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Who we are determines what our purpose in life is.  Right?  Not necessarily.  It can just as easily work the other way – our purpose can define our identity.   Identity refers to who a person is likely to become while purpose refers to what one hopes to achieve (Bronk 2011).  The ideal is for purpose and identity to develop together during the teen years.  When things go right:    Let’s talk about Jane, a student who volunteers at a local animal shelter through a school requirement.  As she puts in her hours, she finds the work meaningful and comes to realize that her purpose in life is to protect and nurture animals.  Her purpose then begins to ...
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As a young child, Emily suffered from severe anxiety. As a result of this, she never ventured out of her comfort zone. In elementary school she found a safe haven in a very unexpected place. A woman from her church always told Emily that when she was having panic attacks Emily could go to her classroom. This woman taught special education. After time Emily began to enjoy going to her class. The teacher would let Emily assist her students. Over time, Emily started choosing to go help her instead of going to recess. Over the coming years, Emily continued to grow her connection to the special needs community.  By junior year of high school, Emily was babysitting ...
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When Sydney Martin was 10 years old she was diagnosed with Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis.  LCH is a type of blood cancer that affects roughly 1 in 200,000 children per year who are under the age of 10.  Sydney soon started chemotherapy to help ease her symptoms.  She was scared and the treatments made her feel awful. Before she got sick, Sydney had been making necklaces out of the rocks she found on the beaches of Lake Michigan.  When she realized how little LCH research was being done, Syd decided to sell these necklaces to raise money.  The proceeds of sales for her necklaces and other merchandise go to finding better treatments and a cure. What ...
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Anxiety in our world is on the rise. According to Ro bert Leahy, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychology at Weill-Cornell University Medical School, the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. Decade by decade, anxiety is increasing. Youth are particularly vulnerable here. The rise in anxiety stems from a variety of sources, but a key two serve as a double whammy. These days youth have less real relationships and more online connections. Both of these fuel unhappiness. Positive, strong relationships have been proven to be one of the greatest predictors of happiness. It’s ironic, ...
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The need for purpose lasts our entire lives.  It is one of the foundational elements required for human beings to thrive and lead meaningful lives. Studies have found that purpose helps us be happier and also live longer lives.  In fact, areas with the highest levels of centenarians, The Blue Zones, have found that these 100+ year old people are more likely to have a strong sense of purpose. Discovering My Purpose has a process that works for people of all ages and backgrounds.  Everyone is welcome to participate and can benefit from the self-exploration exercises listed in this site.  Our youth are in a place of dramatic need. For this reason, this ...
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