Breadcrumbs of Passion Can Put Food on the Table by Brad Swift

In 1995 I attended a retreat to explore the spiritual laws of prosperity, where I learned that everyone has a divine life purpose. Returning home, I knew that part of my own life purpose was to assist others in identifying and living true to theirs. I decided to follow that breadcrumb of purpose and passion to see where it would take me.

A few months later, in an effort to bring more of this purpose to my professional life as a freelance journalist, I created Project Purpose: To write and publish articles about people and institutions whose lives and missions are dedicated to a bold and inspired purpose or vision.

Even though I’d only written one or two profiles in six years of freelancing, I was excited about redirecting my writing career by following the passion I found in exploring my life purpose. Until now, fellow writers and editors had known me as a former small animal veterinarian who wrote about pets, animals, and health-related issues.

Several months later, while attending a second retreat, I met Bo and Sita Lozoff, founders of the Human Kindness Foundation. After listening to Bo’s keynote talks, I knew this quietly powerful man had a message many more people needed to hear. I introduced myself and said I planned to write an article about his work of reawakening the spiritual nature of prisoners through his Prison-Ashram Project. At the time, I didn’t have a clue for whom I was going to write such an article. Surely none of my pet magazine editors would be interested.

Still, I persevered along the purposeful path by sending a barrage of query letters about Bo to every magazine I thought might be interested in sharing the wisdom of this modern day sage. A few weeks later I received a call from Jon Adolph, then editor-in-chief of New Age Journal, asking me to write a feature, even though I’d never written anything for them before. I leaped at the chance.

It was one of the most marvelous writing experiences of my life. I loved conducting the research, including a visit to the Human Kindness Foundation and an “impossible” telephone interview with an inmate in one of this country’s highest security prisons. The writing was exhilarating, and even the revisions were nearly painless. And then I received a check from New Age more than double what I’d previously received for any one article. That’s when I knew I was onto something BIG about following the breadcrumbs of my purpose and passion.

That assignment was just the beginning. One of my intentions in writing Project Purpose articles was to inspire others to live more purposeful lives as well. I didn’t realize until several years later that one of the people most inspired into action was me.

In interviewing dozens of people living on purpose, I began to see that many of them were expressing their life purpose through service to others and doing so in some structured way, whether a nonprofit or for profit enterprise. I began to think I could do the same. Once again, a Project Purpose article played a key role.

This assignment on “Living Simply in a Complex World” came from Yoga Journal. Since I’d identified my own life purpose as a life of purposeful service, mindful abundance balanced with simplicity and spiritual serenity, this was a perfect assignment. When they asked me to write a resource sidebar, I included Life On Purpose, the name of the organization I wanted to launch.

Shortly after the article appeared as a Yoga Journal cover story, the phone rang. I answered in my accustomed way, “Hello, this is Brad.”

“Is this Life On Purpose?” an enthusiastic voice asked on the other end of the line.

I paused, momentarily confused, and looked around my office. Well, yes, I guess it was. “Yes, this is Life On Purpose. How may I be of service?”

The gentleman, a California psychologist, had just read the article and resonated with the message, especially the idea of living a life of service, simplicity and spiritual serenity. “Could you send me some information about your organization?” he asked.

Again, with just a brief hesitation to take a deep gulp I replied, “Sure. I’ll send something to you in just a few days.” Of course, I didn’t have even a business card or brochure at that time. But I did have a lot of ideas and pages of notes in my computer. So, I spent the next several days creating materials and, in the process, bringing Life On Purpose Institute into existence.

I’ve never looked back! Life On Purpose Institute has gone on help thousands of people clarify and live true to their life purpose. As the founder and Chief Visionary Officer, my days are filled with purpose, passion and play. I still don’t know where the breadcrumbs will ultimately take me, but I plan to enjoy every step along the way.