Crafting an Authentic and Purposeful Life

I’m excited to bring this guest post from Amber Strocel of Crafting My Life (Amber has written here before). I hope you like her message and steps for creating purpose in your life. These topics are near and dear to me as I continue to work towards a freelance writing career (about 20% of the way there!). If you are interested in career or life change this year her book and e-course are a great kick start.

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t have a single answer; my aspirations changed from moment to moment, depending on my mood and what book I was reading and what the weather was like that day. I was young, and the world was filled with possibilities – I saw no need to confine myself to just one. All the same, if you asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I always had an answer.

The years passed, as they do, and I found myself in my mid-30s, living in the suburbs with my husband and two children. One day, as I considered the question of what I most wanted to do with my life, I realized I didn’t have an answer. Somewhere along the way I had lost that sense of possibility, and forgotten how to dream.

Me, in the green

What do you Really Want to Do?

As adults, we often spend so much time worrying about all of the things we should do, that we never pause to ask ourselves what we want to do. Oh, sure, maybe we think about the clothes we want to buy or the trips we want to take or the house we want to live in, but that’s not the same. When we spend time thinking about the stuff that we want, we’re not focused on the things that really bring us joy or help us feel as if we’ve found our purpose. We’re focused on the things we use to distract ourselves because we haven’t found our purpose.

How do you find your purpose, though? It’s a big question. What’s more, there isn’t a single answer or method that will work for everyone. We’re all different people, with different dreams, and we’ll all uncover and pursue them in different ways. But there are some basic tools you can use to help you live a life of greater intention. The best part is that you don’t need a lot of time or money to do it – you just need a willingness to do some exploring, and take some risks.

Solstice Celebration Lantern Festival

Tools to Help you Find your Purpose

  1. Take Stock: When you’re trying to figure out where you’re going, it’s a good idea to start by figuring out where you are. If your life were a map, this would be the little dot labelled “You Are Here”. Ask yourself what is and isn’t working for you in your life, what resources you have at your disposal, and who you have in your corner.
  2. Seek Out Inspiration: When you want to create change in your life, searching out inspiration can help fuel your dreams and get you motivated. Read some biographies of famous people you admire, listen to music you love or see a great movie. Use the momentum you create to explore your own dreams.
  3. Create Space: If you’re a minimalist, you know how great it feels to get rid of all the clutter in you life. As you do it, you’re freeing up space you can use to pursue your dreams. Creating space doesn’t just have to mean getting rid of stuff, though. You can also go of commitments that aren’t working, or intentionally add things that inspire you, like great art.
  4. Cut Yourself Slack: When you start a new project, you often feel really energetic. But then something happens, your schedule slips, and you start feeling discouraged. You may even give up entirely. Remember, though, that this is your life. It can happen on your schedule, and on your own terms, and it’s okay to make adjustments as you go.
  5. Share your Dreams: Help is everywhere. If you tell people what you’re doing, you’ll be surprised by what they have to offer. A casual acquaintance may have just the connection you need, for example. Even if it feels scary, it’s important to use your voice and share your dreams with the wider world.

Crafting my Life

Crafting my Life Playbook I have been on a personal journey to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life for almost three years now. I am happy to say that if you asked me today what I want to be when I grow up, I would have answers. Lots and lots of answers. One of those answers is help other people figure out what they want to do with their lives. The seeds of that desire to help grew into Crafting my Life. Crafting my Life is a set of online tools for busy moms who want to live a life of greater intention and purpose. It’s targeted to moms because we have some special constraints in our lives. It’s hard for us to get out of the house to take classes or spend time by ourselves. Crafting my Life is something that you can do on your own schedule, at your own pace, without ever having to leave your house.

I’ve found my answer. As I said before, we’re all individuals. Your answer may be similar, or it may be totally different. That’s as it should be. The important thing is that we’re all free to find those answers for ourselves. So, tell me – what do you want to be when you grow up?

Amber Strocel is a writer, life-crafter, dreamer, and rather shoddy housekeeper who lives in the Vancouver area with her husband and two kids. She’s devoted to simplifying and living a more sustainable life. She helps moms follow their bliss at Crafting my Life, records her daily adventures on her blog, and works as the Content Manager for

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  • Both myself and my husband know what we really want to do, we found our purpose(s) and we are in the middle of crafting our life/lives. This means we are both in major career-change as well as living out our minimalism more radically. (No bin (we reuse or recycle most things), 4-week-menu plan, only shopping for clothes twice a year, using all natural materials for cleaning etc.) In general we are much happier than we were in our ‘old’ suburban life. Yet, it is hard. I feel, that even though following your dreams is good, people need to think twice before the embark on any radical ‘life crafting’.

    ps Unless you have lots of supporting family around, a rich husband or win the lottery! :)

    • Good luck to you, Apple. I have been really fortunate that Chris makes enough to support us (after paying off debt and scaling back our lifestyle). I’m using this time at home to try and make a go of the freelancing
      and writing.

      PS. Funny, I used to play the lottery once a month but since we got out of debt I never play it. I think it’s a good sign. Not daydreaming about what might be but trying to live in today.

  • Hi Amber – thank you for this post, it comes at a good time for me. I was very career driven in my 20’s then as children came on the scene in my 30’s everything started to change. Not overnight, but there was a massive shift (and culture shock) from ‘me’ to ‘we’. Now I’m closer to 40 than 30 what I thought I wanted and what I now know I want are very different. What it took for me was to learn who I was rather than who I ‘should’ be (similar to your ‘should do’ scenario). I’m starting to feel at peace. Jo

  • At the age of 28 I woke up and started to realize that I was living the life that I was supposed to live, according to our society’s norms. I dropped out for a couple years to find my passion – and I found the first of others. Now, at 44 with three small children, I have discovered other passions (as a financial executive for over 20 years, I recently discovered that I love to write). I’m working on how to integrate all my passions now.

    Overall, what do I want to be when I grow up? The online version of Oprah – someone who is fabulously successful at making other people incredibly successful. I think we’re all placed on this earth to help and support others. We just have to find our own unique way(s) of expressing that.

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