Updated: Aug 27, 2020
No question has been asked more than "Why am I here?" Man's search for meaning is an innate curiosity that is part of what makes us human. But despite being asked for so long, how is it that many don't have an answer to this question?
Part of the reason that the answer eludes so many, I believe, is because they are searching for that one purpose of their life. But by choosing only one, you are actually no longer searching for purpose but instead seeking to define your life. And while that may seem to be synonymous with a purpose, it's actually not.
When we define something, we confine it to its definition, but when we establish a purpose for something, we free it, because it becomes boundless by way of our ideas, creativity, and passion. An example of this is Lego blocks. If you define it, you can say that Legos are interconnecting blocks. That is a definition that is accurate with well-defined boundaries regardless of who is looking at or defining them. However, if you show ten people a lego block and you instead ask them what the purpose of Lego blocks are, you are likely to get ten different answers. And the beauty in that is that while you can incorrectly define what a Lego is, you cannot find an incorrect purpose. And here's where you can further appreciate the purpose of something. Ask those same ten people in 10 years what the purpose of those Legos are, and you'll likely get different answers from each person.
When we look at our "life's" purpose, we have to remember that life is very similar to a book, in that it has many chapters. And as such, our life's purpose can change, either subtly or significantly, as we shift into different chapters in our lives. So one of the most important things to remember in discovering your life's purpose is that it does not have to be one thing. There are very few people in this world that discover one thing that fulfills them and carries them an entire lifetime. People like Jane Goodall, the scientist who dedicated her life to studying primates, or that guy who walks into the diner and says, "Give me the usual" and proceeds to eat the same breakfast every day for years, are not typical. Most of us are going to change jobs, and even careers, several times in our lifetime. We are going to get tired of eating the same breakfast day after day, and even habitual coffee drinkers are going to switch things up and have a cup of tea at least once a year.
So here are three practical ways to help you to discover your life purpose:
1. Sit down and Quiet Your Mind:
Avoid complaining about how your life lacks purpose and silence those thoughts by incorporating meditation regularly into your life. There are tons of videos on YouTube to teach different ways to meditate, but the simplest way is to find a quiet place to sit and focus on how your body naturally finds a breathing rhythm. Throw in some slow deep breaths here and there, repeat for a total time of 1-10 minutes and voila! You just meditated! When we can slow ourselves down and relax, good things come to us. (I'll write more about meditation in future posts).
2. Try new things:
You won't know if you like fried pickles until you try fried pickles (which incidentally aren't that bad, albeit quite greasy). Purpose is not always realized in our minds or through meditation. Sometimes, you have to try that thing that you've been curious to try. Keep an eye out for the times you say "I've always wanted to try...", because that could be a clue to something that may be calling you or it may place you in a situation that leads you to something calling you.
3. There may be more than one purpose:
Open yourself up to the possibility that your life purpose may reveal itself to you in parts. Let yourself off the hook, and don't put so much pressure on yourself to find that one thing. Life occurs in seasons or chapters, and just like in a book, each chapter has its purpose in the whole story, and each chapter has its highlights.
Remember that life is not about the destination; it's about enjoying the journey. Everyone has a life purpose, and everyone can realize it. If you want a partner to join you on that journey to discover it, a coach may be the best decision you've ever made. One of the areas I most enjoy in coaching is helping people and businesses find their purpose.
Remind yourself that this is your time, and you can discover your purpose. However, if you'd like some help along the way, working with a certified coach may be the best decision you make.