and Reaching Your Potential


“There are two great days in a person’s life—the day we are born and the day we discover why.” ~William Barclay

The word “capacity” has many definitions. It can be summarized as the maximum measure of innate potential and the ability to understand and demonstrate one’s optimal capability and power in a specified role.

Ultimately, capacity is your gauge of purpose and potential. How much is in you? How much are you utilizing, and how much is untapped?

The capacity of a storage item—how much it can hold—depends upon size, depth, sturdiness, adaptability, and intended purpose.

These ideas are relevant to us in determining how we can fulfill the true longing of our hearts, continue to push the limits of our fears, and boldly meet our own capabilities for living well.

Size is the expanse of our dreams and visions for our lives—the boundaries we see or do not. Depth is the infiniteness of our soul’s desires and our connection to something deeper.

Sturdiness pertains to the strength of our resolution and integrity—the beliefs that sustain us in spite of everything. Adaptability is how willingly we are to follow our own paths and deal with uncharted territory.

An intended purpose—that’s when we know without a doubt what we believe we were made to do. Then it’s not a matter of how, but rather how soon.  How soon will you wait to step into this perfect fit, this divine capacity?

It’s a funny thing about purpose: Once you know it truly and completely, you are invincible, because no one can stop you from living your design.  It is your birthright, your gift from and to the universe and to humanity.

Six years ago, my current life and future destiny collided in a classroom at the University of Southern California. Sitting amidst my collegiate peers, I listened to a graduate student speaking about a career in occupational therapy.

To most, including me, it was your typical professional spiel, and I must admit that I listened halfheartedly at best.  It wasn’t until about a year later, stalled by circumstance, that I found my way back to that memory.

In revisiting the topic with a new mindset, I saw what I had missed before. Before me was a golden opportunity to serve my distinct purpose in this world. I was fortunate enough this second time around to have the clarity, courage, and wherewithal to step out of my life and re-route.

That was when I realized that occupational therapy was my calling.

The reflection on my own capacity came to me one morning as I plugged my iPod into my computer.  It was only 1/8th full, revealing a vast and seemingly endless potential for media storage.

I wondered how often we walk around like our iPods—either underutilizing our potential for wisdom, love, passion, and desire, choosing to operate at only a small fraction of our capacity; or perhaps, even worse, unaware that in harnessing and storing the right information, we can learn to maximize our lives to fulfill our potential and promise.

What I came to realize is that, despite everything, capacity itself is not flexible. Rather, it is determined and measured in relation to what goes in, how much space things take up, and how much is left for everything else.

This means that no matter how much potential we have holding on to the right things, by holding on to the wrong things, we take up vital space and give the illusion of limitations.

Unfortunately, we have all fallen victim to external viewpoints, social pressures, public opinion, and private criticisms. We allow those thoughts to inhabit our minds, often leaving us feeling exhausted, drained, and far below a functional capacity for this life and its challenges.

We are left drowning in the negative self-talk, stuck among the constant comparisons and envy, the “why me” questions, the stifling fears, and the seemingly paralyzing self-doubt.  All these things ultimately deplete our energy and keep us stuck in dissatisfaction.

We must understand that our whispering instincts and subtle longings can create a surplus of love and passion if we learn to listen to them.

We must recognize the things, people, and situations that rob us of our ability to do more and invest more.

We must give ourselves permission to let go—to release the people and things that hold us back and cloud our minds, hearts, and souls with inefficient thoughts, behaviors, and energies.

And we must instead embrace self-love, wisdom, hope, passion, beauty, creativity, and simplicity so that we may determine our true capacity and live life to the fullest.

Happiness results when an understanding of intention and design meets a commitment to living out that purpose.

Then we can just allow the knowledge that this is what we we’re made for to guide our hearts, souls, thoughts, and hands.

When we understand our talents and potential and follow our internal compass, it’s a lot easier to stay self-assured when dealing with challenges.

I see this so clearly now as I look back on that life-changing and decisive moment.  Two years into my career as a pediatric Occupational Therapist, working daily with children with Autism, I know that I am operating at full capacity.

My work fills me with unbounded love, joy, and passion, and it constantly challenges my perspective on the world.

I have no doubt that I can continue to make my mark on this world if I continue to follow my intuition and passions. We are all in the midst of a journey, and it is never too late to turn around, re-calculate, and pursue what you believe to be your destiny.

So I ask you: Are you limiting yourself or operating at full capacity? If not, where does your heart lead you, and what steps can you take today to start heading there?

Photo by manicmaya

Avatar of Jazmin Treadway

About Jazmin Treadway

Jazmin Treadway is a 26-year-old Pediatric Occupational Therapist currently working in Modesto, CA. Visit her website at http://jazzy26.xanga.com.

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  • http://lookingtobusiness.com Daniel Wood

    Finding your life purpose is amazing. When I started seeing the different parts of it coming together for me it was very powerfull.

    I have always been considered a good coach and teacher, I have always had a financial interest, I have always loved to help people and I have always had a thirst for knowledge. For me this has shown me that I should and need to work in personal development and helping people succeed.

    I learned a great exercise a while back from Steve Pavlina on how to find your true purpose:

    Get an empty piece of paper and start writing down your life purpose in one sentence.

    Write it over and over again, highlight the ones that draw out an emotional response.

    Use these to keep writing new ones. After about 100 (do at least 100) you will find your purpose and it will reduce you to tears (of happiness).

  • Juanitarn76

    Thank you so much for your post–I needed it today.

  • Jtreadwa

    My pleasure. So happy I could help. Best of luck!!

  • Jessicamathias

     ohhh jazzy… i think we all needed this today!! and every day! :)  love it!

  • Arushibafna

      my exams just got over..n after a break of few weeks, i return to this site n read ur post…wow, what better return i could hav asked for, especially when one has a clouded mind.. God always have ways to help one..and your post, really did opened up another gateway, pointed out where i was stuck … Thank you so much.. God Bless you . 

  • http://tlausser.com/blog tlausser

    Thanks for this post. Well said: “When we understand our talents and potential and follow our internal compass, it’s a lot easier to stay self-assured when dealing with challenges.”

    This post resonated with me. Two years ago I made a decision to follow my dreams and go on an adventure of a lifetime: To cycle from Alaska to Patagonia and climb the highest mountain of every country along the way (panamericanpeakscom). There was a lot of doubt and naysaying from family and friends, but I gave myself permission to go. I am so happy I did, as it helped me realize my potential in so many ways. The knowledge that you have done or are doing something exciting, following your inner compass, is very satisfying and gives you an inner peace that is priceless. 

  • Jtreadwa

    This makes me so happy! There is absolutely nothing I love more than affirming my own life and the lives of others with hopeful and inspiring words. So glad I could help and God bless you too!

  • Jtreadwa

    Thanks Kika! :)

  • Jtreadwa

    Love this. Thanks for sharing Daniel!

  • DebJ

    @0df7a2dee2708b702f7a9c6488735348:disqus  Beautifully written and inspiring. After reading your story, I was pleasantly surprised to see that you are a mere 26 ~ how wonderful to have such a rich awakening and so much wisdom at your tender young age. Best wishes for success and happiness as you continue to live to your potential. And, keep writing – you have more than one gift to share.

  • sarah

    What a beautiful post! Thank you! 

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant!  BRAVO!  For me, happiness is the acceptance of who I am, exactly as I am today.  But I also revel in my potential, my future.  

  • Lavinia

     This is actually extremely well thought out. 

  • http://twitter.com/sriniovasan srinivasan sankar

     a well crafted and well written piece! 

    Thanks
    srini

  • Jtreadwa

    Thank you :)

  • Jtreadwa

    Thank you so so much for your encouraging words Deb.  Writing is truly emerging as such a vital and joyous passion of mine and I am honored to be able to share my insights.  Best wishes to you as well :)

  • Jtreadwa

    What an incredible journey and congratulations on following your heart and pursuing that passion of yours.  That reminds me of a favorite quote of mine “Boldness has magic and power in it” -Goethe.  There is absolutely no greater gift than to feel as though you are truly living and thriving in this world.  We all have a purpose to serve and it is up to us to search ruthlessly until we discover it.  Then the fun begins ;)

  • Jtreadwa

    Thank you Srini!

  • Jtreadwa

    Amen! :)

  • Jtreadwa

    Thanks Sarah! So glad you liked it. :)

  • Barry

    Jazmin  you have been truly bless with a beautiful gift for writing. Your words are very inspiring keep up the good work and stay bless.

  • http://www.lisadnyc.com Lisa D.

    Very Well written and I totally agree with you.  “If you don’t do what your heart wants you to do, it can destroy you.” Fulfilling your purpose is what life is all about!  Thanks again for your wisdom.

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    I had a moment, almost a year ago, where suddenly it dawned on me that I was supposed to be a therapist.  It was completely out of the blue, not triggered by anything that I was aware of… just a light bulb turning on (I could physically FEEL the moment when the thought came to me–it was so strange).  I knew without a doubt that that was my “calling”.  The funniest thing was when I told my close friend whom I’ve known since we were both 8 years old.  I told her, “I’m going to go back to school” and she almost cut me off and said, “are you going to be a therapist?”.  It was as clear to her as it was to me, I guess!  It’s funny how we sometimes have to wait for the right place in our lives before we’re receptive to certain messages.  I’m just glad I was able to receive mine, because I’ve waited for years to know what I wanted to be when I grew up!

    Great piece, Jazmin–thank you so much for sharing it here.

  • Jtreadwa

    Hey Alannah! That’s awesome and I absolutely agree that half the battle is being up for the challenge and taking the first steps when the realization comes.  I wish you all the best on your journey and thank you for the kind words- they definitely mean a lot :)