In the comments of the Embrace Your Purpose post, a reader shared questions about how to find your purpose and a fear of chasing the wrong purpose. As I responded to her concerns, I couldn’t help but believe that there were many more people out there with similar questions. So, I thought I’d share my response here on the blog, instead of leaving it as just a response to her comment.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
How do I know what My Purpose Is?
What if I live my Life Chasing the Wrong Purpose?
You Don’t Have Just One Purpose
First, it’s important to accept that you don’t have one single purpose in life. While many books and other blogs will lead you to believe that you have only one specific thing that you must do in life, I disagree.
For example, consider a woman who starts her own company. If she seemed happy and within her element, you’d think she was operating in her purpose, right?
But what if you add in that she’s also a loving wife and mother of two kids? It would be wrong to say that only one of those aspects of her life is her purpose. She is blessed to wear multiple hats and all of those hats can make up her purpose.
So, it’s important to know that your purpose doesn’t have to be just one big thing. It can encompass several things.
However, it’s likely those different aspects tie together some kind of way.
That mother who has her own business helps to support her family and children with the income she earns. But she’s also leading her company to make a difference in the world, supporting her husband in his endeavors, and teaching her children about entrepreneurship. That can all be a part of her purpose.
Listen to Your Heart
Secondly, I think finding your purpose requires you to listen.
Your heart or your intuition is often a good guide for you to determine which course to take. Many times our heart and our mind are in opposition. The mind is trying to make logical decisions and that’s a good thing. But sometimes, we listen to our mind despite our heart, and we end up taking a safer, less fulfilling route, instead of following what our heart has told us is our true desire and calling.
Additionally, it’s important to recognize that we each have some skills and abilities that come easier to us than others.
For example, I am not a great public speaker or all that comfortable in front of crowds. This kind of makes me the oddball in my family.
You see, my father is a preacher and his father and brothers were all preachers. My mother and my older sister are singers, and my younger sister is an actress.
They all have natural skills that allow them to be comfortable and successful in front of a microphone, speaking or singing to an audience. I didn’t develop those skills and that’s not where my strengths lie.
I’ve always been able to better share my thoughts and ideas through writing. That’s why I have this blog and not a video or podcast show. This is where my skills can excel.
While listening, it’s also important to pay attention to the situations in which you continually find yourself.
Growing up and even today, I always had a knack for getting kids to talk to me about anything. Kids have always flocked to me for some reason. To this day, my wife calls me “The Child Whisperer,” because I connect well with children.
Recognizing that connection led me to become a social worker to work with children and families. I pursued an education to teach me how to improve my natural skills and abilities to help them. But, I never would have taken that route if I didn’t pay attention to the situations I continually found myself in.
Finding Your Purpose Takes Time
Finding your purpose doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a willingness to seek after it. It’s unlikely that your purpose will fall into your lap with a big sign saying, “I’M YOUR PURPOSE!”
But it is likely that your life, your heart’s desire, the situations you’ve experienced, and the skills that you have are leading you in a general direction where you will be able to use all of what you have to offer.
Your Purpose Can Change Overtime
Finally, I believe that your purpose can change. Life happens in seasons and I believe those seasons build upon each other. For example, there are things that you learned about yourself as a teenager, that helped you when you became an adult. Your goals and desires change over time.
But that’s OK.
As long as you’re not chasing someone else’s dreams, I believe you’ll continue to operate within your purpose. Just stay true to yourself, listen to your heart, pay attention to your experiences, and take notice of your natural skills.
Then accept what you find and operate from there.
Ultimately, I believe everyone’s purpose is geared toward helping and serving others. I believe that’s true of the fortune 500 CEO, the chef who loves to cook, and even the social worker who helps kids deal with life’s problems.
Our purpose, in my humble opinion, is to serve others. Seek out how you best serve others and I think you’ll find your purpose.
I hope that’s helpful.
Next Action Steps
In your journal start a list of things that could possible be your purpose. These don't have to be perfect. But it's important to start thinking about your life as something that has purpose. Once you have your list, re-read this post and see if you can start to hone in on a few things that stand out to you more than the others. Share your purpose(s) in the comments below.
For example: I believe my purpose is to help people learn how to manage and overcome the anxiety and fear that keeps them from accomplishing their goals and dreams.