Many of us go through life wondering whether we made a difference or not and we ask ourselves what's my purpose? During my service as a U.S. Marine I had a purpose and believed I was making a difference in this world. I never joined for the money or recognition. I joined because I wanted to serve and once I did I realized that I was part of something much great than myself. My chest stuck out a little more more, I had a strut in my step and was proud to tell people who I was. My life was fulfilled because I was serving my country and the needs of others rather than just for myself. I was surrounded by like minded men and women who strived to be better than they were yesterday. We supported and sharpened one another and more importantly we set our differences aside in order to work together and accomplish our objectives. 

Once my contract was up I was ready to take on the world and had so much ambition and optimism. I did not think about my purpose, surrounding myself with the right people or feeding my mind with the right knowledge. As any stubborn Marine thought, I would just get out and do! Well as many of you may be aware life grabs a hold of you and doesn't care were you come from, who you are or where you are going. For some of us life can be full of despair and my life was no different. It seemed that the farther away I was from my time as an active duty Marine the more I lost my way. My optimism began to dwindle away and I became angry. My ambition and zeal turned into a drive just to survive. The standards of my life began to lower and I was making excuses to live the way I thought I should live. I truly felt like my world was crumbling, but because of what was in me, the character and leadership traits that were forged in me during my service to my country I fought to survive.

There is a difference between being alive and living. Clearly, I was just alive and I needed to change that.  In my journey I have realized that my purpose is not what I do but what I live. What I do on daily basis should feed my purpose. When I realized this things began to change for me. I felt like I woke up from a monotonous dream and was able to see clearer. Identifying your purpose is a process in of itself. It's about feeding your mind, body and spirit with those things that build  you up, which requires you to remove distractions. I decided that anything in my life that would hinder my growth in any way would be cut out. I quickly learned that time management wasn't about making time for more things, instead it was about making time for what was important to me. Prioritizing become efficient because I was able to identify those things that wasted my time and quickly removed them from my day. But, the biggest change in my life was my perspective.

As I fed my mind with purposeful information I began to discover that while I may not be able to change my circumstances I can change my perspective of them. John Assaraf said "If you want to change your results don't focus on changing your behaviors instead focus on changing your beliefs that drive your behavior." This statement spoke to me on multiple levels, because I realized that my destructive behavior that I felt entitled to was a belief. I believed that I needed an outlet for my frustration, anger and disappointment. More specifically I was entitled to whatever outlet would help me numb the pain in my life, which led me to being destructive. You see, I never dealt with the real issues in my life instead I acted out and shut everyone and everything out. What I thought I was doing was persevering, instead I was in survival mode and it prevented me from experiencing life. Perseverance is defined as continued effort or steadfastness to achieve something despite opposition. How can I persevere when my actions were causing destruction? The mind is very complicated and when we attempt to shut off from the pain we actually shut off from everything else and miss out on the wonderful things God has placed in our life. It goes back to perspective and we need to focus on the blessings in our life instead of all the negative, even when we think the negative out weights the positive.

 In order to identify our purpose we need to experience the good and the bad. I truly believe that God gave us emotion to experience life and to learn. Our perspective determines the path we take and we need to have the perspective that in the midst of our obstacles lives opportunity and that is how we grow. This opens our hearts and minds to identify what we are made for. What I experienced through my obstacles, and frankly still experience, can be summed up in one word, fear. I feared the unknown, fear of failure, fear God wound't answer my prayers, fear of (fill in the blank). We need to face our fear, overcome it, and not give into it. Instead we need to feed our purpose and surround ourselves with positive reinforcements. "Fear blinds you from the very thing that can save you." - Willie George.

Omar Fuentes - Semper Fi Project