We exist on this earth for an undetermined period of time. During that time we do a lot of things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time. We all have things we like and stuff we enjoy doing but how can you discover your purpose through your passion? How can you tap into what drives you while leaving the biggest impact and imprint?
So when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?”
Let’s take it on back as I frequently enjoy doing. Let’s revisit your childhood joys. Remember when life was carefree and you had time to dream and wonder? For some of us, it might take a moment to conjure up such a peaceful time in our lives. What did you enjoy doing? It might be easy to cast off climbing trees or playing in the mud but stay with me. What did you see yourself doing when you grew up...you know before someone told you it was impossible, you aren’t smart enough, get your head out of the clouds or that will never happen.
What if you could ask our 8-year-old self that question again. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Haily Miller, the blogger from Everygirl has a few questions to get us started on this journey and I’m going to answer them on my end….you get ready to do the same.
When do you forget to look at your phone?
- When I’m exploring new places
- When I’m connecting with new people
- When I’m creating - bringing and idea, concept, or product together
What were things you loved to do as a kid?
- Build businesses
- Host plays
- Anything theatrical or dramatic (roleplay)
What feels like active meditation?
- Helping someone
- Presenting new ideas
What lights you up?
- Anything creative (art, music, theater)
- Meeting new people
- Developing a new idea
What would you do if money didn’t matter?
- Create art
- Volunteer more hours
Now, look at your answers to uncover a common thread or theme. Looks like for me it’s creating something, meeting new people, and exploring. What about you?
Now take another step back and look at the bigger picture. Experience in life gives you a broader perspective and you have a better vantage point to see how this passion might fit into the world. Sometimes it’s not so specific but a direction you should explore. Sometimes its how your passion makes you feel or how it encourages others instead of the actual act itself.
I found my purpose a little over 2 years ago. That isn’t to say it wasn’t always there or that I wasn’t exercising it to some degree earlier but until 6 years ago my journey was dictated by my ever-evolving life...trying to get somewhere, marriage, child, still trying to get somewhere, child, career change, multiple moves, still trying to get somewhere, another child, another career change, more moves, life delivered blow, another blow, life-altering change, career change…..etc. You see where I’m going right? I’m sure most of you can identify with a lot of that. It’s hard to zero in on your purpose or even fully embrace your passion when you are too busy trying to stay afloat and did I mention, trying to get somewhere.
When I empty nested I decided to put myself first and really figure out who I was and what I wanted. A big part of both was where, when, and how I could give back. See my passion was people. I love people. I love to meet people, be around people, learn, study, and interview people and help people. Whatever I decided to do had to incorporate my love for people.
But before I could do any of that, I had to figure out who I was, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I had to face my failures, admit my responsibility, forgive myself, find the lesson, and move on healthier and committed to being happier. To truly feel for another person is to have empathy. And to possess the ability to put yourself in another person shoes is to first identify with your own.
Take some time for yourself, quiet time, where you can reflect on the different seasons in your life. What went smoothly and where did you hit opposition? Think about each of the challenges and really look at them. Sometimes we justify or make excuses to make a bumpy road more smooth but covering up the past isn’t dealing with it allowing you to move on. It just stays buried but shallow, just below the surface and can make embracing new ideas and new opportunities more challenging.
Ask yourself this question, is there anything I could do to change that event for a more desirable outcome? The answer might be yes if you could develop a time machine but today, is there anything you can do? If not, you have your answer. However, we are human and a logical answer isn’t always good enough. What could you glean from that experience that could positively impact your future? If you can’t change it you might as well learn from it. It isn’t always about avoiding it in the future it’s about changing your trajectory altogether.
Obviously, the road to self-forgiveness and self-discovery isn’t short or straight and it isn’t the clearest path at certain times of your life but it’s always rewarding. Living a joyful life free to be yourself and connect with others in an authentic and loving way is the ultimate goal. Tapping into your purpose through discovering your passion is the big payoff. Remember, it may not be ONE BIG thing but multiple facets of who you are so don’t get discouraged looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow.
How could you take this desire, this passion and impact the world? Giving back is as self-nourishing as it is paying it forward. Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Just start! There are loads of great ideas and tons of compassion but until you activate your purpose and start pouring into other people, then it’s just good intentions and in this case, it ISN’T the thought that counts.
Where to get started? Well, that’s half the fun! Look for a chance to jump in and then GO! Here’s a little secret, the world is in desperate need of volunteers and until you ask or respond when asked you will never experience the true reward.
Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems but you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.
CHALLENGE: Remove self-doubt and free yourself to dream a little. Don’t lose sight of the wonder your true-self had before life said no. Uncover ways to harness the joy you receive from discovering your purpose to positively impact the world.
I Know YOU Can Do It!