What is your purpose?
You want to talk about an overwhelming, overconsuming question that is it. First things first, we need to let ourselves off the hook a bit; we need to stop believing that fulfilling our purpose means we have to change the world. That is not true. Purpose allows us to use our gifts to change those we come in contact with but it does not require us to become extremely powerful or popular to use those gifts. The fate of changing the whole world will fall on very few people, but the ability to use our purpose, to be a positive influence in this world, that will fall on all of us. And for some it may only be one person, for others it may be thousands, but it will be each and every one of us living out the purpose in our life. And let me be very clear I do not and will not claim to be any expert on this. But I do understand that deep desire to find your purpose and better understand it. And from all my own searching I gained some (small) understanding about how you can start realizing your purpose.
For many years I struggled with the idea of what my purpose was. I was frustrated and lost. I felt like I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose or even headed in the direction of it, which made me even more discouraged. Was I totally missing it? How was I going to find it? I didn’t even know where to start. Luckily for me I have a very wise father who knows you can’t tell people what to do but you can guide them. And so over the years he has dropped off books that he thinks will help me during my times of struggle. As I started reading these books I realized that there seemed to be a common thread that weaved throughout my life. Regardless of where my career was at that time, this thread was both intertwined with, and separate from it because this thread was something bigger, it was connected to my purpose. In the things I would write for my first blog or for the online magazines that accepted my pieces I saw the same thread. In the advice I would give to my friends, co-workers, and athletes I saw the same thread. In the volunteer activities that I loved to do, I saw the same thread. And like a ton of bricks it hit me that without always knowing it I had been slowing directing myself to my purpose. What did I keep seeing in those threads? My ability to use the gifts I have to empower the women I come in contact with. To help them live the lives they want, not the life they think they should. To believe in their strength and their beauty. To be both a voice who encourages them, but is also honest enough to provide a kick in the ass if necessary. I had convinced myself for too long that my purpose had to be world changing that I failed to realize that I was already living it out in my daily life, in every step of my journey. Am I doing this perfectly? Absolutely not. But I had been learning about myself in ways I didn’t even know, I had been following the threads of my purpose and weaving a journey for myself. What I am learning now is to be more purpose driven in my journey.
The work to find your purpose falls on you and it is not a futile task. There isn’t an easy answer to how you find it but I do want to share with you a few ways to get started. Finding your purpose, exploring your purpose, and pursuing your purpose allows you to live your life to its fullest. It is in that journey that you find yourself and learn how to use your gifts to best serve the world around you.
Common Thread(s): Sometimes feeling lost about your purpose is from the lack of time spent actually evaluating what things have interested you or you have been drawn to in your life. Part of starting to step in to your purpose is being able to look back along your journey, so far, and see what common threads and themes have been in your life. Take some time (and this will take time!) to reflect on where you have been. Write it down, study it, and then look to move forward from those starting points.
Take Action: Maybe you see some themes in your life but you still aren’t sure. Or maybe you couldn’t identify one theme. Then it is time to stop sitting and start moving. I heard this great quote about “putting your ass where your heart is” so in that same vein of bluntness may I say; stop whining about not knowing your purpose, get up, and go explore the world around you. I started volunteering every March with a group called Prom Project, I was scared to death to do it on my own but it sounded like something I would like and I LOVE it. I started volunteering at Girls on the Run events because a friend mentioned it to me and I LOVE IT. The thing they both have in common, without me realizing it initially, is they encourage young girls to believe in themselves. I know it will be an ever evolving journey to live out my purpose but I also know the times that I got off my ass and did things I found a little part to my purpose I wasn’t aware of before. Action is the only way to start moving in the right direction. So go and do!
Direction Not Intention: Having good intentions is great, but actually directing your life towards things that drive your purpose will lead to a destination(s) that will bring you fulfillment. We rely too heavily on our good intentions to carry us through life, but you have to actually take action and move in a direction to head towards your destination. Once I started to see the thread of my life and then take action towards it, I realized it was time to put myself in the driver’s seat and direct. For me that meant (for now) starting this blog. My final destination may still be unknown but I know without a doubt I am headed in the right direction serving my purpose the best I can right in this moment.
If I can help you any way start moving towards your purpose make sure you connect with me on here or social media, I would love to help you!