I do not want to know who you are. I want to know why you are who you are.
To me, a pain to purpose story is the story of how you found yourself in the midst of loss, sorrow, failure, and / or despair.
A pain to purpose story is your authentic story. The story encompassing both the victory and the defeat. It is full of lessons you learned along the way. It describes the journey to self-discovery and self-awareness.
From pain to purpose is where empathy and dedication meet. In my opinion, loss and defeat teach you more than success and happiness. Without the pain, you never have the opportunity to discover who you truly are. When the world breaks you, when you feel lost and alone, when you feel like giving up, that is when true strength and courage develop. That is the moment when you learn how much you can handle and how much strength is within you.
It is about the climb up the mountain. Anyone can start at the top of the mountain and be successful. But how many people fall to the bottom repeatedly, yet keep trying to climb? How many people can get stuck under a pile of rocks and still have the desire to get back up and try again? These are the people with true passion and desire. And these are the people who are going to change the world for the better.
When I connect with someone, one of the first things I say is, “I would love to learn more about you and your journey.”
I want to know who you are. And I want to know why you are who you are. I want to see your heart and your passion. In my opinion, authentic connection occurs at the point of vulnerability. It helps you to understand the other individual and relate to them. More importantly, when you are able to share your story, it shows that you are comfortable with your past. It shows that you are not running away, but rather running toward something bigger than yourself. You know who you are. You are driven not by a standard of success but by a purpose.
When you take your pain and turn it into purpose, your mission is not to just release your pain but to help others avoid feeling that same pain. And, lastly, it shows that you are not going to give up when life gets tough. Because, I promise, life will get tough.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody!”
Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa (2006)
Your past, your defeat, your loss, your pain is not who you are. None of that defines you. Your success does not describe you. Your journey, on the other hand, defines you. It shows how far you have come and how far you are willing to go to change the world.
If we all work together, if we all take our pain and turn it into purpose, the world does not stand a chance at remaining the same. We will change the world. We will remove the stigmas, the prejudices, and the barriers that have worked against us for far too long.