Purpose as a concept is hard to describe because it is deeply personal. Purpose is a calling; a state of being that aligns your actions with your core.
What is the big deal about purpose?
“Finding your purpose” is almost a catchphrase these days. You hear it thrown around all the time, but have you ever found yourself wondering what it even means? Or asking yourself “What is purpose and what does living a life with purpose actually look like?”
You are not alone. Many people have these same questions.
Purpose as a concept is hard to describe because it is deeply personal.
Purpose is a calling; a state of being that aligns your actions with your core, generating confidence in what you are doing in life.
Purpose isn’t always what you might think it could or should be. An individual’s purpose can vary greatly between person-to-person. It can be big or small, glamorous or mundane, and regardless of what those around you may say, there is no “right” purpose. There is only your purpose.
All this may leave you wondering what your purpose is and whether or not you will recognize it when it appears. Perhaps the easiest way to identify your purpose or passion is by how it makes you feel﹘both emotionally and physically.
Purpose doesn’t just live in your head, it resonates throughout your entire being. Some people report their heart beats faster, others may tap their feet or contract the muscles in their legs, becoming fidgety. For me, I get a feeling in my tummy﹘butterflies and a sinking feeling, followed by a quiet stillness. It’s as though every cell in my being is saying “Be still, listen. . . this is big!”
“It's as though every cell in my being is saying 'Be still, listen . . . this is big!'"
Most people recall an emotional or intellectual nudge. Something that sparks their curiosity and drives them to learn more and emotionally it borders on awe. Purpose starts as an idea; an idea that you actually feel inside yourself.
Once you have identified or discovered your purpose, here are four things you will notice:
You are energized. Your purpose does not steal your energy, rather it becomes a natural source of your drive and passion.
Time flies. You will work. Hard. But you are able to engage in a way that doesn’t feel grueling. In fact, time may pass very quickly and you may find yourself struggling to disengage.
Others are excited about what you are doing. When you talk about your purpose or introduce others to your projects, they get energized as well. It magnetizes others and your excitement is infectious.
Purpose transforms. As you engage in your purpose, you naturally learn, grow, and expand your world. As you touch the lives of those around you, your growth also transforms the lives of those around you.
If you haven’t yet experienced your purpose, do not be overwhelmed or disheartened.
Each person’s journey has its own timetable and comes into being at the right time. That said, it is important to not let indecision, frustration, or fear cause you to become stagnant. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities.
If you really want to fast track finding your purpose in life, start saying yes.
Say yes to the opportunities that life is offering you. If you have a chance to try something new or to meet new people, say “yes!” You may find something you love, or you may find something you would never choose to do again. Through this process, you are simultaneously narrowing and expanding the field of possibilities.
“If you have a chance to try something new or to meet new people, say 'yes!'”
Travel or working on a project are great ways to expand if you allow yourself to be open to new places, ideas and people. You never know where the journey may take you.
There are some things you can do to help yourself find your purpose:
Clear the clutter. Clearing clutter from your mind and life makes it easier to identify the things that matter most. This is often best achieved by using meditation and mindfulness practices. By engaging in these tools over time, they become like a Marie Kondo tidy-up for your inner life.
Be Observant. Practice being aware of the sensations and thoughts that come up as you interact with different situations and people. Note how you are affected and track your energy level as you engage in activities and with people. This attunes you to what is truly right for you.
Talk to other people. Those closest to us can give us strength and insight. But in some instances, they unknowingly feed our doubts. If you find this happening, consider shopping your ideas elsewhere. Talking with a coach at this point can be helpful in strengthening your confidence and bringing forth your vision. When you open your heart and express yourself, the act of putting your hopes and dreams into words has power.
Visualize. Learning to visualize the outcomes you hope for - through your feelings - will help you define the qualities of your life that you want to achieve. It’s nice to daydream and fantasize about a carefree life, but this is different. Visualize with your emotions, see the details, but more important sense the feelings of what it would be like to live in your vision.
Finding your purpose is a journey and it takes time.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed every once in a while. When you do, take a step back, take a deep breath, and pick it up again.
Real living is in the journey, not in the destination. Finding your purpose won’t perfect your life, but it will deepen it’s meeting, and it just may be a critical piece to feeling complete.
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