Dreaming and Finding My Purpose

These days there’s a lot of talk about how to build a meaningful life. Self-help books on the topic abound, and you’ll find no shortage of web articles claiming the secret 10 steps to finding your purpose.

But a fulfilling life doesn’t come by absorbing the advice from those around us. No book can tell you how to live your best life.

Finding your purpose takes hard work, dedication, self-awareness, the vulnerability to fail and the resilience to learn from mistakes.

If we want young girls to live their dreams and lead lives that are both rewarding and impactful, we have to help them develop the confidence to do that.

When I was younger I suffered from low self-esteem like so many girls. Even though I was talented, I felt I wasn’t good enough. My father didn’t take my creative interests seriously, instead pressuring me to devote more time to math.

What I needed at the time was encouragement. I needed someone to say, “Karen, your passions are wonderful. Let’s find a way to use them.” And luckily, I was blessed to receive that.

In middle school I got my first job doing graphic design for a family friend. Kathy paid me $8 an hour to make posters and newspaper ads for her church. What I remember most was how satisfying it felt. By exercising my natural talents, I found personal joy and also discovered that I could bring joy to others. In a small way, I was experimenting with the quote above—discovering your gift, developing it and giving it away.

I’m grateful to have been given that chance. By entrusting me with important work and inviting me to use my talents, Kathy gave me a lifelong gift of self-confidence.

I’ve had a number of Kathy’s throughout my life. They were teachers, bosses, friends and family members who saw what was special in me and encouraged me to show it. They helped me strive for excellence and pursue my natural interests.

My hope is that every young woman and girl can have a Kathy in her life too—a trusted mentor who helps her embrace, develop and apply her gifts.

Reflection Prompt:

  • Think of someone in your life who supported you as you explored your talents and dreams.
  • What impact did they have on your life? How can you pass that gift to others?

How You Can Help:

Let’s Encourage Girls to Claim Their Bold, Inspired Futures

Here are two things you can do right now to make sure that more girls get the support and opportunity they need to choose a life of empowerment.

  1. Spread an attitude of gratitude! Share this to your social media with your own story about a mentor who encouraged you to live your dream. Your voice amplifies the conversation about why supporting girls’ dreams matters!
  2. Pay it forward! Just as others’ support made a difference for you, you can change a girl’s life. By making a donation to the Dream It, Be It program, you’ll equip a girl to reach her full potential!

Interested in becoming a mentor for girls?


Karen-profile-pictureKaren Rauppius is our new LiveYourDream.org Coordinator. Her vision is to help women tell their stories and to develop pathways for volunteers to uplift the causes they care about. Karen previously worked at the Center for Courage & Renewal supporting leadership programs based in contemplative practice, and at the online  magazine Ignite the Sound. Karen manages the Your Dream Blog and Facebook and Twitter.


  • Yafit says:

    That is so true that people sometimes need this guidance of someone who has the experience.
    I think that every person has these moments in his life that only a sentence is enough to make them choose a certain path. and that sentence can come from a stranger.

  • Teri says:

    I love this article. Young girls need to know and understand what they can do in this world. Sometimes life moves so fast and adults are so pressured to support the families they forget to help out our youth. Young girls sometimes get lost in the big world and do not realize the potential they can obtain.

  • Eden says:

    Wow. I really loved this post. It’s inspiring me to find ways to give away my passion to others. There really ins’t anything more meaningful and powerful than that. I’m only 23 (still considered a “young adult”) and so I’m still finding ways to grow up to be a woman I can be proud of. And, I’m always on the look out for “Kathy’s”. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Abbey says:

    This is a very inspiring blog! I wish I were to go out and seek more confidence about myself growing up. I can relate to this article, and life feels so much better when you’re on track to finding yourself!

  • Durga says:

    I love this article.It inspire girls to be self confidence.

  • Tessa Ambridge says:

    Great article!

  • I think the hardest part of having a mentor, is finding a mentor. I mentored middle school girls in STEM fields a few years back, but there was such a shortage of mentors that the program I volunteered through closed down.

  • Alison says:

    I also suffered through much of my life with low self esteem. I was nearly 50 before it occurred to me that I was a success. It felt like flying! I became a different, better person. I believe all children, especially girls should be nurtured and praised and encouraged from a very young age.

  • Sasha says:

    Needed Article

  • Jennifer Doser says:

    I reposted this on my magazine, http://www.iammagazine.me. It think could be really beneficial to my readers. Thank you for your honesty – it’s very courageous!

  • Sandy says:

    Many times, parents forced their kids to run in a rat race where everyone is running without knowing their talent and skills. I glad you know. It is necessary to know in which field, we are good to get the best for ourselves.

  • Sandy says:

    This is a nice article. I loved it.

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