In life, it’s human to fall down; the magic happens when we get back up.
—Grant Korgan, founder of Choose Positivity Now
Purpose and Connection
This principle is probably my most open-ended and flexible. In order to soar in life, you must have connections to people in your life and a purpose that drives you. For me, my connections are to my husband, my children, my patients, and even my community. I’ve only recently discovered my purpose to help others gain health and wellness, even through illness and injury. You really must discover what your own purpose and connection is. There is no scientific data set that can measure what this is or should be and what it means to you.
Often, discovering what makes you soar requires effort, self-exploration, connecting with new people, trial and error, and often an adverse life event. You don’t have to have tragedy to find purpose and connection, but if you don’t look for it, you will never find it. If you are lucky, your job may be, in part, how you find purpose and connection, but it doesn’t have to be that either. Most of the people in my life who I see soaring have, in fact, found a way to find purpose and connection in the job they do.
Let me share a few stories that demonstrate how trying to avoid connection with people leads to unrest and another about tragedy resulting in finding one’s purpose.
Raising three young children using these four KISS principles has revolutionized my parenting. At the beginning of our health journey, we made dramatic changes. At that point, I began to realize that although this all made sense and was supported by research (for years and years and years it has been supported), the world wasn’t changing as rapidly as our family’s transition was. At the time of writing this book, the paleo diet is still considered a fad, despite it actually being a movement of health-seeking behavior. My children’s school still offers processed high-carbohydrate foods for snack and lunch. Gatorade and Ring Pops are sold at the Little League snack bars along with Slushees. In school, they still teach the food pyramid in the form of a plate despite all the research to the contrary. There is still a lack of movement tolerated in the classroom, not to mention the loss of daily PE despite the WHO recommendations of one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate to rigorous activity during the week. The middle school students start school at the ungodly hour of 7:00 a.m. requiring 6:00 a.m. bus rides to school. This is a terrible disruption of the circadian rhythm.
At one point, I considered, for like a nanosecond, that maybe I should homeschool my children. That isn’t my personality, to be honest, but more importantly, we would have lost the connection with all the kid’s friends, the other families, and even the wonderful teachers who truly have gifts that I do not have.
A friend of mine, Leah, a mother of four, shared a story about a friend who homeschooled her four children. Leah’s friend chose homeschooling for reasons similar to those I indicated. Over time, she began participating in group activities that included other homeschooled children. In an effort to avoid the stress of being a part of public school system (working with others, dealing with conflicting information, and the chaos), she formed a homeschool network through Facebook. What I find most interesting here is the fact that she was trying to avoid all the chaos and conflict of public school, yet the reality was that even removing herself from the public arena, she still felt driven to broaden her connections to more people. This is not a statement about whether I agree with homeschooling or whether public school is adequate; it is simply stating that connection to people is critical to being able to soar. Even the most introverted individual has to have people in his or her life, trust me, as a self-discovered introvert who loves many people, just in small doses. This same friend, Leah, has seen me need a nap at a large conference with hundreds of people, yet I learned there and enjoyed myself tremendously.
Now, let’s look at a story of purpose. Grant Korgan is a local Reno, Nevada, inspiration. He suffered a tragic spinal cord injury in 2010 while snowmobiling in the backcountry. He has written a book, Two Feet Back, that details his life around the injury. Grant found his life’s purpose, to inspire others to believe in the power of positivity, in the face of this tragedy. He and his wife, Shawna Korgan, travel the world to inspire others. You can find more about their inspirational story at choosepositivitynow.com. It is an amazing thing to experience, when someone has discovered his or her purpose. Whether or not he needed the tragedy to discover his purpose, we will never know. I certainly hope not. But for him, it was the spark.
For each of us, the spark to discover our purpose may take time, an event, a tragedy, or simply luck. Finding purpose is what matters most.
There is no recipe for how to soar on in your own life, but it will require purpose and connection. Never fear, though. If all you do is keep connecting to life, the earth, and people, you will be closer to finding purpose. You will never find your purpose if you never look for it.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove fear of failure.
Replace with willingness to try something new. Make a new friend. Join a new club. Try out a new church. Connect to nature, the earth. Join a nonprofit organization. Help another in need, a friend or even a stranger.
Restore life and soar.
Eat well. Move well. Sleep well. Soar on.
Find more on how to soar in Soar Into Health.
Photo Credit: Colin Nicolai
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.