Resilience, Energy and Purpose: A Beautiful Formula for That “Feel Good” Feeling

“My husband tells me that I’m just getting old … but I think that’s because he moans and groans about his aches and pains all the time. But I just don’t bounce back or have the energy I used to. And I can tell something’s not right,” My client said with a tone that bordered on distress.

Because I’d seen her years ago, I remembered how resilient she was, and was always envious of her high energy levels. 

I validated her concerns and asked her to give me some examples of what that looked like.

“Well, here’s an example … I was reading about the Power of Purpose. I’ve heard about it for years, and finally I have time where I could actually, do it. To be honest, I’m worried I won’t have the energy for it.”

I could fully relate to her concerns. When we begin to lose our resiliency our “bounce back” … it’s indeed concerning. And often lack of energy and lack of resilient resiliency go hand in hand. 

I love this definition of resiliency:

“A resilient person is someone with strong coping skills. Someone who’s able to garner resources, request help, and find strategic ways to manage whatever they are facing. They refuse to fall into despair, or to hide from issues by using unhealthy coping strategies (justifying, denying, drinking, shutting down, just to name a few). Resiliency inspires people to face life’s difficulties head-on, in a healthy way! They’re able to pivot on a dime, like when reacting to catch themselves, and return to the best version of themselves immediately.”

To do this requires energy. The energy to bounce back, to turn on a dime to step into your best self, to become resourceful.

Research has shown that finding purpose activates the centers of the brain that provide energy and open the executive function and strategic thinking required for resiliency.

“If you also want to optimize your experience of life, to really squeeze every drop of goodness from it, you’re going to need the golden key to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge. Because with this key you’ll be able to turn your life from a never-ending struggle to an epic adventure. Success, happiness, beautiful relationships, fulfillment, purpose, and vitality all become easier to attain and experience.” Matt Furlonger

That golden key is… the resiliency combined with purpose.

I decided to share Morgan’s story with my client, hoping it might inspire her to believe that purpose could restore her resiliency and energy.

I’m sharing the story with you too. First, because it’s a lovely story about purpose. But also to inspire you if you feel like you have lost your resiliency and/or energy. Let purpose bring it back!

Resilience is a precious skill. People who have it have three advantages: a belief they can influence life events, a tendency to find meaning and purpose in life’s turmoil, and a conviction they can learn from positive and negative experiences.” —Amanda Ripley, Journalist

1. What was your trauma?

“I’m not sure that anyone watching a movie of my childhood would say that there was any trauma. There were no belts, there were no moments of horrible abuse.”

“I was the middle child, so I guess you could say I had ‘middle child stuff’. I did feel like I had to compete for attention, but not because my older siblings were high achievers. But because at least one of them was seriously mentally ill. The other one was too, but not as dramatic.”

“I felt like since I was deemed ‘normal’ there were sky-high expectations.”

“One of my younger siblings was also mentally ill, and the other younger one … partially. Of course we didn’t call any of it mental illness back then. But now I know that there was a lot of the bipolar spectrum in the family, a lot of depression and anxiety, and even some delusional thinking.”

“Perhaps that’s why the high expectations were placed upon me. I had to do well in school and worked hard to do so. But it was never enough.”

“I played sports all the way through school and was expected to perform well. I did. I was a top scorer in basketball, and I helped my team win the state championship. But it wasn’t enough.” 

“I played in the band and was expected to do well in UIL competitions. I did. But that wasn’t adequate. I should have made it to nationals.”

“I can’t remember either of my parents ever congratulating me or telling me how well I did. But I can remember the lectures of how I should’ve done more. I should’ve done better. I would never get anywhere in life if I didn’t really dig in.”

“Looking back, I can somewhat understand. The craziness in our household was slightly overwhelming. Perhaps my parents needed me to make their offspring pool look better.”

“All I know is that I had this deep, daunting ‘knowing’ that no matter what I did, I would never be enough.”

“When I say that I really worked at it… I really did! After school, after band rehearsals, after basketball practice, I would go to the city park and shoot hoops for hours. The band Director would meet me at 6 AM to let me in the band hall so I could practice for two hours before school started. I spent weekends in the library to keep my grades high.”

“I think more than anything else, I just wanted them to recognize what I was doing to try to become the best in every arena of my life.”

“By the time I left for college, I had full ride scholarships, but what I did not have was any motivation left.”

“Although there wasn’t a moment when this happened … at some point, I decided to ‘settle’. All I know is I was tired, I had no energy left, and I didn’t care about much of anything.”

“In college, I got mono and stopped playing sports. I think if that happened in high school, I would’ve just kept playing and found the energy somewhere. But it was all gone. “

“I missed a lot of class because I was pretty sick. I got really behind in my schoolwork. I just didn’t have the drive to get my grades back up, so I decided it was OK to make B’s and C’s.”

“I had met a young man that I was really good friends with. All of our friends would say that we were perfect together and we should get married. I didn’t think I was ‘good enough,’ so I settled for a friendship.”

“Then the unthinkable happened. He went on a guys trip to the river, and drowned in a freak accident.”

“I couldn’t seem to recover from that.”

“My energy was drained, my bounce back was gone, and somehow my drive had bitten the dust.”

“I did just enough to graduate and got a job teaching. I believe that I did a good job with the kids I had in my class through the years. But I lived in shame, knowing that I could’ve done better. I could’ve done more.”

“It had become the theme of my life.”

“I was a shell of the teenager I’d been. All of my dreams were gone, and I was just doing my best to put one foot in front of the other.  I often looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself what had happened to that girl I once was?”

“I think it would be fair to say that I was drifting through life, with no meaning, no purpose … and had no idea how to get my life back. All I know is that I longed for more. I had no idea what that meant. And no energy to tackle it.”

As I read Morgan’s story, I fully understood why she would not call anything about her history traumatic. However, lack of validation is traumatic in that it steals our awe for life. It steals our worth and value. It steals the belief that who we are matters.

The missing validation and chiding that who she was and what she accomplished was never enough … eventually burned her out and left her abandoned in a dry desert of a meaninglessness existence.

Until she found her purpose …

2. What is your purpose?

“At that same time in my life, a friend of mine was very successful in a nutritional company. She’d gotten me started taking some of the products, and told me she thought that the new program they were advertising, the Power of Purpose, might be very helpful for me.”

“I had already seen the flyer about it that had come in my product box. I remember thinking that it might help me, but I just didn’t have anything left in me. She shared she had not been to the program, but that she had done your coach training, and she knew that this workshop would be good. But I just couldn’t commit.”

“Then when my next product box came, it had the special offer to buy a ticket and bring a friend for free. It’s not that I couldn’t afford it. But I thought that perhaps it was a ‘message’ to me. I didn’t have enough left in me to initiate the conversation, but I told myself if she got the same flyer and asked me to go again, I would give her half the ticket price and we would go together.”

“Her product box must have arrived at the same time because within moments, she was calling me.”

“I have no idea what I expected, but it’s not like I arrived with high hopes! I enjoyed the opening exercise enough to just settle in.“

“What got me was the ‘studying one another’s eyes to reproduce them on a canvas’ exercise. For the first time, maybe ever… I felt ‘seen’. Not for what I had accomplished but just because of who I was.”

“When I came to the point in the circle where I was facing my partner for the program, my friend who had invited me … I felt like I was enough. I can assure you I had never experienced that before. EVER! I wondered where it even came from?” 

“Why was I feeling it?”

“Why now?”

“I can’t even find words to express what I was feeling. Acceptance? Inspired? Hopeful?”

“You must understand that by this time I had been drifting for about 15 years. Low energy, no bounce back, no meaning, just getting through each day.”

“Then when you gave the instruction to turn to that page and just let the letter flow out of me … I thought I might be tapping into that girl I once was. I felt it. It was almost like an electrical charge in my body. I’ll never forget that moment.”

“A ray of sunshine had somehow found its way to the dark cavern in my soul.”

“All of a sudden, I remembered. I remembered what it was like to win. I remembered what it was like to excel. I remembered what it was like to pour myself into something and truly shine.”

“But remembering wasn’t enough. I just didn’t think I had it in me any longer. It was gone.”

“So, you can imagine my surprise when the words just poured out of my heart and onto the paper … my purpose is…

To step back into all I was created to be in order to help the weary to renew their strength, reignite their shine, and become a light to the world.”

“But do you know what the really cool thing was? At that moment, I didn’t even doubt that I could.”

“I hope you don’t think that I fell into the mental illness that was prevalent in my family when I share this moment. I had seen that you were walking around the room, not trying to read what anybody was writing. But I saw you put your hand gently on people’s shoulders as you passed by. My guess is you were wishing them well or maybe saying a prayer.”

“As I finished writing my purpose, I felt your hand on my shoulder and thought it was a real confirmation!”

“Then I looked up and saw you were on the other side of the room. No one was behind me. Some may think I’m crazy. I called it a ‘God moment’.”

3.  What difference, has finding your purpose made in your life?

“The bounce back that occurred at the Power of Purpose was just the beginning. By Monday evening after that weekend, I’d hired a personal trainer, signed up for another of your programs, and done a massive clean out of the junk food from my refrigerator and pantry.”

“Those were just some of the things I knew I could do to set my life in a different direction.”

“When I turned to the classroom, I begin to study the eyes of my students. To validate them. To validate the lights in those who had one, and to bring forth light in the darkness for those who didn’t.”

“I went from being an average teacher, to the Teacher of the Year. I didn’t need the accolade this time, I was just so grateful for the students I was reaching, and the difference I could see in their lives.”

“Lots of good things began to happen. I started playing basketball at the community center. I started playing in the band at church. I lost the 40 pounds I had gained, and I had the vibrant energy (that I had once had) again.”

“I was always looking for ways to share my purpose. At band practice one Tuesday night, a really nice man I had chatted with several times commented on my energy levels.”

“I didn’t really tell him my story, but I did tell him that I hadn’t always been that way.”

“His response was: ‘Maybe we should have coffee after practice so you can share your secrets with me’.”

“It was a way to share my purpose, so I was ‘all in!’ That was the beginning of something I never believed would happen for me.”

“Seven years and two kids later, we are teaching a course we created for our church, and now we are taking it online as well. It is called ‘REIGNITE: For the Weary Who Are Ready to Take Flight’!”

“We have written a book that will be released in the fall of 2024.”

“Not only do we each have similar purposes, but we’ve joined them together in order to increase our impact and influence.“

“What would I say to your audience?”

 “If you are struggling with a void of energy, and you’ve lost your resiliency, your ‘bounce back’ is deflated … There is nothing to reignite it that’s more powerful than finding your purpose!”

“We’ve heard you’re bringing the power of purpose back! Although we can’t be there for your launch date, we plan to come in the very near future. It’s like coming full circle, bringing my husband to the program that set us up to meet.”

“If I had never lost my resiliency and energy, and then found it again in the Power of Purpose… He might not have ever initiated the conversation to get my secrets on recovering your energy.”

“I sure hope he will say thank you for your contribution to me heal and getting me ready for him! He’s a wonderful man, and I think most days he feels that way about me!” 

Morgan’s story highlights the truth in this quote from Matt Furlonger:

“Clear sense of purpose and direction brings fresh vitality, focus and deep pools of strength we can tap into during challenging times.”

Rohmaa Tahir, Clinical Psychologist writes:

“Let’s start by breaking down and understanding the complex relationship between purpose and output. When your goals and ambitions are clear, something spectacular happens inside your brain. Clarity triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical that creates motivation and a sense of reward, elevating your attitude and energy levels.”

We all love dopamine. It’s that “feel good” neurotransmitter that gives us that feeling of satisfaction and well-being.

But most of us seek it in unhealthy ways … linked by drinking, gambling, using pornography, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with loving dopamine. It activates energy, keeps us focused, and causes us to be more productive.

As Morgan’s story showed us this week, finding purpose can give us that release of dopamine.

And not only provide us with that “feel good” that finding purpose releases. But when we activate our purpose and live, it always helps others in some way. 

That gives a double dose of dopamine, while we are making the world a better place.

I hope Morgan’s story has inspired you to desire to seek your purpose. 

Remember, it comes with great side effects … like double doses of dopamine!

For more info on Power of Purpose, click here: