“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

What does this mean to you? What exactly does it mean to have “come alive”? It is not the fact that you are conscious, have a heartbeat, and are breathing. I believe it is that exhilarating feeling — that sense of passion, of purpose that we have when we are doing what we love.

I see two key aspects to having “come alive.”  The first is truly being in “the moment” on a regular basis; losing yourself in whatever you are doing, as I was in the above photo. I am not a gifted drummer, yet in that moment at the Alive Center’s grand opening, I let loose and was lost in the moment… I felt truly alive. The second is grander: It is feeling alive in what you do–in who you are. The focus of this blog is on the latter.

We all know people who are truly alive: People who walk into a room and light it up; people who so easily love life; people who are in the flow of life and are sharing their gifts with the world. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, Oprah Winfrey, John Lennon, Mayor Pradel, your vibrant neighbor… the list goes on. What sets these people apart from the masses? How are they so different? One of the main things that they have and exhibit is passion and purpose. Purpose guides us while passion ignites us.

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It is why you were born and how you become most truly alive.”


We can, and should, create space to allow ourselves to thrive and flourish. When we are living in the flow of who we are at our core, life is easier and more fun. It is about you—about you being fulfilled, you being happy. It is about popping out of bed each day excited for what is before you. I tell my boys all of the time that I don’t care what they choose for a career. I just want them to choose something that they are going to enjoy since they will most likely be doing it for 30 to 40 years. 

Yet we do not live on this planet alone and thus it is also about the greater good. We are a single part of a larger whole, a drop of water in a vast ocean. When we have the courage to allow our best selves out and bring them into the world, we make the world a better place. Stop for a moment and imagine a world where we bring our best selves every day. What a wonderful world it would be!

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

–Pablo Picasso

If you are one of the lucky few who are already in the magical space of purposeful flow, then continue to flow, continue to thrive, continue to nourish yourself while you bless the world. For the rest of you though, the first question is always where to start? How do you find your purpose, your soul’s calling? One way is to go inward. The answers you seek are not, I dare say, on Google, but within you. There is a quiet, eternal place of wisdom inside of you that knows what makes your heart sing. Take time each and every day just to be quiet and see what comes. The great news is that there are so many ways to do this. Figure out what works best for you. I know people who love to paint; they get lost in it. Others who like to play music or write poetry; and yet another group finds walking or running to be their centered place. Figure out how to get to your centered space and visit it as often as you can.

If you do not know how, try mediation. Mediation is a tool that helps you to quiet your mind. I used to think it was weird before I began practicing it, but now I realize that it is the most natural thing in the world. A quiet mind is a beautiful thing! I love nothing more than connecting to that place of stillness, of wisdom. The bottom line is that you need to give your soul space to talk to you.

Another way is to begin a thorough investigation of what makes you feel truly alive.  It sounds obvious but many of us ignore our hearts calling in an effort to do what we think we are supposed to do. Your heart will not lead you astray. Take the task seriously and write down the things that make you feel alive. Start by looking back at those times in your life where you felt most alive and journal about what you were doing.  What was it about the time or event that made you feel alive? I did the exercise years ago and realized that I love working in teams. I thrive in a team environment, particularly leading teams. Then pay attention to the now and start to try more new things, keep lists, journal, etc. The answers will come to you. These are just a couple of ideas, there are more, but the important thing is that you set out on a quest to find what makes your heart sing.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”


This is your task: Don’t listen to anyone else; just listen to yourself. You are unique, and one of a kind; there is no one else out there quite like you. Don’t let the true you — the powerful you — get lost or bogged down by fear or opinions. Don’t let society, your family or friends tell you who you should be. Only you know! My life’s purpose is inspiring others to connect with what makes them come alive. I am in the flow of my purpose and it is a wondrous thing!

And it is important to realize that your purpose, or gift, does not have to manifest through a career; your purpose can shine through service or hobby. It does not matter how you bring your gifts, just bring them. Discover who you are — who you have always been – and find the courage to share it with the world. As Howard Thurman says “What the world needs is people who have come alive!”