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Knowing what Mountains are Worth the Climb: Defining What is Meaningful

As I celebrate my birthday month, I'm reminded of how birthdays are like personal New Year's celebrations for me. It's a time when I evaluate my goals and set intentions for the year ahead. In this article, I'll share my journey of self-discovery and the importance of defining and bringing meaning and purpose into your life.

Revisiting Your Life Timeline

One exercise I've implemented in my mentoring and coaching for years is the "life timeline." Recently, during conversations with my accountability group, I felt I was on the brink of a significant discovery about my own trajectory. Have you ever had an emotional response to something without understanding its source? Emotions always stem from thoughts, so we must start there. I'll walk you through a framework I use to explore these connections.

Job vs. Career

Is what you're doing with your life truly meaningful to you?

A job is a specific position or work role you have, often with a focus on short-term tasks and immediate financial gain. A career, on the other hand, is a long-term pursuit of your professional goals, involving continuous skill development and often spanning multiple jobs and positions over time. Being a nurse, for me, started as a career, and then became a job as we started into Church Planting and then parenting and my heart and attention were elsewhere. It then morphed back into a career as I found something in it to pursue with passion - for me that was research and essential oils, aromatherapy.

Interestingly enough, my actual job position didn’t change - so I had piggybacked a career pursuit onto a job - that I could easily give up, I was good at, would fund the mission, and gave me some pretty amazing opportunities. I guess I’m still doing that.

I've personally experienced the difference between a job and a career. Regardless of your circumstances, it's crucial to know what you truly want. Your dreams should shape your path, not the other way around. I'll delve into how you can make that happen.

The INSPIRE Framework

I've developed a framework to assess and define meaning and purpose in your life. It's called INSPIRE:

  • I - Introspection: Reflect on your values and passions.

  • N - Nurture Passions: Cultivate your interests.

  • S - Set Meaningful Goals: Align your goals with your values.

  • P - Positive Relationships: Prioritize supportive connections.

  • I - Impact Others: Contribute positively to others' lives.

  • R - Resilience and Growth: Embrace challenges and focus on personal growth.

  • E - Embrace Gratitude: Practice mindfulness and gratitude.

Finding vs. Defining Meaning: There's a distinction between finding and defining meaning. You can either recognize the existing sources of meaning in your life or actively shape what is meaningful to you. I believe in bringing meaning into your life, even if your current circumstances don't align perfectly with your dreams.

Empowering Nurses and the Pursuit of Meaning: Nurses exemplify the pursuit of meaning, often creating side gigs and finding their voices within the healthcare field. They demonstrate resilience and creativity, making their work more meaningful despite challenges.

Conclusion and Call to Action: Defining and bringing meaning into your life is a personal journey. I encourage you to download the INSPIRE framework guide (linked below) and embark on your path of self-discovery. Additionally, consider scheduling a 100% obligation-free coaching session if you'd like personalized guidance.

In closing, remember Ralph Waldo Emerson's words: "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Trust in your ability to create your meaning and purpose. Let's all go out every day and embrace our extraordinary selves.


Thank you for reading, and please share this article if you found it valuable. Here's to defining and bringing meaning and purpose into your life!


Juli Reynolds is a Nurse Coach who helps Nurses and Entrepreneurs to get clear on their purpose, align their values and passion, to make the impact they desire without sacrificing their overall wellbeing. Sign up for her free guide to the Charting Your Life's Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Life Timeline.


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