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!!!
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