What is your life’s purpose? What are you supposed to be or do? Basically we are simply asking ourselves…”what can I do that makes a difference or is important in some way?”
Most of us have no clue to be perfectly honest. It’s a struggle for most people. The question however is a good one. Don’t worry so much about your mission or purpose in life as a whole. You don’t need to eat the elephant in one bite.
This is not a contemplative study of your significance in the world…but more a discovery of what feels important to you. It is definitely an individual thing. After all what is important to you will most likely be different than what is important to me. Is that not how it should be? Who am I to say what you should do or think or feel? I am nobody that’s who!
How do you figure this all out though? I have been thinking a lot about that in the last few years. Maybe it is a product of being in my 40s. Who knows?
I think a lot hinges on what provokes a passionate response in you, what truly moves you. I think:
YOUR PASSION+YOUR TALENT+HELPING OTHERS = YOUR PURPOSE
There is no scientific study here. I am certainly no expert. This is simply my thoughts and what has, of late, helped me.
So I came up with a few questions you could ponder. I am sure you could add a few of your own to this list, but hey these will get you thinking. Maybe you will learn something about yourself in the process or take a few steps on the road to finding your personal passion and thus your purpose.
What are you willing to sacrifice for?
Let’s be real for a second. Life is hard. Sometimes it is really hard. Everything in life involves some kind of sacrifice at some point. Nothing in life is horrible or wonderful 100% of the time. There are up and downs. Smooth patches and rocky patches. Things that are worth having and striving for ALL have a cost. It may be money, or time, or repeated rejections. It could be lack of sleep, or high stress, or physical/mental pain. That cost however is a large part of what fuels our passion and our ultimate satisfaction and joy. The bloody toes of a Prima Ballerina, the all night stress-filled job of an Emergency room nurse, the multiple rejections of an author, the tears, worry and patience of a special education teacher, the time away from home and family of a soldier, the unconditional love and sacrifice of a parent, the life and death decisions and risk of injury or death a fire fighter or police officer makes, the list goes on and on and on. Great things are worth working and sacrificing for.
What makes your inner child happy?
Think back to when you were a child….for some of us that is quite a ways back isn’t it? Remember how it felt to do things for the sheer pleasure of it. There was no reward needed. We did not even have to be good at it. You just enjoyed it for its own sake.
I loved writing all throughout my childhood. I wrote constantly and loved it. Then life took over and I rolled along many, many years without really writing much. I just dabbled here and there. But I was a grown up, I had important things to do and places to go. Writing was not important or necessary. I also was probably not very good at it and it served no ‘real’ purpose, right? It took time, it did not pay the bills, and there was no reward.
In the last few years I had an epiphany. Writing made me feel good. I loved it and THAT was its purpose. I swear I heard my 10yr old self clapping and giggling when I figured this out! Do something – anything – for its own sake because it feeds your soul…because it is your passion. Then consider how to use that passion to help others.
If you were a poor Batman (aka no cash, no gadgets and no superhuman abilities) how would you choose to save the world?
So, have you seen the news any time in the last few years? Things are messed up out there in the world. There is any number of problems plaguing us humans or our communities or our world at any given moment. As members of the human race and occupants of this planet we have to do our part to help. I know, I know….”but I am only one person.” Okay, that is true. One person can make a difference. Really! They do it every day. All of those people out there helping others are themselves ‘only one person’.
Pick an issue and do one small thing to help. Every tiny step in the right direction moves us forward. Even something as simple as donating blood, not throwing trash on the ground (or picking up if someone else did), performing a random act of kindness, donating your time or knowledge to a charity, etc all of these acts help in some way. If you find a need that really moves you – do more. Maybe you become a foster parent, organize a fundraiser, become a mentor…follow your passion.
Not only does this help others, but it also helps you. Helping others is important to your overall happiness and to your feeling of having a purpose in your life.
What do others ask you about all the time?
Have you ever noticed that your friends are always asking you about gardening, baking, organizing, proof reading, child rearing, or decorating? Do you find yourself constantly giving advice on relationships, makeup, or fashion?
Could it be that people consider you a kind of expert in these areas? Probably. People are very good at recognizing your natural talents – usually much better than you are yourself.
Pay attention to that. If you are passionate about writing and literacy and have a talent for organizing maybe volunteering at the library or organizing a book sale is something you could do to help others? A wonderful gardener? Why not help start a community garden, or donate the fruits (and Veggies!) of your labors to a food bank or shelter?
So take some time to think about who you are, what you are passionate about and how you can use your passions and talents to make the world a better place.