Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want

The Present Driven Life


Thousands of inspirational books have been written to help people realize their “true potential” or find meaning in life. While the concept behind this is intended to encourage and uplift, I have started to notice that this thinking can actually be quite stressful and lead to a lot of self-doubt and depression. When we get lost in the idea of our goals or the results or even our own potential, we lose sight of the action itself taking place in this moment.

What if the purpose of your life is simply to be fully present in whatever it is you are doing right now and have a willingness to enjoy and learn from the life happening to you?


Many times in my adult life I have asked myself if I am living up to my “true potential.” This happened again recently as I found myself once more shifting gears and changing careers. I found that as I questioned my potential and whether or not I was fulfilling it, I felt stress and angst about life. Then I listened to a Byron Katie podcast and heard something that changed my life. She reminded me that by being 100% present no matter what I am doing — whether it’s washing the dishes, listening to a friend, or teaching a class — I was “reaching my full potential.” I let out a huge sigh of relief.

It seems like many of us struggle at times with this idea of finding a life’s purpose or knowing if we are realizing our full potential. I would like to share a few thoughts from Eckhart Tolle and Michael A. Singer that helped me shift my perspective and feel less stress and anxiety about trying to figure it all out.

  • “It’s not what you’re doing; it’s how much of you is doing it.”
  • “Give your fullest attention to whatever the moment presents. This implies that you also completely accept what is, because you cannot give your full attention to something and at the same time resist it.”
  • “There may be things to be attained or acquired.…Yet on a deeper level you are already complete, and when you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.”
  • “When you are free of ‘becoming’ as a psychological need, neither your happiness nor your sense of self depends on the outcome, and so there is freedom from fear.”
  • “Life itself is your career, and your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship.”
  • “Don’t waste a moment of life trying to make other things happen; appreciate the moments you are given.”
  • “What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it.” 

When we believe we are living a life without meaning or feel anxious when we do not know what our purpose is supposed to be, we can get into a spiral of negativity. But when we make a choice to be present and accept what is, we can begin to fully experience the life we have and, by doing so, lead a “meaningful” life.

I encourage you to take 20 minutes to listen to “I’m Not Living Up to My Full Potential” with Byron Katie for additional perspective on this topic.

What is one thing you have done recently and did the best job you could in that moment? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.



Author: Presence Matters

Amanda Johnson has one mission: to help people turn their critic into their ally so they can love the life they have and have the life they want. She does this through her work as a writer and presence coach. After years of struggling with depression, motivation and finding any purpose, Amanda made a choice to transform her experience of life. She realized that when she resisted, judged or attached to “what is” she suffered and that this is true for all of us. From this place, the idea to help others cultivate ease and joy through “Presence Matters" was born. Amanda is a seasoned professional with more than 10 years’ experience performing, educating, facilitating and consulting for Fortune 500 companies with the personal mission to reach and change lives for the better. Her passion for helping others—be it a 2nd-grader or a CEO—and her ability to connect with and inspire those she meets are unleashed by her wit, charm, and eloquence, making her message resonate deeply with her audience. For more information and to work with her, visit

5 thoughts on “The Present Driven Life

  1. Great point. There’s so many things I try to ‘live up to,’ thinking that this is the ‘right’ way. If I’m being honest, “being present in every thing you do” feels sorta like another one of those hard things to actually live up to. I’ll have to check out the podcast to get a better sense of what it means. For me, I feel best when I’m not necessarily thinking about what I’m doing or noticing much outside of my focus. For example, when I’m playing guitar and loose myself in it. That flow makes me feel the most alive, yet I wouldn’t say that I was really ‘present’. Perhaps it’s the same thing, just different words.


    • Absolutely. It might be “different word, same meaning.” It might also be that, in my experience, when we first become more conscious beings, to acknowledge being present takes some effort but after doing it more and more it becomes second nature. I suppose that is the place from which I speak when I say “being present in each moment.” In my opinion, when you lose yourself in your music when playing guitar that is being 100% present and giving it your all in that moment. Life is made up of millions of those moments which is where we can find our “meaning.” Thanks for contributing to the conversation!


  2. I’m looking forward to listening to your recommended podcast. Yet already you have given me reason to breathe that same big sigh of relief. Most of my life I’ve been trying to determine what is my “purpose” and as a result felt discouraged and frustrated. There have been moments in my life where I consciously “gave up” trying to make something happen and felt a sense of relief. For instance, I tried to raise my children “perfectly,” and one day I decided that was too difficult and from then on I would simply love and encourage them at all times. Your post has confirmed that without knowing it, I was learning to be present, to not have an agenda. Now, I realize I can apply being fully present to all areas of my life. I do have a purpose! This is so freeing!


    • Thank you for commenting and sharing your experience. I am thrilled that you, too, felt a huge sigh of relief when hearing these words and can see purpose as something you already do each and everyday! Enjoy Byron Katie’s podcast.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s