When you begin to think for a second that your life’s purpose is hitched to any job,…person, place, or even thing, be prepared for a rocky ride.
Truth be told, I’m guilty myself of falling for this attractive substitute for purpose. I’ve done it with jobs, a few people (family) and even a place or two…But the truth is, attaching the idea of purpose to any external circumstance is emotional suicide! I know it’s tempting, like cheesecake or warm chocolate volcano cake with vanilla ice cream, but here’s why you should avoid this seductive trap.
The appearance and shape of our lives can change in the blink of an eye. We can lose our job, discover our spouse is cheating, or find it necessary to move our lives across the country. If we believe our purpose is dependant on external factors, any physical shift can leave us feeling terribly lost and confused, essentially “without a purpose.”
The good news is that your purpose – although you might not know what it is right now – is larger than any person, place, situation, or thing! It is Ginormous!! And it’s completely portable and mold-able. In the Grand Scheme of Things, your purpose encompasses your life and carries you on your journey from the beginning to the end. The only person, place or thing it can attach to is you!
And, thank God for that because we all go through times in life when we feel like our purpose has changed, but the truth is our purpose doesn’t change; we do. Most of us need to grow into our purpose like growing enough to fit into our cousin’s hand-me-downs. Often, we’re not ready early in life to accept the grandness of our own purpose and vision. We have to grow in belief, confidence and courage until we are ready to accept our purpose AS our life. That’s why it’s important not to confuse purpose with a job, or person, etc. It’s too easy to get stuck.
But the truth is we do get these two important things in life confused – JOB = PURPOSE. We think the thing we do defines us. What’s worse is not knowing what to do, or why! But we feel like we have to do Something!! We all worry about getting this “SUPER HUGE IMPORTANT PIECE OF OUR LIFE” wrong 😦 Or worse, wasting our time!
What if…we “pick” the wrong purpose, like choosing the wrong major in college?!?
I’d like to think …and it has been my experience, that although we discover our purpose over time…as we mature, we can never be wrong about it – if we keep it unattached to people, places and things …like jobs. Remember, your Purpose is larger than any job you could ever clock in for here on Earth!
I was one of those afraid of getting it “wrong.” By the time I was forty, I’d already dabbled in 7 major jobs/careers, all different! How could I settle on one “purpose” when I loved doing so many things? I thought it was all about choosing the “right” vocation!
So, the question looms, how do we know (or discover) our Purpose if it isn’t the job we do?
I’m going to share a secret with you…your purpose will always answer the question: How does the World need me now?
You can answer this question by imagining what a perfect world would look like to you.
Mine goes something like this, “I see a world where everyone feels free to create lives of joy and fulfillment by following their heart’s desire. I see a world where self actualization leads to self love and loving others.”
Once you’ve imagined your ideal world view, consider what you can do to create the world you wish to live in? What skills or qualities have you been given to manifest “Your Ideal World.” Now write your “Mission Statement” of purpose. Remember to keep it general in the “how” category, but specific in the “outcome” category. Your purpose will become more specific over time, so allow it room to grow with you.
For example mine looks like this, “I want to use my skills to encourage everyone to embrace their dreams, knock out roadblocks, and set big goals that move them toward the life of their dreams. And I want to be an inspiration for how all things are possible if you teach yourself to believe.”
How do I know it’s right for me? One, I can make this happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Two, it excites me and inspires me. Three, it scares the shit out of me too.
So be afraid, AND get clear about the reason why you’re here. Once you’re clear on purpose, it can help direct your choices and keep you focused on and heading in the direction of where you belong, doing what you came to do. It s not an instantaneous process, so, …the sooner you get started, the better.
Deep down, even when we know what our purpose is, we might avoid embracing it fully because of it’s sheer magnitude. That’s okay, it will have it’s way with us in time. I now know that doing something about my world view is pretty scary, I must admit. It’s hard to imagine that I can really do anything to create what I envision. I’m not sure I’m ready…But is anyone ever ready? …Maybe we become ready as we try….
No wonder it’s far easier to just focus on doing a “JOB” – putting in our 9-5 and going home feeling content that we’ve done our part,…but I wonder, have we?.?