How To Live Your Purpose
We are constantly trying to find our purpose. People are always saying to me: “Wow, you found your purpose and made your dream a reality! How do you do it!?”
That’s not true for me. I haven’t discovered the ultimate answer to this existential question. The truth is, I think “finding” your purpose is a myth. We can’t go looking for our purpose “out there.” When we externalize our happiness through the fabrication of an idea outside ourselves, we inevitably feel incomplete. The biggest trap I see people making is trying to find their purpose outside of who they already are.
Purpose is a pursuit. I like to imagine my path as an invisible string. The string is attached to my heart and extends outwards in the direction of things that bring me joy. I can’t see where the string leads and the closer I get to where I’m going, the further the string moves into the distance. I trust that the nature of my heart’s direction intrinsically leads me along the path that’s meant for me.
There is no final destination. Accept that you will never fully grasp what’s at the other end of your heart-string because you can’t see the entire picture. Mystery is what makes life exciting! Maintaining this perspective alleviates anxiety about the future and draws you into the present moment. Trust the direction of your joy. Take action based on what pulls your heart-string. The experiences in your life are leading you to where you need to go.
Joy is your sole purpose. Meaning is linked to what excites you, what nourishes you, what elevates you.
Try asking yourself these questions:
What did I love to do when I was a child?
What ignites the fire in my belly?
What am I passionate about?
When we’re rooted in what inspires us, our life is driven by a feeling of significance and purposeful action. You spontaneously rouse others when you do what you love, which in turn encourages them to embody their passions too.
Your career and your purpose are not the same thing. This common misconception puts overwhelming pressure on your job. For a variety of reasons, fulfilling work is a privilege not open to everyone. Socioeconomic status, education, discrimination and luck play roles in the complex factors that dictate the job opportunities accessible to us. Living a purposeful life is about finding meaning in the moment, no matter what. For example, heartache teaches essential life lessons, loss cultivates gratitude, and chaos is an opportunity to develop faith. Uncovering value in the whole of your life is the secret to purposeful living.
Share the joy! Seek out a community that supports the essence of who you are. When you need inspiration, surround yourself with people you admire. One of my greatest role models for embodying meaning is Francis of Assisi. He managed to find purpose in the irony of being excommunicated from the organization he started. No matter how bleak the external circumstances of his life, Francis never lost connection with his heart-string. On our upcoming Living Your Purpose event, we explore purposeful living together in a supportive community.
Discovering purpose is a pilgrimage revealing new layers at every turn. When you relax and let go of the need to know the destination, you create a stronger relationship with yourself that empowers you to move in the direction of fulfillment. Embodying the search brings meaning to your life. There is no final triumphant moment when everything falls into place and your search is over. You don’t simply find purpose. You must choose to actively create it everyday.