A map laid on a table surrounded by coffee cups. A person holds a pen over the map.

Finding Our Paths: Chasing the Pull

There is something that drives and motivates each of us in life. We may know what lies underneath our pull toward a purpose–one that’s designed specifically for us. Or we may just make the conscious decision to chase after the pull on our lives; knowing that it will lead us to the very things we want and need the most. Fulfillment.

I was curious about this idea when I first read about it on millenial wisdom blog Let’s Build Futures. LBF put a name to this feeling I’d been having of being drawn towards something else in life, even though my life was going fine. How could it be possible to feel like something’s off even when there’s nothing wrong? LBF called that feeling the Pull and describes it as our calling. Interested in talking more about this idea, LBF and I agreed to chat about our Pull and the things we’re doing to chase it.

You can read more of our conversation on the Let’s Build Futures blog. You can find LBF on Instagram @lets_build_futures

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What’s The Pull?

In her original post on The Pull, LBF said, “chasing The Pull is NOT like chasing a dream, it’s different. The Pull is intangible, invisible and sometimes incredibly frustrating. Imagine an invisible rope being lassoed around you, at moments in your life that rope is slack and you’re able to maneuver around and enjoy your day-to-day. In seasons of transition, the rope is taut, it pulls you out of your complacency and makes you uncomfortable. It tugs on you to leave where you were to follow something you can’t even see and have only begun to understand. That’s the pull.”

About Our Pulls

What are you being pulled towards?

A road map with two notebooks and a pen placed on the upper right section of the map. The top notebook is entitled Field Notes.
Hello I’m Nik @ Unsplash

LBF: I believe that I’ve always been pulled toward helping people through actively discussing the things that matter to them and to living a good life. I’ve always felt the world had a secret for each person to discover in their life and so it’s not only my job to uncover my own but to help others uncover theirs as well.

DRIFTY: I feel pulled towards people who are going through rough patches in life. I’m a big believer in quality of life and I feel like a “healer.” I see brokenness and I want to fix it. I don’t really know what it is beyond that, though. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent so much time rationalizing and trying to logically figure out what to do that I need to relearn what my inner voice sounds like.

When did you start feeling the Pull?

LBF: I started to feel the pull pretty young, I grew up really modest and would retreat inside myself to curve the feeling of being financially and physically different from my peers. But there were times when I would lay in the grass in the front yard of our home and just listen to the trees and stare into nature. I felt so at peace and like there was more to the world than where I was. That peaceful feeling of being a part of something larger than my own life has been a driving force and the pull in my life.

DRIFTY: I guess I’ve always felt it, but it really started nagging me in university, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I think I’ve chosen to do things based on logical reasoning, people pleasing, and ideas about what the smart thing to do is. I kept (and continue to) feel that I’m missing the mark on what I want to do.

We start getting that tug from the Pull when we’ve been complacent. Let’s get brutally honest. How have you been complacent?

LBF: Honestly, I don’t think I’ve EVER been complacent. That was part of the issue I was having and one major reason why I wrote the initial post. The feeling of being ungrateful, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and unappreciative. All the “UNs”. There’s something incredibly frustrating about wanting to be satisfied but being pulled. Complacency, however, is a theme I see a lot in the lives of people I care about and interact with. It comes with someone convincing themselves that their pull is just too far, too hard to chase or too big to handle. In that way, it plays a very big part in the chase itself. There have been times when I wanted to be okay with where I was in life and yet, there was always this feeling of not belonging. People tell me all the time that they deal with that feeling in a lifestyle or job that they’ve been putting up with for years but they choose not to chase after a pull that’s been tugging on them for years.

DRIFTY: I think I’ve been complacent in a lot of ways, some of which are kind of uncomfortable to think about. I’ve been complacent by:

  • allowing myself to feel that I could only spend time on work
  • allowing myself to do what other people wanted me to do (like pursuing professional school)
  • allowing myself to do things just because they sounded like they’d be a good opportunity
  • allowing myself to be driven by low self-esteem and insecurity. This means I’ve tended to go straight for Plan B and C because I was convinced that Plan A, what I really wanted, wouldn’t work out.

Chasing Our Pulls

Person's hands holding a compass and a map.
Raw Pixel @ Unsplash

How does your chase manifest itself? Do you job hop or follow some odd specialized path toward your purpose?

LBF: I definitely job hop. Keep the resume handy because chasing the pull often means being presented with an opportunity with little time to spare.

DRIFTY: I don’t think I’ve been on the chase for long enough to say, but it seems like it’s a bit of both. I think I make some huge pivots, which are like hard tugs. And then in between, there are these gentle pulls that feel nice to follow, they bring change that doesn’t feel like it’s shaking up my life. I like to think that everything happens for a reason, like my life is a big, beautiful puzzle than I can’t see. So I think my chase is an odd specialized path, but in the moment, I never really understand how it’s all fitting together.

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The Pull makes us uncomfortable and removes us from uncertainty when we go on the chase to follow it. Where have you felt that discomfort? How are you working through it?

LBF: I’m an anxious person; especially when it comes to how, when and where I make my money or interact with people. There have been jobs where before the facility tour is over I know that I won’t be there long even though it’s only the second day. I feel discomfort in not knowing exactly where this chase will lead me. If I chose to continue chasing then I forgo any chance at a sense of job security. If I choose not to chase it then I’m complacent and have to deal with the feeling of not belonging like trying to fit the edge piece of a puzzle in the middle. Being organized helps with the anxiety, though that’s hard when you’re a scatter brain like me. I try to listen to what my internal pull is telling me; instead of fighting it I prepare myself for the inevitable transition to make it easier on my mental, emotional and financial well being. I also look at the big picture of where the pull has taken me, when I do that I can see how progressively the chase has changed my life. I also believe that “the pull” is the gift God has for us. It makes it easier to follow when you know the source has your best interest at heart.

DRIFTY: I feel uncomfortable pretty much every day. I think the good thing about being uncomfortable so much is that I get used to it. The first little while is awful, but after that, it’s like I have a higher tolerance for it. That’s helpful when it comes to working through the discomfort. I also find that sometimes I just need to make peace with myself and my situation. If I was supposed to do something today but I didn’t, I try to accept the fact that I will have to work on it the next day. I used to spend a lot of time being frustrated with myself, and sometimes still do, but I’m realizing it’s a lot more helpful to think about what I can do than beating myself up. Gratitude helps me a lot too. I try to thank God for three things every morning, and when I go for my (almost) daily walks I try to thank Him for things then too, and just appreciate the beauty around me. It sounds cliché, but focusing on what I have, on the present, makes me feel calm, happy, and able to move forward.

Learning From Our Pulls

Woman standing in the middle of the road and reading a map.
Daniel Gonzalez @ Unsplash

What has each new transition revealed to you? What have you learned about your purpose?

LBF: The transitions I’ve gone through thus far have revealed that I am resilient. Transitions aren’t always wanted or smooth like implied. Many times they come at the most unexpected, inconvenient times and shake up your whole world. For example, one of my transitions was actually my quarter life crisis which I wrote about on the LBF blog. In that transition I was just back from a deployment, couldn’t find a job and living with my parents in my crowded childhood home. I felt stagnated but that’s the time when the Let’s Build Futures brand came to me in those months. I discovered qualities about myself that I needed to change like avoidance and passiveness. Those things had to be dealt with in that transition in order for the other transitions to be successful.

“I know my purpose is to help others by listening and advising.”

In each transition I’ve discovered that I have a natural talent and need to help people; in each job hop transition I’ve encouraged fellow coworkers to expect more for themselves and to dream higher; in each situation they have started their chase even if it’s just to go find a better job or follow new ideas for a business they’re just starting; I have a talent for giving new, fresh ideas that help other people grow and I’ve discovered this during late night conversations on third shift at a job or while working through a lunch break with someone who hasn’t unlocked their potential. I know my purpose is to help others by listening and advising. I believe I can best do that as a high school counselor but the chase now includes finding time, money, location for graduate school. What I know is working full time military at the moment is a stepping stone in that direction and while the chase may look different from what is was three years ago; it’s still very much in full effect.

DRIFTY: I think I started making transitions last year, when I decided that I was going to stop trying to get into professional school, at least for a while. I had been working towards that for 5-6 years and it felt like everything I wanted in my future—career, finances, where I would & could live, a potential partner—was tied up in that. I didn’t think I could succeed at anything else. That taught me that I could walk away from things I didn’t want anymore, even if I had invested a lot in them.

“I can’t outrun my interests or personality.”

I got a job shortly after that. It didn’t pay me very well and I was overqualified for it. It involved a lot of people contact, which was intimidating for someone like me who tended to be shy and wasn’t feeling that great about herself. I had just started my year without makeup as well, so I couldn’t really use anything to cover up my insecurities, either. I learned not to be so afraid of talking to people. The dead-end nature of the job drove me insane, so I learned that I was ambitious too.

I got an offer to go to grad school, which was another huge transition. I took on a lot of work and I learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. But being in a program that doesn’t necessarily encompass my interests has got me diving back into things, like the arts, that I abandoned because they weren’t practical. I guess I got used to missing them, but doing things that excite and inspire me have taught me that I need to be creative in some way. I think what I’m learning right now is that I can’t outrun my interests or personality. I need to find a way to work with them instead of trying to fight them all the time.

A man stands at a crossroads in a forest.
Caleb Jones @ Unsplash

What is some advice you would give to someone chasing The Pull?

LBF: Think of the world like the ocean and the current are all the people who follow a path laid out for them by society. School, Good paying job, Family, Retire, Die. The current is the safe path that we’re taught to take. It’s strong and enticing. It’s easy. The direction doesn’t change often and the end is always the same. Now, think of the Pull like the waves and tide. It’s scary. It’s chaotic but you don’t fight against it. If you learn to “go with the flow” you’ll not only survive but are likely to experience something incredible too few people experience. Your purpose is the thing that fulfills you. We all want money, we all want love and security but you could get these things an still be unfulfilled. Your purpose fills you. Understanding that makes it easier in the chase.

DRIFTY: I would say make sure you take care of yourself and also make sure that you don’t get so caught up in the future that you forget to ignore the present. For me, taking care of myself means making sure I’m doing okay spiritually and dealing with my emotions. Writing helps me with both of those things. I write down my prayers, my anxieties, my plans, my feelings. When it comes to enjoying the present, it’s doing things like finding 3 things to be thankful for each day, making time to hang out with my friends and family, helping others in a way that builds me into a community, doing fun things I enjoy, taking breaks, and just appreciating the beauty in the world around me.

This post was a collaboration with Let’s Build Futures. You can read more of our conversation on her blog. You can find LBF on Instagram @lets_build_futures

Do you have an answer to one of these questions? Leave a comment below!

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11 comments on “Finding Our Paths: Chasing the Pull

  1. Hey gurly, where are you? Nothing new?

    • Hey Bushra! I’m just catching up on my comments (sorry for all the notifications). There’s actually a new post coming out at 11 am EST today!

      Thanks for checking in. Things get kind of crazy for me in September because I’m a student. Trying to get used to a new schedule usually takes me a while, so everything’s been a bit off – blogging included!

      I know your kids are school-aged, so I imagine things might be hectic on your end too? Hope you’re all doing great!

  2. Finally, I got to see your new site and it’ looks amazing!!! Of course a smart girl run this site, got to look great!

  3. This was a really good post and I could identify with the both of you at different times in my life – would have never thought about calling it “the pull” but I loved both of your takes on it. Got me thinking a lot now about my own life but definitely have me looking forward to keep moving ahead.

    • Thanks Roshonda! And you even commented on the new site – hoping to keep the community going over here, so that helps a lot! Thank you.

      Is there something you feel like you’re being pulled towards?

      • No probelm Sis! Thanks for asking. I feel like I’m being pulled towards just stepping out and making things happen, such as new business ventures. It’s a shame when you have to take a day off work, just to schedule your blog posts, keep up with social media, promote a book all while trying to come up with relevant content. That’s a job all by itself, not counting the 9-5 that yields your paycheck. I’m just ready for somethings to shift where I don’t have to punch a clock, answer to a boss or worry if someone will notice that I was late that morning. Butttttt – my check tho. Blogging doesn’t pay the bills….soooo, but I’m looking to make somethings happen….we’ll see what the end of 2018 and what 2019 holds. ❤

        • Yep! I didn’t realize how much work blogging is until I started taking it a bit more seriously. You post several times a week and seem pretty active on social media. I can’t imagine how much time that takes, not to mention you’re trying to balance a full time job, kids, and a book! I think the fact that you’ve been doing this so consistently really says a lot about your dedication to this.

          I hear you loud and clear about not wanting to worry about a boss or pubching a clock. That’s my dream too. I’m making it a point this year to learning about SEO and trying to increase my traffic so I can start making something from blogging.

          Have you thought about pitching online publications (e.g. xoNecole)? My understanding is that they pay you and can increase traffic to your blog.

          At the end of the day, I believe you have what it takes to make this happen. I’m hoping the rest of this year and 2019 bring great things for you & JustSum Inspiration! I want to see you blow up and write posts in a sidewalk café in Paris!

          • Girl, the struggle is real indeed when you take blogging from being just a hobby to a full-time job almost. There’s a lot that goes into it. I’m definitely dedicated but sometimes, it’s a real challenge and you always have to find ways to work smart and not hard; I get overwhelmed most days, but I thank God for bringing me to a calm and next thing you know – it’s all done. (Glory be to God for that!)

            I’ve heard a lot about SEO and have did google analytics and etc. I think that would be an awesome thing for you to do, I believe once we figure out how to tap into blogging and make it more than just a space to interject our thoughts, feelings and etc – it won’t be so overwhelming, if that makes sense. Good Job on this effort Sis, you have mad writing skills so I don’t doubt one bit that things one skyrocket for you.

            I’ve thought about pitching to online pubs and I believe I did at one time but haven’t done it in quite some time. I will look into the source you provided to find out more info. Thanks for that!

            Thanks so much for believing in this blog and me. When I receive comments such as yours, it really gives me the inspiration to keep going and squashes the thoughts in my head of “Why are you doing this?” Yesssss Sis, I will be there one day – who knows maybe we’ll be able to get a coffee or tea and both be there working on our projects all while getting paid!

            Plan the work and work the plan, right?

            Love you Drifty!

            • YES to working smart not hard, social media will eat up all your time & energy if you let it! Whew, I’m still struggling with the whole hobby to professional thing (like what is this even about??) but I agree that it makes things easier. I’m learning a lot. And seeing you hustle is a good lesson for me too. This is a long-term game of consistency and frequency.

              I’m glad I can encourage you! I think that’s something we all need, especially in something like this. It’s exciting because the sky’s the limit, but it’s also tough because we never really know where things will go. I think this is where faith really kicks in and it’s been inspiring to see you incorporate it into the way you approach blogging. I’m watching & learning!

              “Plan the work and work the plan, right?”

              • You know I got my pom poms for you. Ready to cheer, cheer, cheer you on – you can do this. And no worries, I ask myself “What is this all about, anyway???” all the time, lol. You’re already doing great. Yes, Faith and working that plan girl, Whew…..chile…..lol

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