Humans have been asking this question since the beginning of time. But if discovering your purpose was easy, surely we’d all know what ours is by now?
I’ll be honest with you here – I was today year’s old when I discovered my purpose. I’ve thought I’ve known a thousand times over, but I hadn’t quite put my finger on it yet. For a lot of my life I lived looking ahead – thinking about the future I’ll have, the husband I’ll marry, the pets I’ll love, the places I’ll visit, the home I’ll create, the work I’ll do. The thing is though, I have all of these things right now as I type. A career, a husband, a home filled with fluffy animals, and yet I’ve still found myself asking the same question.
Why? What is it all for? Why am I here? So many people live in fear of (or motivated by) the thought of being old and on their deathbed, only to look back on their life and feel regret.
I believe that knowing your purpose and living to it will make that fear disappear.
Let’s start with cutting out things that people mistake for purpose.
What discovering your purpose is NOT
It’s not what you do
For example, running a race for charity. It is in fact an action associated with your purpose, which might be “To leave the place in a better state than I found it”.
It’s not how you do it
Here, check that what you think is your purpose is actually just how you go about living it out. For instance, if your purpose is “A safe and loving world for all to live in”, how you go about that might be activism, lobbying, or mentorship.
It’s not a to-do list
We’ve been hard-wired to strive for goals. And how is that working for you? (said in my Dr Phil voice) You see, ticking something off your to-do list leaves you with a great feeling of accomplishment. But then what? You look for the next thing, and the next. Your purpose transcends all tasks, projects, and accomplishments.
The big question
Ready to find your purpose? Me too. And there’s one question to ask yourself in helping you get there.
What do I believe in? A purpose statement should start with “I believe…”. Your core motivating belief. That is what gets you to work every day, what makes you cry tears of joy, of frustration, of passion – because it’s born out of who you are at a fundamental level.
As I say, I’m still working out my purpose. Perhaps I’ll update this piece when I have it nailed. In the meantime, here are some examples:
- …in a fair and honest world
- …in the healing power of love
- …that women are the future
- …we all deserve to be free
- …I was born to entertain
If you are interested, I myself believe that everyone should be able to become the very best version of themselves that they can. We should all learn, grow, and change – week by week, year by year. My purpose is to help people become their best selves.
The next part in your purpose journey is: how do I manifest my purpose?
Do you know what your purpose is? I’d love to hear in the comments. It might help me figure out mine.