When I was about 5 years old, I became obsessed with the idea of purpose. And as all little 5 year olds do when they have their heart set on something, I begged my mother day after day to drive me down to the local Woolworth, and buy me a purpose. I truly thought purpose was something I could grab off the shelf, similar to a doll or a new toy.
Purpose was a vision of grandeur to me. It felt and sounded like magic. In my mind’s eye it was similar to It’s a Small World (my favorite ride), at Disney World. It had a mysterious feel. It was like this unimaginable place in my mind’s eye that I longed to experience.
I find it ironic that 40 years later I am still obsessed with the essence of purpose. However, I’ve learned a few things about this “magical place of purpose” along the way.
I believe my silly story as a five year old was a gift. I believe that I was given this experience in my innocent, untamed years so that I could return to it 40 years later. I believe my story of finding or searching for purpose is representative of what many people are struggling with today. Purpose feels so vast and esoteric. It has a mysteriousness to it that people can’t quite put their finger on. I wanted to write this article to help you understand that you were born with purpose. It is nothing you have to find, search for or chase.
I find that the word purpose throws people into the chase.
The chase of being seen. The chase of feeling worthy. The chase of feeling successful. The chase of being recognized. The chase for the next best thing. The chase for the relationship that finally makes you feel worthy. The chase for the next goal, and the next, and the next, and the next.
My entire life and coaching practice is built on this notion of purpose and I find that even professionals within my industry miss the mark on this topic. It’s this foggy brained notion that sounds really nice, but does it actually exist? And because so many people don’t really understand purpose or aren’t connected to their own purpose-they tend to write it off and think that it doesn’t really exist.
My goal with this article is to break down the top 4 myths that I see around this notion of purpose. I don’t want you to keep chasing and thinking you can find your purpose at the local Woolworth (today that would be the local Walmart by the way).
My hope is that after reading this article, you will begin to find the joy in understanding purpose is something you uncover within yourself and align yourself and your activities with every single day.
So let’s dive into the top 4 myths that I hear from people that might help you clear up any questions you have about purpose.
Myth #1: Purpose changes over your lifetime.
Quite the opposite my friends. This is one that I hear all the time. Purpose never changes. Not ever. The truth? You were born with purpose. You were born with a divine assignment living inside of you waiting to be released. We are born these extraordinary, loving and amazing creatures. But somewhere along the way we begin to doubt our potential, our greatness, our worth. As a result we begin to chase-we begin to separate ourselves from our true purpose and attach to the limiting stories that others place on us. We begin to become a bit robotic and turn into people pleasing approval seeking robots.
The moment you breathe the breath of life you have purpose. What does change however is your vision, and THIS is what confuses people. Your vision supports your purpose. Your vision is what you want to create, what you want to do, and the legacy you want to leave. The vision is how you carry out your purpose. Your goal is to live a purpose driven vision.
Myth #2: To live a purposeful life I will have to do something really outstanding and earth-shattering.
Incorrect my friends. Purpose does not come in a package lit up with firecrackers and sparklers. Purpose doesn’t mean speaking to millions, making millions and impacting millions. It might mean that for you. And it might not.
Let me explain, I want you to think about your favorite ice cream. (Mine is mint chocolate chip by the way). So let’s say I go to Baskin Robbins (who happens to have THE BEST mint chocolate chip ice cream) and I’m excited to get my two scoops in a dish. Imagine that the person behind the counter who just scooped up this beautiful dish of goodness that I’m about to enjoy, handed me a knife to eat my ice cream. Doesn’t make sense does it?
Why doesn’t it make sense?
Because THAT is not what a knife is created and designed for. A knife is created and designed for cutting. I could try to eat my ice cream with the knife but it’s not going to be very effective. It’s going to feel clunky and out of place. It’s going to feel hard and it sure isn’t going to make my experience of eating my favorite ice cream very memorable. It’s going to really impact the experience in a bit of a negative way.
A fork, knife and spoon were all created and designed for very specific foods. You can use a knife to eat applesauce, soup, salad or ice cream, but it’s not going to be very effective. The knife was made for something specific, as was the fork and spoon
And guess what? SO ARE YOU!!! Sadly 80% of the population is a knife in an ice cream shop. Many people don’t know what they were created and designed for. Most people are conditioned to strive, to check items off the to do box, to feel scattered, and to keep pushing for accolades.
If that’s you, you have no idea what you are missing out on. You were meant to be a spoon in an ice cream shop. If you’re lacking energy or passion in your life, there’s a really good chance that you are not in alignment with your purpose. There’s an effortlessness that comes with that alignment. There’s an ease and joy that comes from being in flow with your purpose. It doesn’t have to be on the front stage. It doesn’t have to be speaking to millions. It just has to be in alignment with who YOU are.
MYTH #3: Purpose is something we create.
Purpose comes from your soul. There is nothing about it that comes from your head. Purpose is pure 100% heart knowledge, not head knowledge. The head is where many of us live because it feels safe. It’s a coping mechanism we develop at an early age. And while our minds have great value, they are not where real life takes place.
Many women run faster and faster in the hamster wheel of busy feeling numb, bored, unhappy and unfulfilled. The question at some point arises-is this all there is?
Years of built up rejection, judgement of doing something wrong, right or not good enough can many times feel as if it puts us” in our place.”
We can find ourselves second guessing, overthinking and being a bit of a robot. People pleasing and yearning for approval from others becomes a way of life for us. All of this adds up to falling short of living our best, full lives.
And sometimes when we recognize that truth, we escape to our minds and try to rationalize ourselves out of the feeling that there could be more for us, that we’re in pain, or we live in constant stress and overwhelm from trying to go bigger.
So much of the world is conditioned to:
You are your goals.
You are your vision
You are your kids mom
You are your accolades
You are your career
But purpose comes from the heart. Purpose is being an expression of who you already are. If you know WHO you are, the pieces will come together in terms of how you create and design a life that is aligned with you doing/being that.
The great news is that you don’t have to try and create purpose. You already were born with purpose-it is part of your DNA. The only thing you have to create is a life by design and that comes from being an expression of your purpose-from being driven by soul.
The point is to create a life so that you don’t have to turn any parts of you off.
MYTH #4: You can’t make money and live out your purpose.
Purpose can be for profit, if it aligns with you and you choose for it to be. I can’t tell you how many clients I coach who were told that they could never make a living by following their purpose. However, sometimes your purpose isn’t supposed to have anything to do with making a living.
Your purpose might not actually want (or need) to be monetized.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never make money from being an expression of your purpose or that you’re doomed to work a boring office job for the rest of your life.
It means you get to decide what it looks like to be an expression of your purpose in your relationships, your career, your health, your life.
We each have unique gifts and assignments on this earth and not all of these gifts need to be tied to earning an income.
Your purpose is who you are being in this world. You get to put your own energetic signature on whatever it is that you choose to do. Start to explore your true essence of who you are and who you’ve been created to be. If you know WHO you are, the pieces will come together in terms of how you create and design a life that is aligned with you doing and being that.
When I was a stay at home mom, not earning an income, I was being an expression of my purpose. When I chose to start a photography business, I was being an expression of my purpose. In my current role as a coach, I am being an expression of my purpose.
However, if I closed up shop today and never coached again, I would still choose to be an expression of my purpose because purpose is who you are being in this world. I know WHO I am created and designed to be. When I was a photographer, the passion for the craft started to fad. I was tired of working nights and weekends and when I found myself physically injured and could barely lift a camera any longer-it was time to pack it away. However, I stayed aligned to who I was, and chose then to follow the breadcrumbs to coaching school.
The key is to keep following your breadcrumbs to discover what lights you up. One small breadcrumb leads to another, leads to another. This is about noticing what you naturally enjoy and then being intentional with your career and life. It’s about noticing and asking yourself, When I’m at my best-when I go the extra mile effortlessly where am I who am I with, what am I doing. Start to explore your true essence of who you are and who you’ve been created to be.
If you’re engaged by a certain project at work, how can you engineer your career to do more of that type of project? If you enjoy working on a certain team, what is it specifically about that team that energizes you and how can you intentionally work with more people like that?
If you’re the best brownie baker on the block and love to share them with the neighborhood kids, how can create more opportunities to do that type?
Even if there’s no logical reason for you to take that class or especially if there’s no logical reason, if you’re curious about something and it brings you energy, do it.
Your ego (inner critic) will try to talk you out of it. But it’s your job to understand that it’s simply the inner critic trying to keep you in familiar ground.
One important clue that you’re hearing the voice of your soul is that your ego will probably judge and label it as “weird,” “stupid,” “insignificant,” “irrational,” or “impossible.” It is your responsibility to say no to those inner messages and to step into your brilliance and live a life that is a true expression of you.
Listen to the whispers of your soul-those gentle knocks, those delicate shoulder taps. That is soul speaking and soul is never wrong.
My hope is that you will find more joy, happiness and fulfillment by being an expression of your purpose everyday. This is how your experience true life satiation and success.
P. S. If you would like support and guidance in following your purpose, sign up for the waitlist for my group coaching program, Made For This or join my free private facebook community for female leaders HERE