The Real Reason I Created PieceWorx
Tornadic storms are rolling through the area as I write this. The air is warm and humid.
Some people might be afraid, but weather grounds me the way the presence of a parent grounds a child. It reminds me that I am not the center of the universe, that there is something bigger than I am.
If you have read the About page then you know that I created PieceWorx Writing Studio out of my own frustration while writing a novel. But you don't know the rest of the story, as the great Paul Harvey used to say.
The rest of the story involves something bigger than us both.
At first, PieceWorx Writing Studio had no name. I only wanted to solve my own problem. Before that, I had been writing my novel for about six weeks. That was enough time to fall in love with my characters. I couldn't wait to spend time with them each day.
It was a sacrifice for me to stop writing and commit myself to developing the software. Someday I will write that novel, but something greater was guiding my choices: a higher purpose.
Do you know the purpose of your life? Do you know why you write? To what end? Are you charting the course of your life? Or are you a rudderless ship on the ocean blown this way and that by the wind?
For many years, I felt a deep need to know the purpose of my life. As a child I had such big dreams. Some of those dreams have come true and others have not. But even the dreams that came true, came at a price. It wasn't as easy as just growing up, which is what every child believes, that just growing up will give you the power to be anything you want to be.
Yet as we grow older we limit our dreams by reality, by what we think is realistic or possible. We do it to avoid disappointment. We do it to keep from looking like a nut job to our friends and family. Yet we are always moved by the one who had a dream, took a risk, overcame the obstacles and made it happen.
I have achieved many things in my life, but the satisfaction gained from achieving each goal or dream has been fleeting. I still find myself desperately clawing toward whatever it is that will allow me to finally say "I have arrived!".
I'm not sure that day will ever come.
Perhaps it really is all about the journey and not the destination.
In my case, I have found my journey pulling me down diverging paths. On the one hand, I love science and technology. On the other, I love writing. There have been many inflection points in my life where I had to choose one or the other. I have generally chosen science and technology over writing.
But those choices have come at a price--the price of only partially living the life I was meant to live.
I have family, I have faith, I have a career. But something has continued to call to me like the Sirens to Odysseus.
And so about eight years ago, I found myself actively seeking the purpose of my life. I spent a summer reading weighty books. I meditated. I journaled.
I wanted some clarity about who I was and what I was here for, what I was supposed to do. I wanted something that could be an anchor for me and give deeper meaning to the choices I make in life.
But eventually, I gave up. I had found no clarity.
I continued floating through life, like everyone else. I got up every morning and worked. I hung out with friends and family. I watched TV shows and went on bike rides. You know, all the stuff people do in life.
But even though I had given up my quest, something had not yet given up on me. Or perhaps my searching had set something in motion.
One morning in late summer when the days had begun to cool, I suddenly awoke and sat bolt upright in bed.
The sun shone brightly into the bedroom and I began to read the words in my mind's eye.
I spoke them aloud: "To help people see the world in different ways in order to promote personal growth and change."
"To help people see the world in different ways in order to promote personal growth and change."
There was no book in my hands. There was no sheet of paper in front of me. Yet I was reading.
I had no idea where these words came from except that they seemed to be written on my mind.
I jumped out of bed and wrote down the words I had just uttered.
For the next several days, those words stuck with me like an especially potent dream, but I knew I hadn't been dreaming.
I'm sure you have your theory for what happened to me that morning. I have some theories, too, but I don't need an explanation.
My experience was the climax of my vision quest. Those words were not something I consciously chose or fabricated for myself. They were given to me, written out on the tablet of my mind.
At the time, I knew little about personal growth and change and certainly felt clueless when it came to helping others grow and change, but still the words resonated with me. The very fact that I did not fully understand seemed to prophesy my future, to lay out a path, a direction.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself writing a software program which I hoped would solve my novel writing problems.
One day during a morning meditation, I realized how much more I could fulfill my purpose if I were to empower dozens, thousands or millions of other writers to tell their stories.
If I tell a story myself, it is just one person's voice. There are only so many ways I can influence people.
But what if I empowered lots of story tellers? What if I could play a part in helping many people tell their stories and share their insights? How much more would I be fulfilling my purpose to help people see the world in different ways?
I knew then that I had to make this software for other writers, too.
I know my purpose. It was given to me that morning eight years ago.
To the best of my ability, I'm living out those words and I am rewarded in return.
What about you? Do you know your purpose? I believe everyone has a higher purpose, a calling.
By empowering writers, I'm fulfilling my greater purpose and it feels great to know I'm doing that.
If you aren't yet sure what your purpose is, then I invite you to borrow mine for a while, at least until you have a little more clarity on your own.
Join me in helping people grow and change through stories. Join me in helping people see and experience the world differently.
There is no greater teaching tool or more immersive experience than stories--other than life itself, of course, which still doesn't afford us the ability to live multiple lives the way stories do.
I hope I've inspired you today to discover your life's purpose. It's never too late. It's never too early.
When you find your purpose you will know it. Or should I say, when it finds you?