Own Your Everyday is a guide to finding yourself and your true purpose in life. These summaries are both a deeply personal account of the author’s life and a practical blueprint for changing yours. They’ll show you how to shake off the constant pressures of modern life in favor of something more fulfilling.
Mindfulness, Happiness, Personal Development, Christian Living, Christian Women’s Issues, Christian Self Help, Happiness Self-Help, Religion, Faith, Inspirational, Christianity, Mental Health
Introduction: Tackle the pressure and stress in your life and find true purpose
It feels like we’re all under pressure. We’re told we need to follow our dreams or achieve great things. Even during a Sunday sermon, we might be told to find our calling. But some of us just don’t have that all figured out.
And this pressure to chase your dreams can be dangerous. Because all too often it leads us to focus on the wrong things. It suggests that purpose is a thing we can hold up as proof to the world that we’re succeeding – something that is found in a job, a degree, a social media platform.
Well, these summaries are here to help you stop stressing. Because true purpose is not really about what you do. And it’s certainly not about proving anything to the world. It’s more about finding who you are.
In these summaries, you’ll learn
- what acne teaches us about tackling our deepest problems;
- how our darkest disappointments can be the start of something profound; and
- how you can find true success every day.
Tackling problems on the surface never truly solves them; you need to go deep.
Since she was a teenager, the author, Jordan Lee Dooley, had suffered from acne – terrible acne. As a thirteen-year-old, trying to impress a cute boy in class, she found it embarrassing. As an adult, doing a job that requires a certain amount of sitting in front of a camera, she found it a genuine problem.
It got to the point where she was having deep, painful breakouts, far below the skin. She resisted going to the doctor, mostly out of embarrassment. She struggled on, using makeup to cover up the imperfections in her appearance. But when she finally got to the doctor, he told her a truth that went further than her skincare issues.
The key message here is: Tackling problems on the surface never truly solves them; you need to go deep.
Jordan’s doctor told her that her attempts to cover up her acne problem with makeup were probably making it worse. While the cause of this problem was something deeper, like stress or diet, the makeup sure wasn’t helping.
There’s a lesson there for all of us. Have you ever felt the need to cover up your imperfections? Maybe you’ve felt that leaving your flaws on display would somehow be worse than the longer-term harm caused by covering them up.
You see, covering things up on the surface just keeps your insecurities under wraps, lingering for longer and becoming more and more damaging. Just like that acne.
All of us need to be brave enough to face up to the full truth of who we are. Because your purpose starts from being totally you. Not you with the bad parts covered up, but the real, raw you.
So here’s a challenge to help you build true confidence in yourself, from deep inside. For thirty days, make a commitment to stop criticizing yourself. Don’t call yourself fat. Don’t identify your flaws in each and every photo you take. Live by this rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say something to your friend, don’t say it about yourself. If your best friend totally bombed while trying to make a joke over dinner, would you tell her she’s totally awkward and should just give up? No! So don’t say things like that to yourself either.
Stop obsessing about how you’re seen on the outside. Embrace your whole, true self. Because that’s where purpose starts.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential for a meaningful life.
Have you ever felt like you aren’t really who other people think you are? That if everyone just discovered what was really going on behind the scenes, they’d think you’re a total fraud? This anxiety is called imposter syndrome, and Jordan has struggled with it her whole adult life.
Her career has been the result of just trying things out. As a college student, she started an Etsy store as an outlet for her crafting. When sales took off, she built up an online following by posting life-lessons and advice on social media. Soon, some of her Facebook posts were being shared thousands of times. But, even then, she felt the anxiety. In fact, she rarely showed a photo of herself, because she was worried that her followers would unfollow if they learned how young and inexperienced she really was.
The key message here is: Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential for a meaningful life.
The lesson to take from Jordan’s career is that if you give in to impostor syndrome and if you aren’t willing to try things, you’ll never fully live out your intended purpose in life.
But how can you break out of that comfort zone?
Well, first you need to stop being so uptight about expectations. When she was a student, Jordan interviewed for a corporate internship. It was a great opportunity – a stepping stone to the kind of important corporate career that she’d always expected to build. But the truth was that, after her interview, she was totally uninspired. She didn’t want the job! When she talked to her mom, she expected to be told that she should stay focused and give it a go. But instead, her mom said, “Well, just don’t do it, then!” Often, we do things simply because we expect it of ourselves, or because we think that others expect it of us. Well, don’t let expectations hold you back from finding your true purpose.
Secondly, make it easier to step out of your comfort zone by taking small steps. When Jordan started her Etsy store, she didn’t write a five-year business plan. If she’d tried to figure it all out up-front, she’d never have gotten going. Instead, she took small steps – learning about Etsy, heading to Hobby Lobby to pick up some paints and canvases, making a first sale.
In life, you don’t have to have it all worked out to get started. You can just take a baby step towards getting started.
Disappointment is tough, but it can also be a powerful and positive force.
Jordan’s college sweetheart, who later became her husband, was a football star. Matt dreamed of an NFL career, worked incredibly hard for it, and looked all set to be snapped up by a team. The couple planned their future life around the exciting opportunity. And when draft day arrived, Matt, Jordan, friends and family gathered to wait for calls from multiple teams.
Well, the time came, but calls didn’t. After five minutes, fifteen minutes, forty-five minutes, the phone was still silent. It wasn’t meant to be. That night, the young couple tried to face up to the sharp sting of disappointment from their shattered dreams. It was the start of a few years of uncertainty about the shape of their lives. But while those years were frustrating, they were also full of lessons about what makes for a meaningful life, not just a comfortable one.
The key message here is: Disappointment is tough, but it can also be a powerful and positive force.
One important lesson is to shift your mindset. Sure, Matt was disappointed with the failure of his NFL career. But over time, the couple learned to stop saying that things “didn’t work out.”’ Because they actually did. Their lives worked out just the way they were supposed to, even if they hadn’t realized it at the time. So sure, process your disappointment. But don’t wallow in it.
Another lesson is to realize that disappointments bring new possibilities. In hindsight, Jordan is glad that she and her husband didn’t get all that they wanted in the early years of their marriage. If their plans had stayed on track, perhaps they wouldn’t have been able to move back to Matt’s hometown and spend what would turn out to be the last months of Matt’s father’s life with him. If Matt had made the cut, perhaps Jordan would never have written her book. If they hadn’t experienced disappointment in that season of life, they may never have discovered the riches that would come in the next season.
Jordan once received a text message that shook her to her core. It said, “The most important lessons in life are the hardest ones to learn.” It was the truest thing she’d heard in a long time. Because disappointment sure isn’t easy. But it’s something we all can learn from.
Stopping constant comparison can reduce the pressure in your life.
So you’re scrolling through social media, seeing your friends showing off and celebrating milestones. And you start wondering, Why aren’t I launching a creative side hustle? Why aren’t I at a cool party surrounded by hundreds of friends? What am I doing with my life?
That feeling is comparison-induced pressure, the sense of insecurity and angst that hits us when we see others who seem to have it all figured out. Too often, we get sucked into comparing ourselves – our looks, our status, or our success – to the people around us. Jordan herself does this all the time. At the gym, she stresses when the only treadmill that’s available is between two that are occupied. Jordan finds herself checking her neighbor’s speed. Just 6.8 miles an hour? Beatable, she thinks, sprinting away, until realizing that her neighbor has just cranked up to 7.5 without breaking a sweat.
The key message here is: Stopping constant comparison can reduce the pressure in your life.
And, actually, succumbing to comparison-induced pressure is a little like running on a treadmill. Why? Because when we live in a state of comparison, we’re constantly trying to outrun other people, while never actually getting anywhere worthwhile.
So, try to stop observing and comparing yourself to others. One trick that can help is to focus on your Why. Why are you running on a treadmill? Are you in the gym to race? No! You’re there to stay healthy or work towards a goal. Why are you starting a business? Is it to show off on Instagram? Or to provide for your family, and to make a difference in the world? If you find yourself drifting towards comparison, remembering your Why is a great way to refocus on your real purpose.
Another way to stop comparing yourself to others is to replace your jealousy with joy. As Jordan grew up and started to tackle her tendency to compare, she committed to matching any jealous thought with two positive, joyful thoughts – either about the object of her comparison or about herself. Try to flip from thinking murderous thoughts about the jogger next to you to being impressed at his achievement, while also loving who you are right now.
Break the habit of constantly comparing yourself to others and you’ll take a lot of pressure out of your life. But comparison isn’t the only thing getting in the way of our true purpose. Let’s consider distraction.
Conquering distraction will help you lead a life of purpose.
Living in the Information Age, we have apparently endless opportunities available to us. You could start an Etsy store from your garage. Or apply for grad school from home. You could do pretty much anything that interests you with just a bit of effort and a few clicks of a button. But, actually, this overwhelming number of opportunities is one of the biggest barriers to living a life of purpose, because it can make it much harder to make the right decisions.
How can you know what you were put on Earth to achieve when you have a million options in front of you, and when there are so many easy, attractive distractions?
The key message here is: Conquering distraction will help you lead a life of purpose.
So how can we avoid getting knocked off-course? Well, the first step is to identify your most common distractions – the things you can’t resist at the end of an overwhelming day, like scrolling through social media in search of entertainment, or perhaps a little easy personal affirmation in the form of likes.
The problem with these default distractions is that they lead us to a passive life. The more distracted we are, the more passive and the less purposeful we are. So, know yourself. Learn what distractions you fall into when life gets a little hard or when you keep putting off a tough decision.
Step two is to embrace the 10-10-10 rule, a concept developed by author Suzy Welch. It’s a game-changing way to make great decisions. The idea is simple. Every time you need to make a decision about what you’re going to spend time on, consider the consequences of your choice – in ten minutes, in ten weeks, and in ten years.
Suddenly, the distracting short-term choice looks less attractive. Sure, giving your kid candy will make the next ten minutes smoother. But in ten weeks? Now things look different.
So next time you drift toward Netflix instead of finishing off that tough but rewarding project, check yourself. Apply the 10-10-10 rule. When you do, you’ll see that distraction is holding you back from a life rich in what you’re truly made to do.
Redefine success around who you really are.
Have you ever felt under pressure to succeed? Do you sometimes see #GirlBoss or other inspirational social media posts and experience a kind of weird mixture of emotions, like feeling inspired and overwhelmed at the same time?
If so, you’re certainly not alone. As a result of her job and profile, Jordan meets countless young women on campuses and at conferences all over the United States. And in conversations, a common theme emerges: pressure to succeed; pressure to be the absolute best version of themselves.
The key message here is: Redefine success around who you really are.
The truth is that true success in a purposeful life isn’t about sharing selfies from your perfect job, or leading multi-million dollar companies, or bossing it like a rock star. Success is about living in the way, and as the person, God made you to be. And that means that the exhausted mama desperate for a break, or the stressed student struggling to keep up, is just as much a success as the high-fliers. Why? Because they keep showing up for their lives, every day. These women aren’t proving anything to the outside world. But they’re absolutely giving it their best.
You can do this in a very practical way by setting daily goals that define what true success in your life really is. First, go large. What has God put in your heart? What do you truly dream of achieving in life? Then think small. What are the things that add up to a successful day?
If you need some inspiration, Jordan’s daily goals include the following: Stay off her phone and spend quality time with her husband after 6 p.m. Move her body for a half an hour. Take time to talk to God. And write a thousand words.
This is a way to define and pursue a kind of success that’s about achieving meaning and purpose every day. It’s a better way to live. The woman who gets her self-worth from her status or wealth or from what other people think of her is a slave to the pressure to keep it up. But the woman who redefines her success can focus on what really matters. And isn’t that what we all truly want?
The key message in these summaries:
The modern world is full of pressure – from constant distraction to the lure of comparison to the feeling that everyone else has got life all sorted out. But if you focus on true purpose, and on living your best life, then you can find a truly fulfilling life – right here, right now.
Find a healthy community.
A major source of pressure and stress in our lives is the people who surround us. So, take a look at your circle. Are you getting life affirmation? Or just an endless cycle of comparison and proving yourself? If it’s the latter, try to build deeper friendships with the people who really want the best for you.
About the author
Jordan Lee Dooley is the bestselling author of Own Your Everyday. She has built a massive online following by sharing practical tools to equip the everyday woman for an intentional life. She enjoys a simple life and calls Indiana home.