Stop Looking for Your Purpose (do this instead)
Are you searching for your Purpose? Your Calling? Your Passion? Your Why?
Are you terrified that if you don’t find your purpose you will never be truly fulfilled or happy?
Is it true that if you don’t have a purpose you will be forever doomed to unhappiness and discontent?
Heck NO! There are millions of people right now living a life they love – without ever even considering their purpose.
The problem with this idea of one Purpose, one Why, one Calling is that there is no one perfect thing. There is only the best thing, right now.
Getting stuck finding your “Purpose,” as you call it, is actually distracting from you doing your best and most important work now. Don’t believe me?
Here are three reasons you should stop trying to find your purpose and what to do instead.
- It messes with your confidence
This obsession with Purpose reminds me of middle school. All the cool kids have a purpose, and if you don’t have one, you feel like a loser, like an outcast, like they have the golden ticket to success and happiness that you don’t have.
Spending countless hours trying to discover our Purpose can make us feel bad about ourselves, which is totally counterproductive to the idea behind Purpose. The ‘cool kids’ tell us that finding our purpose will make us happy but all of our searching will often leave us feeling lost and lousy.
- It prevents you from taking action
When working with clients and students of Be Productive Academy to find their Whys (notice I did not say “Find their Why”), I often hear that they want to FIRST figure out their Whys THEN decide on their goals, aspirations, and vision for their future.
This is completely backward! Clarity comes from engagement. When we are actively engaged in life we discover our preferences. Those preferences are what give us clarity on what does and does not fill our soul.
For example, I thought my passion was organizing offices but when I started organizing offices, I learned that I hated organizing closets and file cabinets. Instead, I discovered that what I was truly passionate about was educating and mentoring mission-driven professionals on how to use productivity & efficiency to make a greater impact, with less effort, so they could live the lives they had always dreamed of.
In order to learn what I did like, I had to take action doing something I thought I liked but, in the end, didn’t like.
- It blinds you to what’s already under your nose
Life is constantly giving us clues. Sometimes those clues come in the form of joy and sometimes in the form of frustration or pain. The “good” and the “bad” give us clues about who we want to be, want we want to do, and who we want to do it with.
If we are hell-bent on searching for our purpose, we often miss the clues that come from living in the moment. Tweet This!
It’s like dating. If you’re constantly evaluating each date with the sole purpose of finding the ONE, you are never truly present. You are too busy evaluating the date based on the criteria you have set-up in your mind of what ‘the one’ looks like, instead of actually getting to know the person in front of you. You also spend all of the dates in your head, instead of noticing how this person makes you FEEL!
It’s the same thing with constantly searching for our Purpose. We are never actually present. We are constantly looking at each experience to see if it’s the ONE, based on our own or the ‘cool kids’ criteria. Never taking the time to feel into or play with the ideas of what we might enjoy.
I don’t believe we just have ONE purpose, ONE calling, ONE Why, ONE Passion. You are a magnificent combination of many gifts, many talents, and you are the artist of your own life.
So Stop Frantically Searching for Your Purpose and Do This Instead
- Cultivate your passions
Try different things. If you have a niggling desire to do something (lately mine has been hip-hop dance) go ahead and try it.
Does that mean that if I love hip-hop I need to be a hip-hop teacher? NO. It just means that I get to add hip hop to my life and that allows me to live my life more fully and with more joy.
What if I hate hip-hop? Well, I invested my time and money and received the clarity that I no longer need to wonder if hip hop is something I’m passionate about.
- Notice what you gravitate toward
What kinds of books do you read?
If you had a full day with no agenda, how would you spend your time?
What have you mastered?
- What is simple or obvious to you and not to others?
I have always alphabetized my spices, kept an organized calendar, planned my meals and my week. This is something that is effortless for me but, much to my surprise, not effortless (or desirable) for many other people.
While some people see it as a quirk, I learned how to capitalize on my strengths. What are yours? What do you take for granted that others struggle to do?
- Putting It All Together
Keep track of your observations in either a journal or a notes App on your phone. Eventually, you will find common threads that will guide you in building both a career and life that fills your soul.
While you may not see trends as you go through your everyday life, you’ll notice the connections when you review your notes!
And, if you are still a bit freaked about all of this, watch for my free 3-week, video, training series (coming out at the end of this month) where I share How to Answer Your Whys.
Until then, stop looking for your purpose and start taking action, start playing with your ideas, and start being present in each and every day.