If you think that finding your purpose will allow you to kick back and relax, then think again. You’ll still have to navigate the ups and downs of life, it’s just that you’ll have purpose as your rocket fuel to turbo charge through difficulties and enable you to make the positive impact you’re aiming for. It will stretch you beyond your comfort zone, because every worthwhile purpose requires you to grow and to be a better person. 

“To begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment.” – James Allen

At 36 years old, Ally Boyle was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia, a rare form of blood cancer. Ally was told he only had three years to live. That was over ten years ago.

“I’ve had an absolutely crushing headache for ten years. It’s like someone’s got a hammer at the back of my head and they’re hitting it in time with my pulse. I feel seasick nearly all the time and have prolonged dizzy spells. The only thing that helps reduce the headache and manage the aches is to exercise, but it’s also the last thing you want to do. The fatigue is really bad. I think the best way to describe it is if I was on this chair and someone set fire to it, I don’t think I could get off it. That’s how tired I feel.”

Ally loved his job in the fire brigade and he was good at it. He’d received one promotion after another during his illustrious career. When the rumour mill spread word of his condition, his colleagues thought he was going to die. But Ally scorched the rumours with a characteristically humorous email telling those awaiting promotion that there wouldn’t be a vacancy anytime soon.

Ally started working with the Anthony Nolan Trust shortly after his diagnosis. They run the UK stem cell register for those who are ready for stem cell treatment and they can search their world-wide register to see if they can find you a match. Ally and his team of volunteers have already put 11,000 names on the Register as a result of many and myriad awareness-raising activities – and twenty of those have gone on to make a potentially life-saving donation.

Ally’s determination to take the worst thing that’s ever happened to him and to use it to make him a better person gave him a purpose, a place to pour his energy to benefit others, and to take the focus off his own suffering.

“When you stay on purpose and refuse to be discouraged by fear, you align with the infinite self, in which all possibilities exist.”  – Wayne Dyer

Purpose is about engaging with a cause greater than yourself to create a positive impact in the lives of others. You have to start with pushing yourself through discomfort, self-doubt and the inevitable obstacles that arise until you begin to make your desired impact. I have been inspired by Ally’s determination to become a better person in pursuit of his purpose, even though he has far greater daily challenges to push through than most. I hope Ally’s story also inspires you to identify a purpose that enables you to grow and to become a better version of yourself.

“Nothing is more likely to help a person overcome or endure troubles than the consciousness of having a task in life.”  –  Victor Frankl

This is the fourth in a series of 5 blog posts released weekly, where I introduce the 5 Components of Purpose to help you identify your own purpose in each key area of your life. You are also invited to my ‘Find Your Purpose’ Masterclass, where you can complete my ‘Purpose Questionnaire’ to discover your purpose in every area of your life. You can also catch up on my earlier purpose blog posts here.