Nine years ago today, I was robbed at gun point.
I was walking home from a bad blind date, laughing about it on the phone with my sister, when a scared young man followed me into my condo building. At first I didn’t see him, but when I put my key in the front door I felt thick hot breath on the back of my neck. I turned around and was within inches of these big, sad, saucer brown eyes.
“Are you going in?” I asked him. I thought maybe he had a friend who lived there.
He paused and then looked down at my belly. I followed his eyes and saw that he pointed a gun my stomach. I fell to the floor, with my arms over my head, screaming, “Please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me!!!”
Thoughts raced through my head, “Tell my parents I’ve had a good life, thank my grandparents for me.” I remembered my 3rd grade birthday party and envisioned my funeral. I looked up at him and now the gun was pointed at my left temple. I could see down the steel barrel.
At that moment, a strong, calm voice came over me: “Oh no,” she said. “You’re here for purpose. People are waiting for you.”
So I made a promise with G-d: “If you let me live, I promise to pursue that purpose.”
At that moment, the man took my purse and he ran.
See, I had known that I wanted to do this Purpose work for years, but I had been too afraid to do it. I was afraid I’d fail, afraid you would all hate me, afraid that no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I was afraid I’d never make money and afraid I’d never be published. I was afraid of everything.
So I stayed stuck. Stuck in my job, stuck in my relationships, stuck in my life. And staying stuck made me severely depressed. I called myself horrible nasty names for not following my dreams. I went on heavier and heavier depression drugs and I got shingles at 34.
I was a mess – all out of fear.
But that day, with a gun to my head, I made a decision: I was doing this. I was going to use every talent G-d gave me for purpose. I was going to use my life to make a difference in the world. I was going to become PurposeGirl.
It was all I ever wanted. It still is all I want. When I die, I want millions of women saying, “She impacted my life.”
And I will tell you my friends, this Purpose-thing is not easy. I’ve had many days of crying and fear. I’ve been terrified of running out of money. I’ve compared myself endlessly to coaches who have bigger audiences than me. I’ve been excited one day, felt like shit the next, and called myself a loser. At various times, I’ve become obsessed with winning your “likes.”
But as I was working on my book today and realized that TODAY was the day 9 years ago that changed the trajectory of my life FOREVER, I KNEW that I would not change that experience for any amount of money or “likes” in the world.
I’m a survivor. I’m a warrior. I’ve survived so that I can inspire you to thrive. And I don’t take my mission lightly. As of this moment, I’m more serious about it than ever. I want EVERY woman on earth to know and love who she is. I want EVERY human being to realize his true purpose. I want ALL of us to live and love fully with open hearts and giving souls. There is so much more I can do. So much more I want to do.
When this young man was sentenced, I went to court and his attorney handed me a letter that the young man had written to me. He explained how he had grown up without a father, how he had 2 babies and one on the way, how he robbed me because he needed money for diapers. Tears streamed down my face and sobs left my throat. (They are again writing this.) The judge asked if I wanted to say anything. I stood up and faced his sweet sad eyes once more. “It’s not fair that I grew up the way I did, and you grew up the way you did,” I said. “And I don’t want your kids growing up this way. I want them to go to college.” Tears now streamed down his face.
I meant it. I still mean it. I’m remembering it all today in vivid color and I’m really wanting to make a bigger impact. I want to serve. I want to empower kids in challenged situations too. I don’t know how and I don’t know where.
And I want to empower EVERY woman to RISE UP. I just know that we are ALL PurposeGirls! We are ALL here for SOMETHING! We can’t let raw talent go wasted. You can’t let your dreams get lost. If you don’t know your purpose, let’s figure it out. If you know it but aren’t following it, let’s get you on your path. Please don’t hide behind fear anymore, my friend.
You never know when a gun will be pointed at your head.
Written in complete and utter love. Sending love tonight to C. H., wherever he and his children may be.