Your purpose is talking to you all the time – are you listening?
What is my purpose? Why am I here? What am I here to do?
These are questions more and more of us are asking, particularly in the wake of unexpected outcomes in world politics, global financial markets and increasing coverage of the topic from spiritual leaders all over the world.
This might be the first time you’ve heard of this notion of purpose and if that is the case, what even is ‘a purpose’?
For me, ‘a purpose’ is a mission. It’s something you were born to do. It’s your function on this earth. It’s why you’re here.
More simply, your purpose is that thing you’ll find yourself doing regardless. It’s the value you add to the world. As Frederick Buechner so beautifully puts it, “it’s at the point at which your deepest joy meets the world’s greatest need”.
You see, regardless of how tired you are, regardless of whether or not you get paid, regardless if anyone notices you just can’t help yourself: your purpose will pull you in over and over again. It’s something you can’t help but do and you can’t even really explain why. You don’t really understand. The best thing I can muster is you just feel compelled, guided, pulled.
Uncovering your purpose is a journey
I uncovered my purpose earlier this year, but as I say to my clients, readers and listeners: uncovering your purpose is a journey. I’m sure I will gain a deeper and deeper understanding of mine as time unfolds. For now, here it what I understand it to be: My purpose is to use my gifts in speaking and writing to empower people to uncover their purpose and build a life of passion. I believe that everyone has the right to make a living from their passions and I am here to show people how to do that.
Have you begun your journey to uncover your purpose? If you have, the questions in this free video might help your thinking.
So, how do you uncover your purpose?
My best piece of advice is this: make room and listen.
There is a voice in your head that talks at you all day telling you what you can and can’t do. Filling your mind with issues, worries and risks. This is your ego voice. But then there is another voice that can override that ‘ego’ voice when you’re fully conscious. It says ‘stop worrying about it’, ‘go for it’, ‘here’s the solution’, ‘you can do it’
We are all connected to a source, and when we take a moment to silence the chatter of the ego mind, we make room for the source, the divine, the energy of the world to converse with us. You might make this space in meditation or prayer or in other spiritual practices. This is where you get your guidance.
Does your heart speak to you at times? And ache when you’re not being true to yourself? That is your guide, telling you when you’re aligned to your purpose or off track. When you’re aligned, you’ll feel calm, capable and just right. When you’re not aligned you’ll feel anxious, unsure and just off. Does that make sense?
So, however your purpose communicates itself to you. Just tune in and pay attention. In fact, a great idea is to have a notepad just for this course and write it all down. Look for clues. Listen for signs. Pay attention to your gut. It’s trying to ‘happen’.
Your purpose is talking to you all time. The clues are there. They just might not be as glamorous as you were expecting.
The man who got trapped in a storm
Let me give you a story as an example. This is the story of a man who got trapped in a storm.
A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.
A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”
The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”
As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”
The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”
The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.
A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, “Grab my hand and I will pull you up!” But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”
Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”
And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”
Your purpose is a gift to be received
We all have a unique purpose. It talks to us all the time but as Parker J Palmer says: “It will only speak to us under quiet, inviting and trustworthy conditions”.
“The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we see.”
Your purpose isn’t a goal to be achieved. It’s a gift to be received. It’s already in you. Call it what you like: integrity, light, purpose. Just let it unfold.