- What has been your greatest investment in yourself?
Choosing myself and my own endeavors. This sounds a bit crazy, however, so many times I’ve placed the needs of others in front of my own. I used to shrink back in order to fit in, make sure I didn’t offend anyone or that everyone is happy. As a result, I lost myself – or at least my original self. Experience, heartbreak and loss taught me quickly – my endeavors are important. Likely, the most important. Especially when I began to hit certain milestones in my life and had been missing the goals I most wanted to achieve.
Getting serious about getting my smile corrected. It was one of those things I’ve always wanted fixed. When I made the leap to get things done, I had a little work done and then my dentist pulled the “hey if you want the rest of this work done, you have to correct your smile.” I was a little heated (cost and I mean – braces). It was also the second time I’ve had them. However, it has been one of the best things I’ve done. It was small and large at the same time. When you begin to take care of yourself the way you should, it gives you the courage to face other obstacles. Honoring the small promises to yourself reinforces your value to yourself. If there’s something you want to change, work on and improve, do it. It’s freeing.
- How do you forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made along your journey?
At first I didn’t. [insert and redact a string of curse words about tomfoolery and such] I tried for a very long time to sabotage myself and prevent myself from all of the good things God has for me and experiencing the things life has to offer. At some point I realized that was really dumb. LOL! No matter which God you pray to, there’s a factor of forgiveness there. Who am I to say that God’s forgiveness can’t cover my own? I’m certain if God can forgive me, then I can forgive myself.
I also tried to make sure I was diligent in my efforts to be the best person I could be. By making sure my actions were in line with the things I wanted the most, it meant everything else could begin to fall into line.
As an added note, forgiveness of myself is a continual process. I screw up often. I often have to “rewind and be kind” as I’ve heard before. This is sometimes daily, hourly. It’s easy to give in and give up, tell yourself you deserve hard times or less than a stellar life.
- How do you define purpose? What’s yours?
Purpose, for me, is intertwined with passion. What am I passionate about? What are the things I feel the need to fix, make better or do in the world? Why? Do I want to create, offer help, heal, etc.? What pulls me out of bed in the morning? Who do I love?
Purpose is what gets you up in the morning. Sometimes, we don’t discover it until later in life. Sometimes, we’re afraid of what our purpose is (too big, seems impossible, we’re listening to the naysayers). Sometimes, we believe what looks like a small thing is so small. it’s inconsequential. It’s not. Everyone has a purpose – or several. My purpose? To love, encourage and share. I believe part of it is to show others how to cope and create their best lives. I do that through creating my own, through sharing, conversations, writing…really you can do it in so many different ways.
- Could/Can you deny your purpose; do something else & still be satisfied?
Yes, I believe you can. Many of us don’t believe we can turn what we love into something that supports us. Some of us put that purpose/passion on the backburner. Some of us just consider it a hobby. I’ll say this, if you’re spending all of your free time doing something, you seem to be extremely good at it, you don’t mind putting in the hours and hustle, it’s likely it could be part of your purpose. You may have to hone it and tweak it. It may lead you to a larger endeavor. I honestly believe we can have various purposes in our lives. At one phase of our life our purpose may manifest in one way and the next phase, it may shift and be used in another. Different careers, passions. Choices. Different purposes. It’s all good. If I don’t know anything else, I can say we all have many different lives we can lead. Choose the best for yourself.
- What’s your life’s mission?
I’m still working on this one. I honestly don’t know if I’ll know until the end of my life. As long as I’ve made a positive difference, helped others, loved deeply and been loved deeply, fostered my relationship with God? I believe I will have achieved my goal.
Describe your process to discovering purpose.
Trial and error. Trial and failure. Being drawn to something. Paying attention to the things you do without anyone having to ask you to do it. Understanding things you enjoy. It’s a process. It’s exploration. It’s asking questions. It’s laughing and having a great time. It’s the not so great moments and being able to rise from them.
Quick story on discovering your purpose:
I went to Nigeria in 2009. Epic trip. I was taking photos with a Canon point and shoot. It was great. The battery lasted until the very last day I was there. My good friend I’d been to see had to often keep me in the car. It was then I knew I needed to buy a DSLR. I didn’t. Instead I came home and kept taking photos with my phone. I never shared them. In late 2013 I decided to finally gift myself with a camera. I thought it would be a low cost way to keep myself entertained, meet people and take walks, etc. and do things. Turns out I was right. It also turns out – I was extremely passionate about it. If I roll back to 1994 in college, I took a photography course. The teacher told me I had a gift. But I was on track for a biology degree – which just so happened my scholarship was attached to it. I never thought much about making it a career. Now? I just enjoy capturing moments and sharing them with others. I never knew it would be something others cared about but the response I’ve had has been amazing.
Interviewee: Raegan Mathis
Connect with Rae: