What is your unique purpose?

Ten ways to find out.

This post is available in audio on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/B1xNQjIB4uk

Monday Motivation

I apologize for my absence last week, I had some medical things going on. I’m getting better now, things shall resume as normal. I hope you’re having a happy Monday and I invite you to take a break and relax for story time.

I have mentioned before that I enjoy writing prompts. A simple thought carries my brain in multiple directions. I enjoy the challenge of thinking and, even more, recording those thoughts. I wasn’t sure where to go with my upcoming YouTube segment. Mondays are designated to be motivational and uplifting. I scoured the internet for help, and almost immediately,this sentence stood out to me:

What is your unique purpose? 

The thought brings me to the existential question, why are we here? The answer is likely because we have a purpose, but how do we know what that is? Or is it even true? Here are my ten thoughts on the subject. 

  • 1.Believe. To discover your unique purpose, you must believe that you have one. I do think everyone has a particular purpose, as we are all unique individuals. Our structure is made different than anyone else’s, right down to everyone having their unique fingerprint. 
  • 2.Faith-based. As Christians, Faith teaches that God puts us on the earth for a purpose and will remain here until we complete it. We are also taught only God knows what that purpose is, but through prayer, we can ask Him to lead us to it. So, first, we believe that God has given us a purpose, and then we ask Him to lead us to it and follow our hearts where we think He is taking us. In my novel, “Have Faith,” Zoe’s main character undergoes several trials in her life that test her beliefs. At one point, she gives up, but inspiration comes from some unlikely sources. That’s all I’m saying about that. Feel free to snag the book on Amazon to learn more. (end shameless book plug here.)
  • 3. Do what feels right. We all have that little voice in our heads that tells us right from wrong. Well, okay, most of us have that little voice. I do think part of psychopathology is missing that conscience piece, but most of us have one. We also get that intuitive gut feeling. If something feels wrong, it probably is. I had this feeling in my career. After 18 years in social work, my job no longer brought me joy. Most often, work stressed me out to the max, which I believe contributed to my variety of health problems. Following the corporate structure didn’t feel like what I was supposed to do. Crying every morning when I woke up and dreading going to work also didn’t feel right. I often curse diabetes and the shape I’m left in, but now, even thinking about having to return to my old field gives me intense anxiety. It took me a while to realize, but I believe I wasn’t meant to be there. 
  • 4. Don’t follow the crowd. Remember that old expression, “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?” There is some merit to that. Doing something because every else is doing it is not your unique purpose. Doing something you want to do and feels right is a much better way to go. 
  • 5. Show your personality. For a long time, I was a no personality wallflower in public. I was afraid of being rejected by others. I was the saltless square cracker version of a human. You know, those crackers that you try to sneak to the dog but get caught because they don’t want them either? -yep, that was me. If a saltless cracker personality was what I showed people, I realized that they expect me to be a wallflower all the time. I don’t want to be a flat piece of cardboard food. I’m much happier being a fishy cracker or a pretzel fish cracker. Now, I realize “cracker” is generally a derogatory term for a person. In this instance, it’s a metaphor. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the makers of any of these snacks.
  • 6. Stand up for yourself. Too often, we have ideas of what we want to do or be but don’t pursue them because someone else doesn’t think we should. Conforming to what others want us to lead us back to that proverbial cliff we don’t want to jump off. Just because others don’t understand or discourage our ideas doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue them. Our ideas are a big part of what makes us unique. Bearing in mind, of course, that occasionally people will point out why something is a bad idea, and we should always consider that advice. 
  • 7. Take risks. Not risks like I could die, but more of I’m afraid to do this. Don’t be scared to be who you are. Don’t be scared to go down a new path just because it might not work out. What if it does work? Being afraid to do something is much different than not doing something because it’s wrong. 
  • 8. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Do you have an idea of something you want, but you’re not sure how to pursue it? Ask someone familiar with what you want. The worst they can say is no; they won’t help you. For everyone who says no, there’s someone out there who will say yes. Asking for help can also refer to our mindset. Mental health matters have gained a lot of much-needed attention these days. It’s okay not to be okay, and it’s more than okay to ask for help with becoming okay. 
  • 9. It’s perfectly fine to start over. Last year was eye-opening to me. Not just because 2020 was an absolute disaster for the entire universe, but personally, my life went in a whole different direction. Often in my career, I would express displeasure to myself but think about what I would do if I weren’t doing this? Eventually, the universe forced my hand to find out. If you’re not happy in your current life, change it. That’s the only way anything gets any better or different. Become who you want to be, even if that means starting from square one in a new direction. Do this over and over again until you’re content. It’s the only way you’ll ever get there. 
  • 10. Finally, accept you may not figure out what your purpose in life is. You may go in many different directions, start over hundreds of times, and something may never feel right. That’s okay; what matters is you’re trying. 

To sum up, be yourself. Your unique purpose in life starts with being an individual person. Oscar Wilde says, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” 

Have Faith, and my other books are available on Amazon, Kindle and Kindle unlimited, here: http://www.amazon.com/author/catbanks

Some Heroes Wear Collars Instead of Capes

Happy new week everyone! I hope your weekend was restful and fun.  Now we are back to the grind of Monday. Today’s writing is a feel good story, starring my dog. I write about my pets a lot so if you’re an animal lover like I am, hit that follow button! And now, take a break and let me tell you about how my dog saved me. Some heroes wear collars instead of capes.

The audio version of this post can be found on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/6h_PVbigDAw

It was a perfectly normal evening. Everyone was asleep, except me; I was writing. I was working on a pretty dramatic chapter of my novel when my dog Dopey stuck his nose under my elbow. 

Dog people know this is canine for “Pay attention to me.” I gave him a quick scratch behind his ears and went back to my writing. 

He nosed me again.

This time I scratched his butt. You know, that spot right at the top of the tail? He loves that! His legs did a little happy dance as he tried to control the feeling. I went back to my writing. 

He nosed me again. 

I asked Dopey if he had to go potty; he spun in a circle. I got up to take him out, and Dopey ran into my room. 

“Dopey, that’s not where you go potty,” I said, confused. Dopey spun in a circle. “What are you doing?” I asked him. He walked over to my nightstand and looked at the basket where I keep my medication. 

“Let’s go out,” I insisted. Dopey wasn’t having it. He continued to stare at the basket. 

It started to hit me then, the dizzy, weak feeling that comes with low blood sugar. 

I was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic right before I turned 4. Mom said I came home from the hospital on my uncle’s birthday, which was the beginning of August. I turned four at the end. I’m what they call a brittle diabetic. My sugars fluctuate wildly, sometimes for no reason. At the ripe old age of 40, I now have enough complications that managing a full-time job, along with taking care of my health, is impossible. Dopey usually is sensitive to my fluctuations and keeps me company when I don’t feel well. Now, he was sitting in my room staring at my blood sugar meter. 

“Do I need this?” I asked Dopey as I picked up the machine’s case. He did a little happy dance. I checked my blood sugar, and it was 62. That’s too low. 

This dog went from sound asleep to sensing my blood sugar was dropping and seeking my attention, then telling me he knew what that little machine was and that I needed it. 

I made a sandwich, and then I made him a small sandwich of his own for being a good boy. 

Dopey came to my roommate and me as a 14-week old puppy. He was wandering around my neighborhood by himself, wearing a cat collar that was much too small and dragging a ratty leash. I was with my roommate and his family at the time, and after getting him some water, we walked door to door around the neighborhood looking for anyone who might know something about the little guy. My roommate’s nephew and his wife decided if we couldn’t find his people, they wanted him but needed a foster until they were out on their own. 

They decided he would have a Disney name. They started calling out to him by different character’s names, but the pup didn’t seem impressed. He wasn’t impressed, that is until they got to the dwarves. 

Dopey’s ears have been the same size since he was a baby. As a pup, we thought maybe he would help the TV reception with them. The couple called out “Dopey,” the lovable big-eared dwarf; that’s when the pup turned around. 

After knocking on dozens of doors, we found a neighbor who told us a car had pulled in about a week prior, tossed the pup out the door, and took off. The man had been leaving food out for the puppy to munch but couldn’t keep him.

It was becoming clear that I was about to be a foster parent. 

I did my due diligence and posted on all the local lost and found sites, called the local vets, brought him in to the vet where my older dog went to check for a microchip. No one was looking for this adorable puppy. I called animal control. They were not very optimistic about his fate; I wasn’t having that.

In the beginning, Dopey wouldn’t have anything to do with my roommate. He didn’t seem to be particularly fond of men. He was terrified to get in the car and even more apprehensive about getting out. He recoiled from any large object, and potty training was a nightmare. He developed two loves: My older dog and me. 

The other couple decided they wouldn’t be able to keep him after all. I was glad because I had already decided he was mine. I adopted him.

Dopey is seven now. He loves car rides, playing outside, butt scratches, and digging in the trash. He still cringes from loud noises and my cleaning utensils, but he will say hello to strangers now. He enjoys spending time with my roommate, but he is still my boy. He is also my hero. 

I hope you enjoyed the story of my hero and will follow to stick around for more motivation, stories and book previews.

Books can be purchased from my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/catbanks

Thanks for Reading!

Monday Motivation: Be Fluffy!

Today, I’m going to talk about something a little different, but I feel it’s important. 

It’s the importance of being your less than serious self. I’m going to use writing as an example. 

There are several types of writers. Journalists, for example, bring us the news of what’s going on in the world. They write facts, the real stuff, no matter how pleasant- or daunting they may be. 

Is this an important role? Absolutely. However, that’s not the type of writer I am. 

Bloggers, traditionally, give us information or teach us how to do things. Are they important? Heck yes! I learned how to crochet, make jewelry, clean stubborn stains, and make homemade dog biscuits from blogs. They’re similar to journalists in that everything you want to know, someone has written about the subject. Is this the type of writer I am? Nope. While I have a blog, It’s less than serious information, and there are no how-tos. I would never grace myself with the title of teacher. 

Researchers publish their findings to show the world new things they’ve discovered and why they’re valuable. Their words improve life by showing us what’s out there. Everything we know today is because someone discovered and reported about it. These writers are of monumental importance. I, however, am not one of them either. 

I write what some consider to be fluff. I enjoy the less than serious approach to life. Why do I believe this to be important? Because we all deserve a break sometimes. We need to take a load off from the world. 

I have a confession to make. I’m a TikTok junkie. TikTok is a fantastic platform that connects like-minded people through a genius algorithm. It shows you a variety of people making videos, you start liking them, and then it brings you together with more people who enjoy the same things you do and more creators that provide this content. 

The best thing I have found since I’ve started my writing journey is BookTok, TikTok users who love to read, and several authors, many indie authors like myself. 

What’s troublesome is how many of my fellow romance authors are told they’re not real writers, that their writing serves no purpose; it’s “fluff.” 

Au contraire. We have a purpose. We provide a much-needed break from reality. In our world, the quirky girl gets the hot guy. The villains pay for their crimes, and there’s a happy ending. We go into dimensions of magic and mystery where mythical creatures exist, and fantasies come true. We want to bring our readers with us to other worlds of mystery and wonder, even if just for a little while. We want to provide that escape when the real world gets overwhelming. 

I feel this is the case for anyone who provides entertainment. Authors, actors and actresses, professional athletes, musicians, and anyone else in the entertainment industry play an essential role in the world. Some may see what we do as fluff, but I say, be fluffy; someone has to. 

We may not change or save the world, but we do make it a little brighter.