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Book Club - Own Your Everyday

Cover of the book Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley, with a picture of her smiling

This month for our book club, we read Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley. Dooley is a podcaster and influencer who has written two books, including this one.

Own Your Everyday is all about how to find your purpose in life. It focuses on finding the purpose within yourself instead of being influenced by outside definitions of success and happiness. The daily pressures of the unspoken competition with others, social media, and the expectations we put on ourselves can hold us back from fulfilling our real purpose.

The author is a Christian, so naturally she does speak about the religious aspect of finding your purpose, but I do think you can still find plenty of value in the book even if you aren’t religious.

Let's dive right in to our key takeaways.

1) Your Purpose Comes From Within

In order to find your purpose in life, you have to look within yourself and get to know your own heart and mind. When we try to find a purpose from the outside, it always ends in disappointment. For example, if you think your purpose in life is to become CEO of a company, you will inevitably be disappointed if that dream doesn’t come to fruition. And when you reach that goal, what becomes of your purpose?

Dooley talks about how we often let labels dictate our purpose. Sometimes it’s a label based on your career - “I’m a lawyer.” “I’m a realtor.” This label becomes your purpose - but is your whole purpose in life really to be a lawyer or a realtor or whatever job you hold? What about all the other aspects of your life?

Other times, these labels have to do with certain aspects of your personality or talents. “I’m the girl who always gets straight A’s.” “I’m the one who’s always super organized.” “I’m the one who takes charge and leads.”

Those labels can be even more detrimental because when you make a mistake or fail to live up to the expectations created either by yourself or others, you feel like you’ve lost your purpose instead of just making a mistake. What happens when the girl who always gets an A gets a B?

When you build your purpose based on what’s within yourself, you don’t have to worry that you’ve failed in your purpose when you lose your job or get a B. Your purpose isn’t built on just one aspect of yourself. It’s all the parts of you working together.

“Your purpose begins with being 100 percent you - you showing up every single day in spite of the things you believe disqualify you from trying. This starts with the stuff inside you and the raw and real you, not the fluff on the outside of the puffed-up version of you.”

2) You Probably Don’t Have One Big Purpose

When it comes to finding your purpose, many of you probably feel like it has to be some grand ideal that you spend your whole life working toward. There may be some of us destined for these big goals, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself!

If you are so focused on finding this one big purpose, you can miss out on what’s happening in your life right now. Wherever you are, you can do good in the world. Sometimes your purpose might be to help your neighbor or your family through a hard time. Other times, it may be to lead a big organization through a chaotic merger. Each of these purposes is important in their own way.

“Purpose lies in how we show up in our spheres of influence and how people are loved by us. No platform is required for that. No big name, fancy organization, or impressive job is necessary. Showing up can be done by both the broke college student and the established entrepreneur. Instead of trying to show off, each of us can choose to show up and give what we have.”

You can also fulfill many purposes throughout your life. Your life when you were a teenager is probably a lot different than where you are now, so chances are your purpose is different too. Accepting your purpose no matter what your circumstances are will help you be more fulfilled.

3) To Fulfill Your Purpose, Change Your Mindset

The middle section of the book talks about how to overcome various roadblocks that stop you from having the right mindset for living your purpose. These include imposter syndrome, disappointment, shame, comparison, perfectionism, and distraction.

Even if you already feel like you know your purpose, these chapters had some really insightful advice for creating a healthy mindset. I want to share some of my favorite quotes from these chapters that really stuck with me.

Imposter Syndrome - “When our passions and roles don’t quite fit into a particular label or aren’t even entirely clear to us, insecurity sets in. I think we cling to labels more than we realize because labels give us something to quickly impress others with.”

Oof. As someone who stays at home with my kids and does part time work on the side, this one really hits home. Saying I’m “just” a stay at home mom feels shameful to me, even though it shouldn’t. So I’m quick to explain and offer other labels for myself like “freelance marketer.” It’s definitely a big area of struggle for me. How do you rely on labels to define yourself?

Shame - “Girl, please remain committed to your goals, but please do not become so obsessed with them that you forget there is more to your worth than whether you hit that number or go to the gym five days a week.”

While this isn’t something I personally struggle with now, I know how easy it can be to get so wrapped up in achieving a goal that you make it your whole worth. If you don’t meet your goal, that doesn’t mean you’re worth any less. Dust yourself off and try again.

Perfectionism - “For those caught up in perfectionism (guilty here), love is not a refuge, because it feels conditional, as if receiving love depends on our performance. Do you see that? That’s the ultimate problem for perfectionists - love is something we earn when we perform well.”

I could write a whole book about how true this rang for me. I never realized that I was so hard on myself because I unconsciously felt like I had to earn love from others. If this is a struggle for you too, I hope that we can both find some grace for ourselves.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to like this book when I started reading it this month. But in the end, it really brought to light some of the aspects of myself that I prefer to keep squashed down in the dark.

If you're willing to do some self-reflection, Own Your Everyday can help you really examine how you look at your purpose in life and offer ways to overcome some of those difficult obstacles to happiness like comparison and perfectionism.

What did you think of the book? Let us know below in the comments!

Next month, we'll be reading The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama.

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