It’s a Great, Big, Beautiful Life – Steps to Finding Your Purpose and Making it a Reality

Great, Big, Beautiful Grief is heading into its second week, and oh, so many encouraging comments, follows, shares and, most importantly, an abundance of genuinely loving support!  Thank you to everyone who has reached out, read and absorbed.  It means the world and fills my heart with the utmost gratitude.

When I first introduced the blog to the public, I assured folks that “although the title was ominous, the content would be anything but.”  Well, sometimes the path to our most joyful destination, the place filled with sunshine and bliss, requires us to trudge through the dark, dreary valley first.

So far, we have discussed that grief is real.  Grief is highly normal.  We’ve talked about the five stages of grief.  We’ve talked about how each person deals with grief in their own, unique way.  I’ve shared some personal stories about my own grief journey.  Overall, lots of grief, grief, grief!

Therefore, I feel the time has come to blow up the happy bubble of inspiration and get cracking on that Great, Big, Beautiful Life portion of this Great, Big, Beautiful blog!

In recent months, I’ve turned into a massive podcast junky.  I’m not a techy-type and had truly never experienced podcasts before.  Books have always been my jam.  Anyhow, shortly after my sister’s passing, I became obsessed with listening to stories about Near Death Experiences (which I now understand to be quite normal for someone who has just experienced the death of a loved one).  My obsession with those types of programs soon transitioned to subscribing to podcasts pertaining to living a happy life, doing good and being good, and being your best self, (perhaps after all of those near death experiences, I wanted to be doubly sure that I knew where I would be going when my time here is up – yeah, some of the stories didn’t take place in Heaven). These programs have been incredibly insightful and have opened my eyes to new ways of being.

About two weeks ago, after I had finished showing a home to a client (I’m a REALTOR by trade), I was feeling the need to be inspired, once again.  Over the nearly two years I’ve spent as an agent, the world of real estate has been a never-ending rat race, and the pressures of being the biggest and the best have constantly weighed on my heart and mind. While it feels good to follow through with a transaction, to see the joy on a client’s face when you have found them the perfect home, the process leading up to it is an incredibly stress-filled obstacle of negotiations, persuasion and paperwork – ew.  Lately I’ve been questioning my purpose in this field, this life, more-so than I ever have before.  Am I truly making a difference, or am I just one of the several billion people in the world existing to work and die?

Anyhow, as I began the drive home, a million questions were swirling around in my mind while I browsed through the episodes of one of my newfound, favorite shows, The Good Life (highly suggest subscribing by the way).  In a particular episode I came upon, the hosts were interviewing a woman named Cathy Heller Reinstein, an aspiring singer/songwriter who took her talents a different direction and started a podcast called Don’t Keep Your Day Job.  Her message was all sorts of inspirational.  Basically, she encourages her listeners to figure out their passion, their purpose, and turn them into a profitable, thriving, full-time career.  I was hooked, and instantly started downloading her episodes, listened to each one, intently, with hope in my heart and one glorious thought in my mind; I actually can make a difference, no matter what I’m doing!

Today is a beautiful day in the Northern Midwest.  The sun is shining brightly, the leaves are beginning to turn, and a long bike ride was calling my name. I love being out in nature, whether on my bike or on foot.  It’s quiet, peaceful, and allows ample opportunity for reflection.  As I rode down the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, passing by lakes and lowlands, forests and pastures, I felt completely at peace.  I felt happy.

Then Mr. Brain took over, and I began to question myself; Why am I so damn happy?  This isn’t right?  Surely there must be something I should be stressing about?

Isn’t it funny how so many of us have conformed to the belief that life isn’t easy, and unless we are stressing about something, we must be doing something wrong?  Simply feeling happy and free isn’t normal.  Why is that?  Are we supposed to be stuck in an office, answering emails, wearing business suits, working a typical nine to five?  That’s the definition of success, right?  That’s how successful human beings spend their days, isn’t it?

But, why?

And here is another question for you, how many of you have a job where you truly feel like you can be your best self?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some people are where they are supposed to be and are fulfilling their life’s purpose, and that is amazing.  To those folks, you have my respect.  Bravo for making your passions a reality.

Then there is the other part of the working population, the dreamers who have succumbed to the norms of acceptable, societal standards, watching their life’s purpose slowly disappear in the breeze.

For as long as I’ve been a “professional” I’ve been a searcher, a seeker.  Sure, I’ve taken a few leaps of faith here and there, but always had the almighty dollar in mind, and therefore held multiple positions where I felt like I was dying inside, everyday.

Not anymore.

My sister’s illness and death opened a portal into a new way of thinking.  There really is no need to be stressed out every minute of every day wondering why we are doing what we are doing.  Here’s a couple of thoughts… do something else, or find a way to work your life’s mission into your job!  I’m thirty-six years young and I feel like, only now, do I truly have a firm grasp on what it is I’m supposed to do with my life.  THIRTY-SIX YEARS ON THIS PLANET and am just figuring it out.

And I’m cool with that, because each experience I’ve had, each career where I have felt my soul slipping away, has gotten me to where I am.  Cliche?  Maybe, but it’s the truth.

So, how do we take that leap?  Don’t we need the proper resources, time, experience?  Will our family support us in our quest to fulfill our purpose? Or maybe we feel that we can incorporate our mission at our current place of employment, but how do we accomplish this?

Stemming from my worlds of experience, and having recently tested the waters of these concepts, I’d suggest doing the following:

Step 1: Write down the top three things in your life that you are passionate about. Art? Helping others to improve their lives? Fitness?  WHATEVER.

Step 2: Brainstorm ways to project that passion into the world, perhaps by way of writing, speaking, traveling, researching, whatever you feel comfortable doing.  Truly take some time to think about what your strengths are. We live in an age where anything is possible, so tell that little doubting voice in your head to shove it.  YOU CAN DO IT.

Step 3: DO!  Seriously.  Just do it, whatever that it might be. For example, I launched this blog knowing full-well that I still had some kinks to iron out, but the path to purpose can be a process. Still, I just did it.  I’ll tailor what needs tailoring as I go.  I’ve also started to submit articles to magazines, as writing is a passion and an excellent way to project my energy and mission into the world, and low and behold, I will be having one of my articles published in a prominent MN publication this October!  As far as implementing my passion and purpose into my work-life, I’ve tailored my real estate brand to focus on living simply, as so to educate my clients to not miss out on life because they are “house poor.”

I’m. Just. Doing. It. Because my purpose is to shed light on a dark world, and I want to be a voice, even if it is just a small voice in a great big stadium, screaming at the top of my lungs that life is great, big, and beautiful if we only have the courage to make it so.


Author: Mary Burgstahler

I'm a mother, sister, wife, daughter and friend. When I'm not writing or traveling, I work as a REALTOR in the Twin Cities West Metro. I enjoy a good glass of cabernet, hiking and camping with my family, taking on new challenges, and am always up for an adventure!

4 thoughts on “It’s a Great, Big, Beautiful Life – Steps to Finding Your Purpose and Making it a Reality”

  1. This looks like a great blog!! Sounds like you live in MN. So do I! I’d love to connect. We sound like we have similar interests. I found you on Cathy Heller’s FB page 🙂


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