When I paused life, found my purpose, and buried it for five years

A self-portrait I took on February 24, 2011 when I stopped by Ikea during my sabbatical

A self-portrait I took on February 24, 2011 when I stopped by Ikea during my sabbatical

I paused life for a week.

In 2011 I was a wreck internally. Outside it looked great, but internally I was ready to bust at the seams. I was working a full time job while also putting in full time hours with the company I launched the year before with my husband. I was still living in the 470 square foot studio we bought together in college that was worth 20% of what we paid. Our dream was to be living in L.A. immediately after college for my husband to pursue his film ambitions, and I had yet to move out of the same zip code as my parents. I forgot to eat most days and felt guilty for the amount of time I took to get ready in the morning because I couldn’t figure out how to make that half-hour window of my life productive. I was stressed, gaining weight, letting people down all around me because I was over-committed and putting on a facade that I had it all together.

One day, I had one of those moments you cannot explain other than to call it a divine intervention. I received a message so strongly that my heart was pounding, ready to explode. It was a calling I had to respond to immediately:

There is a woman inside of you screaming to get out. Find her.

Take a week sabbatical and get quiet enough to hear what I need to tell you.

All of a sudden I grabbed a pencil and looked for every scrap sheet of paper I could find around me. I started seeing characteristics of this woman. The woman I longed to become but who looked nothing like the Sophia currently walking the earth. I filled three random envelope-backs with her characteristics. A few I remember are :

Lovely human being.

Cares deeply about people.

Meditates in the morning

Is healthy

Inspires people

Speaks in kindness


Makes an impact in her community

Knows her purpose


It’s very relevant for you to know that nothing about this list reflected the version of me at that moment. I was opposite in every way, which was obviously the cause of my internal struggle.

The list went on and on. All I knew was I felt like a fraud. I wanted to be someone completely different than who I was at age 24. I opened up my calendar and realized that if I spent the next week unloading all of my responsibilities then the week following I could have replacements for all of my commitments.

I approached my husband:

“I need to get away. Well actually…I need you to get away. I am always on the go, and I need a week of a silent sabbatical. At home. Can you go find some friends to stay with, maybe bring the cats with you? I want to lock myself in the house for a week alone.”

And this is one of the many stories I have that make my husband amazing. I remember him thinking I was crazy. I remember him rolling his eyes. But I don’t remember him telling me no or fighting me on it. He could tell I wanted this badly so he went and crashed at a friend’s house.

My plan was to spend the weekend cleaning and organizing my house to spotless perfection and then sit in it for the week. What ended up happening was my body shut down on Thursday. I had been running so hard that it just went kaput. I spent the first two days in bed mostly just sleeping.

By Sunday I was able to head to the produce stand. I decided to eat only raw fruits and vegetables during my week off and cleanse my body. I told my family if they needed me to drive to my house for emergencies only and that I was shutting off my phone and computer the entire week.

I cleaned, organized and sat. Months before, I bought the book “Meditation for dummies.” I read through it, not helpful. So confused. I tried sitting on a comfy pillow, getting into that crossed-leg position and meditating. My mind went everywhere and it felt completely silly. I dusted off some books I had been wanting to read and magazines I was subscribed to but never made time to open. Finally, I decided I needed help. I remembered that I had a professor in college who talked about how he meditated every morning for 30 minutes and could not begin a day without it. I also remembered he retired. We were Facebook friends so I turned on the computer to send him a message.

I asked for meditation advice and said “P.S. Do retired professors have time for coffee with old students?

He replied (four days later) with a plethora of advice that sounded like a second language to me and invited me to come to his house for tea the next day. I broke my rule of silence and drove 45 minutes away for a morning meeting. That day changed my life. I had so many questions about life, direction, purpose, God, truth etc.

Nine a.m. turned to noon, and we ate lunch. He had errands to run before his wife got home so he invited me to continue the conversation in the car while we went grocery shopping. He welcomed my brain picking for hours and hours and by 3pm I was finally on my way home. I remember there was so much for me to digest, I just drove to Ikea and sat around on couches. I was people watching, questioning everything there is to question about life.

When I got home I decided to start an activity he recommended. He told me the story of how he found his purpose through an exercise at a retreat he had attended a few decades ago. I decided to duplicate it for myself (will share with you in a future blog post) and see if I could discover mine.

And I did.

My purpose in life is to help others grow.

I didn’t know what it looked like, how to execute it or where it would take me. What I did know was I HAD to pursue a life that allowed me to regularly help people grow into a better version of themselves. It may sound vague but for me, it was filled with clarity.

With the remainder of my time alone, I decided to make a vision board. I heard of others who did this for goal setting and it sounded like a great idea. I made my list (I’ll make another post on how I did it), found images to match my goals, stuck them to a board and started chasing after them.

When my husband returned, and I had to step back into reality, I was refreshed and living with intention.

Six months later I had replaced my income and quit my full time job.

One year from that date I was a completely different person.

Five years later, very little about my life resembles that girl. Most of my vision board is complete, almost finished, or not possible yet (like….grow old with my husband. 30 isn’t old 😉

One piece has been missing though. There was a piece on there printed very largely “A full time job enriching the lives of others. Blogger. Speaker. Motivator.”

This girl has stayed inside for many reasons. Am I worthy to teach others? What have I accomplished? Don’t you have to be super successful to do that? What if I fail? If I’m not good at this and it’s my biggest life dream…then what will I do? I have no back up plan. Who even wants to hear what I have to say? There are so many other authors, teachers and speakers out there saying pretty much the same things I want to say. People can just read their books and blogs and listen to those people. I’m not important enough.

Do you hear these lies? They are such powerful lies.

They are the lies that keep most of us from doing what we were created to do.

As I started preparing my 2017 dream board, I realized I was ONCE AGAIN going to be carrying over the goal “Launch my brand.” I said enough is enough. It may not be perfect, but it’s something. I might be messy at first, but I will learn and improve. I may not have it all figured out, but I definitely know plenty enough from all these mistakes I’ve made that I can share them with others so they don’t repeat them.

So here it is. The first official blog post of the Sophia Hyde brand. There is so much more to come. I literally LIVE to help YOU fulfill your purpose. I want to see you shine. I want to see you in your element. I want to see you step into your greatness. I want to see you overcome your fears. There is nothing more satisfying in the world to me than to watch your journey.

Please comment below. Fill this with questions. I may or may not have answers but I would LOVE to search for them with you.

You matter. You have a purpose. I believe in you.

Do you know your purpose? What is it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “When I paused life, found my purpose, and buried it for five years

  1. Life-giving post, Sophia.
    I bought domains and worked on my relaunch for hours to days and just quit. I have set so many deadlines for myself. Fear & uncertainty have eaten my lunch.

    I need sabbatical.

    Thank you.

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