I've been thinking about a word that we hear seemingly every day. It’s not a new word. It’s not something crazy, or different, or all that radical. Just a simple two syllable, seven-letter word that most of us don’t really understand. Purpose.
I’ve been asking myself lots of big questions about purpose, trying to get to the bottom of this mystery, the meaning of this word. What is purpose? What is calling, and destiny, and passion? And how do we find those things? Will we ever find them? Can they be found?
The more I think about it, the more deeply I realize that we might never know the answers to these questions. And I think that, hidden within that idea, is an invitation. An invitation that is so exciting, so scary, so beautiful, so full of adventure.
We are all invited to go on a lifelong journey of discovering our purpose.
It may take a lifetime, but it will be amazing, and difficult, and painful, and oh so worth it. Purpose - or whatever you want to call it: calling, destiny, mission, lifework - is like an onion. We must peel off the layers, piece by piece, bit by bit, slowly unraveling our destiny. And, like peeling an onion, we may cry at times, because purpose can be a heavy burden to carry. We will want to quit at many points along the way, because fulfilling one's’ destiny isn’t always easy. But still we keep peeling away, layer by layer, piece by piece, bit by bit, destiny unraveling.
And one day, we will get to the core of our Purpose.
But I have a peculiar feeling that it won’t be as crazy and grandiose of a moment as we expect. I think that finding our purpose looks more like a little trickle of water, just a few drops playing follow-the-leader at first. It starts slow and small, then turns into a stream, growing, growing, growing, stronger and stronger, building momentum, always searching, but always content with where it’s at.
And one day, long after birth, it finds itself as a river, a beautiful and majestic work of creativity and imagination and art, doing what it was always born to do. It’s purpose never changed; just it’s form did. It was always meant to flow and meander and provide a wonderful natural resource, but along the way, as it kept searching, searching, searching, it gained the ability to do that on a much greater scale in a much more impactful way, all because it stayed true to its purpose.
It is our job now to start peeling.
It's our job to start the difficult work of uncovering and unearthing what we were born to do. To find what we are here for, what makes us come alive. What brings us back to those childhood memories where we were wild and free and doing what made us happy. Back to when we didn't care what (the wrong) people thought about us.
Here are three simple, yet powerful truths that will help you better understand how to find your purpose
1. Don't care about what it looks like, as long it is you.
One of the keys to finding our true self and doing what we are meant to, is to not care what it looks like. By this, I mean you and I want what's right, and true, and unique to us, and we don't really worry about the specifics of what that entails.
Don't care about what it looks like. Just care that you find it.
We have this ideal life that we think we want in our minds, but the ideal is put there by other people, popular culture, and those in charge. But that's not me. What makes someone else come alive probably will feel empty to you. The key is to find what clicks with you, and stick with that. Doing what other people expect of us feels good, but it's hollow and leaves us frustrated with our lives. Don't care about what the wrong people think about you anymore. It's hard, but the payoff is incredible.
Being yourself will change your life.
I think when we're young, we care so much about fitting in, having it all together, and looking like we have our life figured out. But as we mature, we start to realize that we're missing the point. That, even if our true self is awkward, not cool, totally weird, and slightly crazy, that that's okay. As long as it's being me.
The point isn't to look like ____. The point is to look like me.
2. Go back to your child-self.
If you want to find your purpose, go back to when you were 7 or 10. What did you do for fun? What made you happy? What made you feel like you could keep doing it and would never grow tired?
Often times, as we grow older and must shoulder more responsibilities and get busy, busy, busy, we forget our childhood. We move on to more "responsible" and "important" things, those things that pay the bills and keep life moving along.
But this is one of the greatest mistakes we can make! We must again begin searching for our child-self. Again go back to the place when we were carefree, and wild, and crazy, and happy. Again we must return to doing the things that bring us joy for joy's sake. Not to pay the bills - although money often follows passion - but just simply for joy's sake.
And again, just like when we were kids, we will find our joy.
3. Follow your happy.
Don't think too much about this one. If you're happy doing something, do more of it! We over-complicate, over-analyze, and over-think these things to the point of paralysis. But when it comes to happiness, don't think about it too much.
If it makes you happy, it's good. Do more of that thing.
What do you find joy in? Remember, the goal is to find your happy, not someone else's. What brings you joy may seem boring or pointless to someone else. But as long as you do what makes you truly happy, you will be happy.
Even if it's weird. I'm a total geek about a lot of things - writing, marketing, computers, technology. I loved English class in high-school because I got learn about literary devices and how to write a good thesis statement. All geeky things, and not necessarily popular. But that's me. And I don't apologize for loving those things, and neither should you.
You will find that people respect you more for being yourself, even if it freaks them out. We love authenticity. Practice it, cultivate it, make it your life. Follow your happy.
Practical Next Steps
Write down 10 things that make you come alive, on a piece of paper. Then evaluate how you are currently living your life. Are you doing the things that make you come alive? If not, how can you do more of those things? And then write down how you will do those things more. And then make that plan a reality!
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Join me on this journey to living out your passions and making your dreams a reality. Simply text the word AWESOME to 444999 and I'll take it from there. Thank you!
Remember, life is short, make it awesome!
I hope this encourages you! Now get out there friend, you have a long journey ahead of you. It will be harder than you ever thought, but oh so much better than you could have ever imagined.