Like most, I had heard of the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and found the concept intriguing. However, I had never had the inclination to read it up until a few months ago.
I was catching up with a friend one afternoon when she told me about someone she knew who recently quit a corporate office job in New York and embarked on a 3-month journey to Europe and Africa to relax and regroup.
What made her story even more interesting was that she had decided on a theme for her trip : “Do, Be, Give”, drawing inspiration from the life-story in the book.
I was going through a turbulent time in my life. Unsatisfied with the way things were, hearing this story gave me the impetus to make a change. I decided to also read the book and later went on a 3-month journey of my own. I would like to share my experience with you.
When I started my second Master’s degree in 2013, my goal was to land a job as a consultant at the end of the program. I applied to pretty much every consulting firm in the greater Amsterdam area and was met with either a rejection email, or —worse still, silence.
Self-doubt began to creep in: maybe I was too old, maybe I lacked a business background, maybe I was handicapped because I didn’t speak the local language, maybe I had picked the wrong major. With every rejection came new forms of doubt.
I landed a job as an analyst for a healthcare non-profit and for a while I got sidetracked from pursuing my original goal. My job was good enough, but I always had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and I wasn’t doing what I ought to be doing.
After I decided to act on the “Do, Be, Give” concept, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and resume applying for consulting jobs.
One day, out of the blue, I got a text from a friend about a job with the United Nations. Though I felt like it was a long shot, I applied. A little over 3 months later, I am packing my bags for a two-year adventure as a consultant for the UN in Zambia.
Challenge: What’s the one thing you’ve always dreamt of doing but haven’t gotten round to yet? Do you dream of starting a business, traveling the world or going back to school? What is stopping you? If money and time weren’t obstacles, what is the one thing you’d do with your life right now?
Focus intently on your goal, let the attainment of it motivate you daily and have the courage to go for it.
In a previous article, I talked briefly about my struggle with depression. For me, this disorder is like knowing the sun is shining but not feeling its warmth. It has not only affected my mental and emotional state but also my physical and social well-being.
Alongside therapy and support from friends and family, I chose to start medication during an especially tough period last year. This helped for a while; I was able to get through the day but on the flip side, I felt like my life was on mute. I could finally see all the colours but I couldn’t hear the music. Even though I no longer felt sad, I didn’t feel happy either.
For the “Do, Be, Give” challenge, I have made the decision to wean myself off of medication* because I feel I am at a place in life where I am stronger, both mentally and physically. I want to know how it feels to be free from medication: to eat and sleep “normally”. It was a huge, scary step. I kept asking myself; what if I failed? What if things became worse again? So many what-ifs.
I prepared myself for the unknown and took a leap of faith. So far, so good. I feel free and some days, I am happy. Other days are still a struggle, but I’m getting to where I want to be. This experience has strengthened my self-confidence, and ability to think and act in my best interests.
Challenge: Who are you are now, and who do you want to be in future? What do you need to do to become that person? Any limiting self-beliefs you need to let go of? What truths do you need to embrace to finally inhabit the state of being you have been dreaming of?
For a long time, I toyed with the idea of starting a non-profit organisation. I wanted to help improve the lives of others in a meaningful and engaging way. I knew what I wanted to do, but couldn’t do it alone.
A close friend got married this year and I had the privilege of being one of her bridesmaids. As fate would have it, one of us turned out to be a young doctor with a passion for non-profit and youth development. I went out on a limb and shared my vision with her of wanting to create an NGO based in Nigeria. She embraced the idea wholeheartedly and this is how, Give Girls A Chance was born.
Our goal is to provide educational and mentorship opportunities to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they too may enjoy access to and benefits of quality education. My working on this project has given me a new friend and a co-visionary: we are one inch closer to seeing the manifestation of our dream.
Challenge: What change do you wish to see in your community and in the world? Are you willing to give up something to see this dream become a reality?
If there is something you’ve been meaning to do, find the courage to do it. If there’s a state of being that you’ve been meaning to inhabit, find the fortitude to embrace it. If there’s a cause dear to your heart, find the time to give to it wholeheartedly.
I think the beauty of the “Do, Be, Give” concept lies in its simplicity. I urge you to take 3 days or 3 weeks or even 3 months off your time to sit and contemplate on what it is you really want to do with your time and talents; who you want to be in life or how to embrace who you already are and dare to share that with the world.
You, as much as everyone else in the world, deserve to have a beautiful life. What are you willing to do to have it? Apart from Do, Be, Give, what other words can you think of that would go well together and inspire you to make a positive change in your life?
*Please note that I am not a mental health professional neither am I recommending that anyone on medication stop taking it. I am also not suggesting that you cannot be free just because you take medication. I am simply sharing my experience and how it affected me.