About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can (www.thinkyoucan.net) and Rich Chicks (www.richchicks.org) both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.

30 Wrap Up and Where to Go From Here

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve come to the end of our 30 Day Living With Purpose Challenge. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? I hope you’ve enjoyed our little journey towards living a more intentional and purpose-driven life as much as I have. More importantly, I hope these daily blog posts have inspired some serious thought and discussion.

We have covered a lot of ground over the past 30 Days–everything from your relationships to meditation. Don’t let the learning and exploration  stop!  Click here for blog posts

The next question is of course where you go from here. Frankly, it’s up to you. I’ve given you a lot of ideas, tools, and suggestions to craft a more purposeful life for yourself and your loved ones. What you do with that information is up to you. I hope you’ve been following along, doing a lot of thinking, and have started to implement. I encourage you to continue on this journey. Keep bringing more meaning and purpose into your life. Keep reading, keep learning, and keep on making progress.

 

29 Your Legacy: What Do You Want to Be Remembered for?

So here’s an interesting question for you: What do you want to be remembered for when you’re gone? This strategy takes a little courage, since no one likes to contemplate his or her own demise, but if you decide to take a shot at it, you may surprise yourself by ending up with a much clearer view of how you want your life to look. Since our life on this beautiful earth is limited, it’s only natural that we want to leave some sort of legacy.

Living a purpose-driven life makes this a lot easier. You know what you want to accomplish and what impact you want to have on your family, your loved ones, your friends, your community, and the world at large. If that sounds a little overwhelming right now, don’t let it intimidate you. You’ll get there. Living with purpose starts small for most of us and grows exponentially as we notice the effect we can have on those around us when we start to live intentionally and with an open heart.

Even small changes and accomplishments are worth celebrating. Raising your children well is an amazing feat and a wonderful legacy to leave behind in the world. Or maybe you will be remembered for the small community garden you started that will long outlive you and show others how tasty and rewarding it can be to grow carrots and tomatoes.

As you start to live with more purpose, you may get to a point where you’re wondering what else you can do. You may be asking yourself how you can help people around you and how you can make the world a better place. Asking yourself what you want to be remembered for and what your legacy will be is a great way to figure that out.

Here’s a little exercise you can do today. Get out a piece of paper or use this worksheet Write your Own Obituary and write down what you would like your eulogy to be. It will condense what you want to be remembered for and what values are important to you. Set it aside for a little while, then come back and read it. As you do so, compare it to the life you’re leading right now. What do you need to change? What do you need to work on to make sure your life aligns with how you want to be remembered? That’s your game plan. It may take a while and it may change over time, and that’s okay.

What’s important is that we live our short lives with purpose and make the most of the years we’re given on this earth. Remind yourself of this and live a life full of things that you’ll be proud to be remembered for.

28 Your Purpose May Evolve and Change as You Do… And That’s Ok

I’m sure throughout this challenge you’ve been thinking a lot about living with purpose and what that means to you right now. You’re living more intentionally already and are changing things here and there to better align with your purpose. You may even discover your big passion and your calling and working towards making that happen. That’s great, but there’s something we haven’t talked about much. It’s that we all grow and change as time goes by. And with that our purpose may change.

For example, let’s say you’re a mother with small children. Right now, living with purpose may mean spending as much time as possible raising your kids. That may mean becoming a stay at home mom, working only part time, or working from home. That’s great, but don’t feel like that can’t change as time goes by. A few years from now, the kids will all be in school and you may find yourself with more time on your hands. It’s perfectly fine to switch focus and get back into your career or try something completely new. Things change and evolve. You change and evolve. Your purpose may evolve as well and that’s perfectly normal.

That’s why it’s a good idea to occasionally take some time and think about what’s important to you and make sure you’re still living a purpose-driven life based on your current values and ideals. It’s okay to change and adjust if things no longer feel like a good fit. While it’s something you can do “on the fly” as you move through your days and weeks, it is also helpful to stop every few months and take time to really think about this.

We are creatures of habit and will often stick to a plan, an idea, or a routine because that’s how we’ve always done it or out of a desire to tough it out. While that’s admirable and there’s certainly a time and place for this, it’s also good to take some time to reflect and examine what you’re doing.

You want to live your life intentionally and with purpose. That means you should always take time on a regular basis to make sure what you’re doing is a good fit and the best way to live purposefully. If it is, great… carry on. If it isn’t, make some changes until what you do aligns with your purposes and values.

27 Your Loved Ones Will Benefit from A Purpose Driven Life

In yesterdays’ post we talked about how we can use our communities to have permanent positive change by living a purpose driven life. Those changes can be small or large, and they all add up. We can make a difference. Today I want to take a look at the impact living a purpose driven life can have on the people you care most about.

You Set a Good Example

The most powerful thing about living your life with purpose is that you are setting a good example for those around you. Trust me, your kids are watching. Your spouse or significant other is noticing what you’re doing. So are your family and friends. Living a purpose-driven life can be quite contagious. Start and see how much of an effect you can have on those around you.

In other words, not only will they benefit from what you do directly (by being more attentive and patient for example, or making an effort to spend more quality time with people important to you), they also benefit by being encouraged to live a more purposeful life themselves.

You’re More Confident in Yourself

As you start to live with purpose and see the impact even small acts can have you’re gain more confidence in yourself. As you gain self-confidence, you start to feel more comfortable in your skin. You’re making a difference and live with purpose. This in turn makes you a more confident parent, spouse, and friend. Your loved ones will benefit because you are no longer busy second guessing yourself. You take massive action that benefits everyone.

You’re Happier and More Fulfilled

One of the big reasons self-confidence is so important is that it is directly linked with how happy you feel. Add to that the fact that living a life with purpose is very fulfilling and it’s no wonder that you are happier and more content! All this in turn will make you a kinder and better person overall. Living a purpose driven life makes you a better parent, a better spouse, a better coworker and a better friend. It has a positive impact on all the people who are close to you and who have an important part in your life. Use this as motivation and encouragement on those days when things get hard and you’re ready to give up. Don’t let them or yourself down.

26 Living with Purpose is About Serving Your Community

One of the most eye-opening experiences for me when I started to live with purpose was that life is about so much more than just me in my little bubble. Living a full and meaningful life means being part of a community and serving it in a variety of ways. Let’s look at a few of them.

Your Inner Circle

The first community you encounter and the one you spent most of your time in is your very own inner circle. By living more purposefully and more intentional, you’ll have the most influence on this one. It’s your inner circle that’s compromised of your family and close friends. These are the people you spent the most time with. It may also include your coworkers. This is the community you should focus on first. Start making a difference with the people you’re closest too.

Your Local Community

Your next step will be your local community. It’s amazing how much change you can affect here when you put your mind to it. Let’s say you want to live a life where you’re more aware of the impact you have on your environment. You shop local, recycle and reuse more at home. From there you can branch out into your local community and encourage positive change. Start a community garden and encourage people to recycle more. Get involved with community policy that’s focused on environmental efforts. Join the organizations that are present in your own local community.

Finding Your Niche In The Global Community

One of the amazing things of being alive today is how connected we are. The internet, mass communication, and fast travel make it possible to connect with people from all around the world. We all do it to some extent. Some of us work in global companies that get us in touch with team members who live in different countries or come from different cultures. We may connect with people online who enjoy the same hobby. We do more traveling today than ever before which exposes us to different ways of living and different cultures. We watch TV shows and movies from various different parts of the world. We have in fact become global community and that gives us a unique opportunity. As a result, living purposefully and taking part in online groups and global efforts can bring about change that affects the global community. That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?

25 Avoid Temptations and Wrong Paths Along the Way

We’ve been talking about living with purpose for quite some time. By now you’ve thought quite a bit about what you may want to change or tweak in your own life to live more intentionally and with more purpose. Ideally you will have started to incorporate some of those ideas and are starting to live more purposefully.

Old habits are hard to break and it’s not uncommon to slip back into familiar behavioral patterns that no longer align with your plan to live more intentionally. There will be things and people tempting you to stray off your path as well. You may have the best of intentions to live healthier or example and take better care of your body, but when you walk into the break room at work there’s a big box of doughnuts tempting you. Or maybe you are trying hard to be more patient and understanding with your children on a day when they are determined to push all your buttons and test the limits of that new patience. It happens. Life is messy and there will always be things that go wrong and people who intentionally or unintentionally try to lead us away from our purpose path.

The best way to deal with temptations is to expect them. They are going to show up sooner or later. If they surprise you, you will be more likely to give in. If you know they are coming, you can guard yourself better against them. Learn from each temptation and realize that each one you avoid makes you stronger and more determined to stay your course.

Even with the best intentions and our guard up against temptation, life happens and sometimes things are out of our control. At other times, we may not notice that we’ve chosen a wrong turn. It’s ok. It happens. It’s simply time to change course and get back on track. This is why it is important to frequently review what we’re doing. This allows us to see what’s happening and if what we’re doing is still aligned with our intentions, our purposes, and our values. Make sure you take this time for reflection and adjust as you go along on this exciting journey of living a purpose-driven life.

24 Aligning Yourself with Your Purpose Through Mediation and Prayer

Living with purpose isn’t always easy. We get busy, we get stressed out, or we simply get distracted. It happens to all of us and when it does, we no longer hear that inner voice that clearly tells us where our true path is. Without a clear purpose and solid intentions to live our life around it, it easy to get off course. We have to find a way to make sure we can get back on track and realign ourselves with the purpose we’ve chosen.

Meditation and prayer are great ways to get you back on your purpose path. There’s a reason these techniques have been used for millennia by spiritual leaders and everyday people who successfully live a purpose driven life.  They both help you tune out those distractions and give you clarity of mind. Once your mind quiets, you can start to listen to that inner voice that tells you what’s truly important and what you value most.

Although prayer may be tied to a religion, it can be for the religious or nonreligious, and it isn’t prejudiced toward any faith. Mindfulness meditation involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.  Prayer and meditation can benefit anyone. They both help you focus.

One of the easiest forms of meditation is a simple breathing exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere. That being said, I recommend you practice it first in a calm and quiet spot. This will allow you to focus without too many distractions. Once you’ve practiced for a little while though, you can use it to calm and clear your mind whenever you need it.

A Simple Breathing Mediation

The easiest type of meditation is to simply focus on your breath. Try to tune out everything else and focus on breathing in and breathing out. Notice how the air feels flowing through your nose. Pay attention to how your abdomen rises and falls, expands and contracts. Whenever you get distracted or start to think of something else, keep bringing yourself back to your breathing. Start by practicing it for 30 seconds to a minute and gradually increasing the time.

Give this a try and see if you find it helpful. From there read up on other meditation techniques. There are lots of great books out there on the topic. There are guided meditations and even mobile apps.

 

23 The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You

Much of what’s going on in today’s world makes us focus on ourselves. We’re surrounded by advertisements and media messages that encourage us to be very self-centered and egocentric. We’re supposed to look out for our best own interest, compete with others for the best job, the biggest car, and the nicest house. A life built on consuming, trying to prove your importance with money and spending doesn’t bring you happiness, and has made our world a spiritually poorer place.

When we start to live with purpose, the people around us become more important than acquiring things. Instead of focusing on just ourselves, we focus on our family, our community, and even the world at large. That’s quite a big change in perspective. This perspective shift will come over time. The amazing thing is that it starts happening effortlessly.

By living more purposefully, your focus is on the needs of your loved ones. Maybe it starts with simply paying more attention to your spouse and kids. From there it moves toward your extended family and your circle of friends. Along the way you notice that working with others, helping them out, and doing things for them feels good and brings a lot of joy and happiness. Living a purpose driven life that includes other people who are important to us is a great feeling.

From there it spirals out. As you create more intentional relationships with your kids for example, you get closer to their friends. You also become more empathetic to the needs of other parents and their children. Your focus starts to shift from yourself and your own little family to your local community and eventually the global community we all live in. And that’s a very good thing.

We don’t live in a bubble. We live in a community and in this day and age that community reaches across the entire globe. Our actions, our purchases, and how we choose to live our lives has an impact on everyone else. We can no longer afford to live a self-centered life. Trust me, being part of a community and working together for the betterment of everyone involved is a much better feeling.

By living your life with purpose—you get to see the world from a different perspective. Not only that, you’ll also be setting a good example for your children and other people around you. As they see you care about and help others, they will be inspired to do the same. If you ask me that’s pretty powerful stuff. Your own choice to live with purpose can end up affecting hundreds, if not thousands of others.

22 When You Live A Purpose Driven Life, Your Values Are Clear

Today, I want to talk about values. They guide our lives and are like a compass to keep us on the clear and narrow. We learn basic values as young children, and then continue to evolve and adapt them as we grow into adulthood. Along the way things can sometimes get murky. Part of growing up involves questioning the values we’ve grown up with and sometimes, we simply disregard some of the values we’ve grown up with without setting up a clear new system of values to guide us.

The beauty of living a purpose driven life is that as soon as you start paying attention to what you want to accomplish and start to live with purpose, your values become clear. You know without a shadow of a doubt what’s most important to you. You may choose family over a big raise or overtime. You may choose working hard now and saving up over instant gratification. You may choose going out and making friends or exercising (or both at once) over sleeping in on the weekend. You get the idea.

When you live with purpose… no matter how big or small those purposes may be… you live based on values. When you look at it and think about it for a minute, those values will become very clear to you. You’ll see what’s most important to you. That in turn will help throughout the rest of your life moving forward.

Once you are clear about your values and have them defined, it becomes much easier to make daily decisions and choices. With your value compass in place, you only have to ask yourself if what you are doing is aligning with those values. That in turn makes your life a lot easier. You no longer have to agonize or second guess yourself. Instead, you make your decision and are confident that it’s the right one.

Having a moral compass and set of values gives you a lot of confidence. You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re doing the right thing and are moving in the right direction. Between that and the passion and excitement a purpose driven life brings, you’ll feel like you’re on the right path. That takes a lot of stress, worry, and second guessing out of the equation, which is a very good thing.

I’m sure you’ve noticed people around you who have a strong purpose and values. They stride through life instead of stumbling. That’s the goal and that’s what I want you to get out of this 30 Day Living with Purpose challenge. Start paying attention to your own moral compass of values and let it guide you well on this sometimes complicated, and sometimes treacherous path of living life.

Try this for values clarification! The values are suggestions only–use these or your own words.

Wheel of Values Exercise

21 When You Live With Purpose, You Don’t Have Time To Worry

Are you a worrier by nature? Do you spend your time worrying about anything and everything that could go wrong? I’ve been there and done that. It’s not the most pleasant or most productive use of your time. When we worry a lot, it tends to paralyze us. We’re too worried about everything we don’t know yet, what’s out of our control and what could go wrong. As a result, we don’t get to the important part of taking action, no matter what the goal or activity was.

When we embrace living with purpose the act of worrying changes dramatically. Things are clearer when you know exactly what you want and have the passion to go after it. You know what your first step is and then the next one after that. You get to work and start making progress. You keep going to make sure you get done what you’ve set out to do. In the end, you simply don’t have time to worry about all that small stuff and that’s a very good thing.

Most worrying is frankly pointless. It uses up brain space and energy that would be much better spent other places. That doesn’t help you much when you’re busy worrying about anything and everything. What will help you is shifting your focus, your energy, and your passion to something more productive – your purpose.

When your purpose is an integral part of your life, you’ll simply be too busy to worry. The cure for too much worrying is taking action. Go do something that aligns with your purpose. It doesn’t matter what it is. Start with something small that feels safe. Getting that task under your belt will show you that your worries were unfounded and that you can push through them. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment and that in turn builds confidence.

Confidence is another great weapon against the paralyzing effect of worrying. Confident people don’t worry. With each action you take, you become a little more confident and a little less worried. Build on each success and keep working on your self-confidence. Keep focusing on why the things you do are important to you and why you embraced a particular purpose. Focusing on how it is helpful to others is another great tool that will help you push through and start taking action. That in turn builds confidence and decreases worries. Before you know it, you too will be too busy to worry because you’re taking action toward living a purpose-driven life.