Be Different. Find Your Purpose.

April 25th, 2018

 

I was born in 1993 and raised in Cali, Colombia. By the age of six, my family and I were escaping a beautiful yet broken country. As a family immigrating to a new country, we didn’t know what to expect. But we knew that America’s the land of opportunity. That’s all the hope we needed.

From a young age I felt different on multiple levels. I always felt sorry for feeling different, yet I never understood why. Countless events, situations, and opportunities that I've experienced during my 24 years of life have taught me that being different is a quality that should be embraced and used as fuel.

What do you define as “different”? Well, that depends on who you are. During my teenage years, I looked at that word as something to be ashamed of, as something I should hide or change. It’s crazy how much has changed over the last four years, simply because I chose a new perspective and didn’t let others choose it for me.

During my teenage years, I struggled with many things, but what I didn’t internalize was the battle I was having within myself.  My college years were a journey of discovering who I was, what I stood for, and what that “difference” inside me meant. This journey began with me realizing my sexual orientation. It took me two years to stop being sorry for who I was, and start putting in the time to truly understand that my sexual preference wasn’t something that would hold me back from my life’s purpose. We get so caught up in others’ opinions of us, yet we never take the time to grow and love ourselves. Was I sorry that my family didn’t understand who I was? Was I sorry for loving all that made me stand out?

Absolutely not. Who I am and what my values are don’t coincide with my sexual orientation. If I wasn’t different, I’d be like everybody else. How boring would that be? Life is full of constant changes, challenges to overpass, problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.

There are four points that have led me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to find opportunities instead.

One: We have to become a master of our thoughts and a master of the way we speak to ourselves.  The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your life.

Two: We have the power within us to choose. The choices you make, make you. The little choices are the ones that can determine greatness. Stop attaching yourself to the past—no one can go back and change history, but anyone can start now and create a successful ending.

Three: Always maintain an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks for what you have and what is to come: it will keep propelling you forward.

Four: Have a vision. Overcome to become. Chase those dreams you truly desire. Find your purpose. Never be sorry for it.

I stopped feeling sorry for being different and decided to feed my deep desire of wanting more. I’m using that as fuel and have sprung into the entrepreneurial world. Why? I not only want to impact people on a larger scale, but I also want to take advantage of all the opportunities that have arisen in my life thanks to those four points. Those who tell you you can’t do something are the ones who’ve stopped growing and have become complacent.

I am not sorry for being determined. I am not sorry for taking risks. I am not sorry for finding my purpose. I am not sorry for being different. And you shouldn’t be either.

Lulu Echeverry