Purpose is one of those buzz words that gets thrown about quite a bit and means different things to different people. I would like to help you streamline what it means to you and how you can look at the breadcrumbs of your past experiences to connect more deeply to your purpose.
Some people think that you have only one purpose, that you are born for one primary reason. Everything else is secondary to that.
The problem with this idea is that unless you have the 100% certainty of knowing exactly what that is, you can end up on a path of frustration and upset as you struggle to ‘find’ yours.
Victor Frankl in his wonderful book ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ highlights the incredible resilience and determination an individual can demonstrate when they find meaning. But meaning is not limited to your one sole purpose. It is finding and extracting meaning in whatever circumstances you find yourself.
I would like to propose an alternative way to approach finding your purpose. The key is to look at your life right in this moment, and in the minutes, hours, days and weeks that preceded it. Delving into this information will reveal your current purpose.
The reason for this is we can define your purpose as what you currently value most highly in the world. The things, people or actions that you show day after day are important to you. Using this approach you can tell if you are ‘on purpose’, because you can check if your thoughts, decisions and actions are congruent with your current highest values, or if you have been distracted and knocked off them.
If you are doing things you think you ‘should’, that’s a sure fire way to know you’ve temporarily been knocked off track, if you are setting inspiring goals and tackling challenges you can’t wait to get up for, then you are on purpose.
By taking this approach you do not need to worry if you are on your one and only purpose, because for many people, this doesn’t exist. It is natural that as you get older and have more life experiences that your purpose gradually changes and evolves. What was your purpose when you were 15 is unlikely to be your purpose when you are 50.
It could be – but it doesn’t have to be.
Taking this approach also means there is no need to stress, worry and feel anxious about not having a purpose, because all you need to do is take Frankl’s approach and extract meaning in what you are currently doing.
Your life demonstrates your values; through what you spend your time, energy and money on. Your life demonstrates your purpose through the conversations you have, the goals you picture, and the people that inspire you.
If you feel like you’re a bit off track – that’s okay – focus back on what is most meaningful, and take small steps to move in that direction.
So to find your purpose, examine your life and look for the key things that give your life meaning, and embrace them. The more you can focus your life around them, the more inspired you will feel, and the more your purpose has the time and space to expand.
As you grow, so does your purpose.