“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” Steve Maraboli
I am a believer that when something repeatedly shows up in your life, it is time to pay attention. Over the last couple of weeks, the question of ‘what’s your life’s purpose?’ keeps coming up. Most recently, my friend and fellow coach, Nancy Levin wrote about this topic – she asked herself and her readers, what have you come to do in this life. After reading her blog, I decided it was time to sit down and see: did I clearly hold my own life’s purpose in view and how can I help others find theirs?
I know that so many of us struggle with this idea. What am I here to do and how do I know when I have found the answer? And even when we think we have found it, the universe sometimes places hurdle after hurdle in our way. We get defeated, think we were wrong and go back to living a safe life – one that may meet our basic life needs but feels empty, as if we are marking time. Or perhaps, we couch our life’s purpose in terms of what we think we should do; we say to ourselves our life’s purpose is to go to school, get a job, earn a living and support our family. That may be how we end up living our lives, but I only would ask, does it light you up and motivate you? If not, maybe it’s time – like it was for me, to assess (or reassess) what is it that I am here to do.
As a child of immigrant parents, I thought concepts such purpose and life’s calling were first world luxuries. But, looking back, even my parents, who believe in hard work and living life according to a strict set of rules, are great examples of the difference between living your life’s purpose and doing what you should do. My parents were both doctors – but for my mom, being a doctor really was her true life’s purpose. You could see it in the way she cared for her patients, her focus and her passion. Her patients loved her too – I would constantly hear from them how wonderful she was – and she was (is). For my mom it wasn’t a career – it was that deep stirring that wouldn’t let go. It was that voice that said no matter what hurdles exist (and there were hurdles), this is where I am going.
I remember for years being envious of that kind of self-knowledge. I fought so hard to figure out what I wanted and how I could make a difference. But for years, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t find my purpose. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the gift of a life’s purpose is that no matter how hard you try to find it, it ultimately has a way of finding you – you just have to listen. You have to give yourself permission to drop all notions of what you should be doing and courageously listen to your heart’s calling. You can’t demand it to show up, force it or work hard to make it fit. You only need to allow it to show up as that soft voice that tells you ‘Do this, even if you might fail.’
As I sat in front of my blank sheet of paper, I was reminded that even when we believe we know our purpose, everyday life sometimes gets in the way of us realizing it or seeing it clearly. I recognized that even though I know my life has led me to the work I love today, sitting down and becoming clear on my purpose helps not only affirm where I am, but how I create my tomorrow. So, here is what I now know stronger than before:
My purpose is to:
- Coach and guide people through difficult times so they can get to where they want to go – consciously and faster than if they did it on their own.
- Help others give themselves permission to let go of who they once were, so they could become what they might be, not what they should be.
- Connect with others through my words so that I may inspire and empower them to make the changes they so desire in their life.
- Fail and lead others (by example) to embrace and love their failures so they may find true success.
- Show my family, friends, clients and people I am lucky enough to meet, what it means to stand in possibility and live a life beyond your dreams.
This week, listen to your life’s purpose. Find a quiet place and spend at least 20 minutes journaling about what it is you know to be your life’s purpose. Allow yourself to hear that soft voice and let yourself write whatever comes out without censoring yourself.
When you have completed your list, go back over the list and cross out any of the things that you have written because you thought you should be doing something or because it sounded good. For the next week, let yourself be guided by your purpose in all your choices, thoughts and beliefs.
And obviously, since one of my purposes is guiding others to get where they want to go faster, if you want some help in getting to your life's purpose, contact me for a free one-hour consultation to get started!
With love and purpose,