Coming back to ourselves is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do.
On your journey of self-discovery, people are placed in your path to remind you of why you’re doing the hard work to uncover your most profound and authentic self.
While most of us automatically think of a self-discovery journey as one that involves the triple threat of “me, myself, and I,” it’s far more than that. In fact, the people you surround yourself with matter a great deal to your inner workings and personal evolution.
Peeling back the layers on something you’re so tied to can feel harsh. That’s where people come in—helping you remove a shell that feels too heavy to bear or showing you a new way to remove the layers more gracefully.
I have to preface all this by saying there is power in purposeful people.
Whether that be the people you’ve intentionally chosen to sit front and center on your path or those that appear from thin air in the rarest of occurrences and then vanish in what feels like the same instance– people matter a great deal.
That’s where Jack comes in.
He was one of those people that I met out of nowhere. He is quiet and reserved yet powerful in his perception of the world around him. Now, I know that’s a bold statement to make about someone I barely know, but it was one of those “you see me, I see you” moments on my path.
Jack loves dogs. Our first conversation revolved around the fact that two dogs at a bar next to us were nothing short of dreamy. No, seriously. Dog people are my people, so I knew from how he swooned over those goldendoodles that his soul was one for the ages.
Okay, so you’re wondering why I’m telling you about Jack. Here’s the thing…
As you would expect with meeting someone new, Jack and I talked about many random things in our back-and-forth exchange.
One of the most prominent aspects of our conversation (dogs aside) was our career choice. But not in the sense of like, “what do you do for a living?” but rather, “how does your work align with your joy?”
How freaking profound.
So often, we get sidetracked into scaling a career that we forget our life work is supposed to be rooted in our happiness. Deep and unrelenting joy.
When he asked me about my career, I gushed over the fact that I was a writer and published author who worked on big brands to make a big bang in my clients' respective markets.
As I came to the end of explaining my drawn-out love affair of words, Jack seemed rather unimpressed.
Although he commended me on following my dreams, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “So, when you’re not writing for work, what type of writing and creativity makes you the happiest? If you could write about anything in the world, what would it be?”
When I tell you I had one of those deer-in-headlights moments as I sat across from him at the benched booth, it doesn’t nearly express the gaping hole in my loss of words.
As someone who is deeply enthralled in words for a living and someone who romanticizes the idea that writing out words is described as “spelling” because they can literally cast a “spell,” I had zero words in me to reply.
Zero. Zilch. Nothing.
It may have been the fact that no one has ever directly questioned what truly makes me happy to understand who I am, or maybe it was the idea that I thought my accomplishments were the only thing that made me who I am.
The truth is, you can be a successful person and still be unhappy. You know? That whole idea of having all the money in the world, but being overwhelmed with a sense of "meh" because you're not in tune with your deepest joy and purpose.
You have to chase your happiness to live a fulfilling life.
Anyway, back to Jack.
After a few minutes, I tripped over my words and came up with something about having a passion for life advice and growth, but otherwise, my words had spiraled into an unknown universe, never to be found again. Seriously, I still can’t find them.
Even if I had the opportunity to go back into that conversation, I’m not sure that my reply would be any better in person.
Sure, with time, I figured out what makes me happiest, but if you ask me on the spot, I can’t tell you.
Days and weeks have passed since that interaction, but Jack’s questions still linger in my mind, so much so that we’re here together talking about it today.
Although there are still moments in my mind where I struggle to pinpoint my passion for writing, my vision has been steadied, and I’ve now uncovered the lesson in my interaction with Jack.
Jack was meant to stand wide-armed in my path to slow me down in my tracks and realign my focus to what truly matters in my heart, even when I wasn’t prepared enough to face it and came up blank for days.
So, what’s my point?
All people in your life serve a purpose.
For the longest, I’ve been so zeroed in on growing my business and my career that I lost sight of why I started this journey in the first place.
Becoming a writer was never about money, accolades, awards, or recognition. It was always about passion, joy, freedom, and fulfillment.
I was reminded of that as I sat and pondered Jack’s question for over a week.
There will be full-circle moments in your life with people you least expect that bring you to your knees and bring you back to yourself.
Whatever your journey may look like, don’t forget why you started, and never pass up a random conversation with someone placed in your path– it may be the reset you need to reach your next beautiful level in life.
So, if you have the chance to chat with a Jack– take it. It may change your life.
And to Jack–
If you’re reading this, here's my thoughtful response.
My happiest moments are found in using words to express how profoundly people impact the world and the people around them.
I find deep joy in authentic connection and limitless exploration-- especially when they arise on the path less traveled.
Most people never recognize that our truest goal lies in uncovering and relishing our deepest happiness.
So, thank you for helping me uncover and understand my path better.
You are so special.