Most of us want to look back and see a life of purpose that represents personal growth and service to others. Life and and responsibility can sideline us for periods of time but then we reset with questions like these…
“Who am I?” “What am I here to do?” “What’s my purpose?”
If you thought it was only baby boomers asking these questions think again. Generation X-ers and even some millennials are thinking about it.
I was a little surprised a couple of months ago when attendees of the Create a Purpose Driven Life workshop I was leading (that had previously attracted women 50+) began entering the room and the majority looked to be in their mid 30’s.
Were they in the right room? After confirming everyone was exactly where they wanted to be I thought, way-to-go! These women wanted to get a handle on the big questions early ensuring they didn’t follow in the footsteps of many of their predecessors who waited until much later in life to start pondering and acting.
The purpose driven group ultimately represented an age range of 26 – 72. A diverse group to be sure but the message is the same regardless of age.
You start looking in the same place.
Right where you are.
There’s a misconception about purpose. That it’s something outside of ourselves or a complicated puzzle we have to solve or something we need search for and find.
It all sounds elusive, mysterious and maybe a little unattainable.
Stop…take a deep breath.
It’s much simpler than that… It isn’t about searching or doing more but rather about being more of who you really are.
Where to start
The good news about purpose is that it’s not something that changes….it’s in our DNA and has been with us since the day we were born.
To begin to understand it do a quick review of life past and present. Identify what you care about and value most in life. These themes will repeat over and over. Ask – When I feel most alive or my ‘best self’ what am I doing? For example, if you feel like your best self when you’re working with your hands, then ask yourself what it is about making and creating that you love. Perhaps you will uncover that you enjoy being expressive. Therefore, you deeply value, creative expression and part of your purpose is to be shared in this way.
Also ask yourself, if time, money, and energy weren’t a factor, what would I want to do? The answer can reveal what is in your heart.
Who do you want to be?
There’s a chance that you like so many people, have forgotten a really basic fact about yourself. You. Are. Limitless. Humans beings are designed for greatness. Anything that another person has done is possible for you. (read the last sentence again) Yes. Everything you want for your life is available to you right now, just waiting for you to choose and step into it. Don’t spend another moment ‘settling’ for what you have or thinking about what could have been. Instead….
Take the Leap
From an early age a lot of us have been taught to follow the rules, fit in, and play along. When we look back, we see how the irrational limiting beliefs of others have influenced our own and stifled our ideas of what is possible for us. Family and friends offer a pat on the back and the requisite ‘you gave it a good shot’ but never hold us accountable for wanting to stretch into our full potential, because…well maybe… they’re not fulfilling theirs. We sometimes support each other right into the depths of mediocrity. Maybe we don’t want each other to suffer disappointment or failure but isn’t failure necessary and what brings each and every one of us one step closer to success?
Ultimately, we settle for less than what we truly want and are capable of and call it a day.
We’ve held ourselves hostage.
Deep down we know we. are. limitless. But our minds and the world around us confine us so we remain smaller than we were ever intended to be. This inner conflict leads to unhappiness, anxiety and the constant feeling there is something more. Instinctually we know this to be true, but we don’t know what to do or how to move forward.
Ask yourself, what have you always wanted to do but haven’t allowed yourself to do? What dream is in your heart?
Once you’ve identified the big dream ask yourself – why am I not doing that? Why am I putting my dream on hold? Your mind will automatically find lots of excuses…it’s not the right time…. I can’t afford it….it won’t work out…who am I to think I can do that??.. I’m not qualified… I’m not smart enough..young enough….(on it goes).
This time respond differently.
As an experiment just observe these excuses and stop yourself from infusing them with any energy. Try to emotionally detach yourself. I remind myself these voices are not my friend and will pretend I’m watching a television show as the thoughts and excuses fight for attention in front of me. All they are, are voices of fear…fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of the unknown that keep us playing small, smaller and smallest.
Then look at the excuses and address them by turning them into positive statements. “I don’t know if it will work out,” turns into “What if I succeed and am more fulfilled than I ever thought possible?” Or “Who am I to go after what I want?” turns into “I was born to do this.”
You have the power to live out your dreams and be who you are meant to be, but it starts with turning your fear into faith.
Give yourself Permission
So often we talk about wanting to change. We think about it and say we will do it, but year after year, nothing really changes. The truth is, nothing will ever change until you decide to make it happen.
When we say we want to find our purpose, what we are really craving is a life full of meaning, connection, and joy.
Starting today do more of what makes you happy
You will be living a life of purpose.
Thanks so much for taking the time to give this a read. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all Took the Leap. Imagine how different our lives would be… (a little fear at first but then)……more joy…more fulfillment …more satisfaction… more awe….more love…more songs in our hearts. Yes!
Please pass along to anyone who needs a nudge to Leap into a purpose driven life.