How to Rediscover Your Purpose and Meaning Through Inspiration

A true hero’s story is what we need to start off 2021.

Christopher D. Connors
Jan 7 · 5 min read
Photo by Preillumination SeTh on Unsplash

Advancement toward peace of mind, happiness and fulfillment begins from within. We can search all our lives for answers to what will give us that extra “edge” but it is only when we turn inward toward our spiritual side that we find our peak potential. This is where raw growth and learning takes place.

It is here that we begin to build our inner core and start to explore the person we truly want to become. It’s here that we find our inspiration and reason for living that inspires us to the calling we’re meant to live.

There are challenges along the way. Some bigger than others. We’ll face adversity, setbacks, failures and mistakes. How we respond is often a function of what motivates us internally. We’re motivated by what inspires us. I want to tell the story of a remarkable young man whose example is a shining inspiration for all.

It is within James Conner’s story — a football running back recently drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers — that we find the secret of inspiration that applies to us all.

A Story to Tell

“…amazing willpower to go along with an “I’m not gonna be denied” mentality… those are two things I bring to the table every time I suit up.” — James Conner

After a thrilling stomp through the 2014 college football season, James Conner was named a First-Team All American and ACC conference player of the year. He entered the 2015 football season for Pittsburgh ready to break records and run his way to the NFL. Fate had a change of plans. On the first game of the season, he tore his MCL. He had to sit the entire year.

This was undeniably a tough blow — one that would be worst-case scenario for most people. However, the toughest news was yet to come. Right before Thanksgiving in 2015, Conner found out that he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma — cancer. The worst fear for most living people. What do do? Would he ever play football again? More importantly, would he survive?

Converting Adversity into Opportunity

“Once you go through something like this of this magnitude, no other human, really, I believe can stop me. That’s the edge I have.” — James Conner

It would take 12 rounds of chemotherapy to try beating cancer. Each round of chemo is a grueling ordeal for any person to have to deal with. Even before it begins, there is the mental, emotional and physical preparation. A person has to be willing to commit to overcoming such a formidable foe, as cancer. With each passing day, Conner kept powering through.

His teammates marveled at his ability to go for chemotherapy, then work out just as vigorously as them and with them! He was a member of the Pittsburgh football team and he was committed on fulfilling his obligation to his teammates. He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He wanted to set an example, as the captain of his team, that he would be a leader through anything.

Conner’s story highlights one man’s fight against a deadly disease, and the indomitable power of the human spirit. The incredible lesson Conner found in finding meaning in his life came from seeing opportunity in adversity — one of life’s greatest lessons.

“I had a football coach who told me, ‘Use adversity to do something great.’ … There’s so many different forms of it. Mine just happened to be cancer. I used that opportunity to tell myself it was going to be a comeback story and I was going to do it. So I just wanted to inspire people and let them know there’s a way to be better from adversity.” Source: NFL.com

The thing is, Conner didn’t just let cancer happen to him. He used a positive attitude to first accept his reality. Then, he actively chose to stay positive and change his mindset to one of actually seeing opportunity in a disease that has claimed the lives of millions of people. If you want a definition of growth mindset — look no further than James Conner.

Conner also credits patience as one of the key tools he used to craft an inspirational outlook and mindset focused on recovery and rediscovering his purpose. As he worked through overcoming cancer and trying to reclaim his future, he found that rushing things would get him nowhere. He found inspiration in other cancer survivors.

He knew he’d have to practice patience and a commitment to making it through rehab with belief, positivity and hope. What backed up this newfound inspiration for life was his purpose.

“Life serves us up something we aren’t expecting, haven’t prepared for, and didn’t want. When that happens, you really only have two choices. You can face your fears, or you can give into them. And I can tell you from experience, it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you believe there’s a purpose behind what you’re experiencing.” Source: Fear is a Choice

Find Your Inspiration

Conner is a survivor and an example that we can truly overcome anything. His story is the quintessential tale of inspiration. Even when our chips seem down, we’re never out. We’ll face countless challenges in life and we’ll have to inspire ourselves to move forward.

The key to rediscovering meaning in your life is to look within at the boldness of your human spirit. All us of have something intangible, something magical inside of us that inspires and lights the way. Everything great in your life will first come from within. It is here that we seek the Divine, where we gain peace of mind in heart in knowing that our path in life is guided by faith and hope.

It’s great to look out to external sources like movies, books, friends and athletes like James Conner that will provide us with boosts of motivation and hope. All these things make an enormous difference. Just know this — inspiration comes from within. You have to count on you.

You have to place all your chips in the center of the table, and make the biggest bet of your life on the most important person you have to care for — yourself.

Search within and you’ll find the secret to rediscovering the meaning of your life and what you’re called to conquer.

Make 2021 Your BEST Year!

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