What if your purpose is also your biggest joy?

Are you struggling to find your purpose?

People spend a lot of time wrestling with the idea of purpose. So many people want to be more ON PURPOSE – living what matters, making the difference that they know they are here to make.

And in the process of trying to figure that out, it’s easy to get derailed into making a false association. In fact, it’s one of the most common false associations that I come across in my work with people.

And that is an unconscious belief that “purpose”, because it is important, has to be hard or serious.

The conversation goes like this: Yes, it’s all well and good to be out there loving life and doing good things – but then there’s the IMPORTANT stuff. The work I have to sort of shoulder up and bear.  At some point I need to get out of what’s really fun, and get into what matters. Get into my purpose.

Well – did you know that there’s an entire school of thought that says your purpose IS your joy? Your purpose is what you love doing so much that you can’t even really imagine that everyone doesn’t love it, and find it as easy and natural as you do. Certainly you don’t think of it as work.

This makes it hard to see, and harder to appreciate – because you are right in the middle of it. You’ve actually been doing it, in some way, all your life. It truly does seem totally easy and natural to you – so it’s hard to imagine someone actually paying you for it…I mean, really. Why would someone pay for this? Doesn’t everyone love to __________?

Fill in the blank for yourself and you have gotten close to stating your purpose.

It’s a very powerful day when you actually identify and claim your purpose, out loud. It’s something that pulls you forward, something you love to do, something you sneak in more of when the work day is over. And when you connect the dots to how this inspires other people, how it is of service in the world, it becomes lucrative as well.

What if you approach identifying your purpose with this lens?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself, in the area of your purpose:

1. What do I really love to do? (Do not restrict this to things that make money or have to do with work. Just keep it simple – what do you really love to do? What would you do in your spare time this weekend that would bring you joy, if you could do anything? What have you done in the past when you have been your most joyous and free self?)

2. When I do this, when I am doing the thing that has me most joyful, how does it impact other people? What do they gain from me doing what I love to do? What have other people said to me about this? What have I inspired in others, through doing what I do?

Here’s a personal example – I love to travel, explore, try new things. Get out of the box. When I put that through the second question, it became crystal clear to me that what is true, and what I have often heard from others, is that I inspire courage in them. Watching me be courageous inspires them.

Here’s the kicker – for years, I had heard that, and I had discounted it. Because to me, it didn’t feel like courage – so I wrote it off as no big deal. Which to me, it isn’t – it’s just who I am. Then when my eyes were opened to this aspect of being on purpose, I really got it. What is easy and joyous for me is not easy for everyone. So it inspires others.  

There’s the question for you, then – what do you love, that comes so easy, that you cannot even begin to think of it as work? What is so a part of you that you can hardly even see it for what it is? What brings out your most joyous essence?

One thing that will help you here as well is to ask several friends. Another sweet way to pose the question is:

What attribute comes into the room with me, when I come in, every time?  

You can do this for each other, which will lessen any embarrassment…most people would LOVE to know this. Go ahead – find out what it is that is so a part of you, which is inspirational in the world.

Go live your joy! Pass the inspiration on!!!


As always, if this has been useful, please help me out by pushing the "like" button!

And I love to hear your comments!!

10 comments on “What if your purpose is also your biggest joy?

  • Velina Brown says:

    Yay! Very helpful Scout. Some of my favorite things to do are learn and share what I've learned. It's natural and fun for me but I've come to realize that's not the case for everyone. 
    I will ask some friends the attributes question as well.

  • Thank you so much for this! To be reminded that our joy and natural gifts inspire others and IS our purpose is priceless. Many times we overlook those things, trying to figure it out and end up making it more difficult, but when simply follow our Soul, we ARE living our purpose.

  • Scout — thank you for this blog post.  I really like the question and your suggestions as to how to access the answer!  Great stuff!  I have sent this to my buddy coach as well. 

  • Thanks for another great post. For too long I spent life doing what I do well (cleaning, organising & caring for families) for a living. Ironically my home was usually a mess! I wasn't doing what I LOVE to do – which now I am, my house is coming together, I have more energy and LIKE how I spend my time.
    It's been a hard habit to crack, as not all goes as planned – a few little lessons thrown in – but in the end all good. I am having fun and the opportunities that fall in your lap when you DO follow your heart are outstanding 🙂
    Thanks again Skout.

  • This is such a great post, Scout!  I just taught another one of my "Sales Strategies for the Non-Sales Person" training courses tonight for newer entrepreneurs and biz owners.  I get so charged up doing these, I could go all night.  It's fun and although I know that biz owners knowing how to sell themselves and their servivces is important, a part of me sometimes thinks, "Nah, really important work is feeding massive amounts of homeless people or working towards world peace.  I'm just teaching people how to generate revenue and support themselves doing something they love.  Doesn't everybody naturally love and want to do sales so they can accomplish that?"  I can see now, however, after running through your filters, that helping people do THAT actually WOULD enable homeless people to be fed, education to be provided for international relations and a host of other "truly" important things.  That takes money and I help people make money.  They can decide what to do with it or how it best serves the greater good.  Thanks for helping put it all into perspective!

  • Great post scout.  I can see that doing what comes naturally to you could be your life's purpose and your joy.  But what if you do not have, or are not aware of any apparent talent or skill, and do not have any particular thing that brings you such joy?

  • Thanks for the great post, Scout!  It does seem to be a pervasive experience,  not understanding that one's passions/activities may send out inspiration to others.  And, there are two sequelae to this:  1) other people will either be motivated to follow their passions, or 2) others may try to sabotage or put down the one doing the passionate actions, because there is the underlying feeling "if they can do it, that means I can also, and that is too scary."   Or, it is just so different than the norm that looking outside the box is an exercise that requires too much stretching for the antagonist.   Recognizing this is important  for rising above and continuing on with your passion.  I wonder about question #2…..is it really my business how my actions impact others?  Is that bringing ego into the motivation?  I think there are stages one goes through in living passion 1st:  not aware of is one's passion, 2nd: awareness arrives, 3rd:  awareness is internalized, and action is automatic/integrated — almost back to the non-awareness.      

  • Susana Kaiser says:

    Hi Scout,
    I asked a couple of friends. Since I move around a lot, a lot of people know me only for short parts of my life. I asked the three that I have kept contact with through the moves. Here´s what I got:
    "You are a very optimistic, positive-thinking person who dares to redefine your life over and over again.
    You are persistent and don't hesitate to change direction quickly to get closer to your goals. You are unconventional and go your own way regardless of societal perceptions.
    You are daring with a strong belief that everything will turn out alright.
    You are a financial survivor who always finds a way to make the money you need to fund your newest
    idea. You are eternally 21 and your enthusiasm for your projects reflects that. You are a good and loyal friend and you know how to keep up your friendships. You are a good daughter and life partner. And no matter what, you keep trying to realize your dreams, whatever they are at the moment."
    "I would say you care for the world in many ways, you fight for those that do not have the resources available, you can juggle many duties seemingly at once, you have integrity and are a loyal friend.  You are a great daughter wanting your parents to have a high quality of life through their aging process.  You are compassionate, caring and have a big heart."
    "You always coach people."
    Then I got a clear message one morning: "My purpose is to aid people in reaching their potential and going their own way regardless of societal perceptions."
    So I signed up to become a coach, though I can probably reach that life purpose through many of the things I love to do, like dancing and inspiring through my dancing and through designing clothes too or writing my adventure stories.
    At the moment, the only thing that brings in money is programming Flash applications,  that allow people to upload their own photos and make products for themselves with them. It doesn´t inspire me or bring me much joy.
    What would bring me the biggest joy, would be to make a difference globally in empowering women, helping so that women can no longer be beaten, killed and mutilated and so that women can share the power in society fairly. Part of that has to be, to empower women to make plenty of money, so they don´t have to be dependent on anyone.

  • Such a good point that purpose and value are meant to be what comes from your heart.  I love the drawings on your logos! Interesting exercise with the part 2 especially.  I think most of us need more skills to see the value we have for other people and how that can translate into well-paid work – given the premise that we think everyone can do what we do.
    Thanks!  Will try the exercise with friends soon. 🙂

  • Hi  Scout.
    My purposes often descend to me from above when I do not expect them at all. 
    It's like a flash of lightning.
    Thank you for your brilliant letter.


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