I think we can all agree that challenges help define our lives. The minute we accept one, our path towards fulfillment widens, shifts, or quite frankly can even become confused. Challenges come in all forms; the jobs we take, the programs we join, the relationships we enter. Each brings with it the opportunity to set us on our path to discovering the absolute joys of life and achieving happiness, success, and fulfillment or they can lead us astray chipping away at our most valuable asset; our ability to just be.
So, how do we know which challenges to accept? How do we know which opportunities will bring us closer to the life we know we want to lead? Enter Purpose.
Consider this…the definition of PURPOSE is n. Determination; resolution.
When we apply this definition to our lives it takes on a very specific meaning. It is that thing which drives us forward in a particular direction. It’s always there, whether we’ve defined it or not.
Come to think of it, it can be described as that energy or force that is our unique reason for living!
Wow! That’s pretty powerful. I’m going to savor that for a moment…. Our Unique Reason For Living.
Like I said, Wow!
Think about it. You are incredibly special. You are unique. You offer to the world something no one else can. You have your own perspective, your own history, your own humor, skills, strengths and weaknesses. You are valuable because you are you and at the heart of all of that is your unique reason for living; YOUR PURPOSE; that energy that pushes you forward toward fulfillment.
Okay, I'm going to say it again. Wow!
Imagine knowing your purpose. Wouldn’t it make sense that happiness, success and fulfillment would explode in the presence of it?
If we understood our purpose and we lived life according to it, wouldn’t life seem more manageable? Wouldn’t we feel more peace? Wouldn’t our goals seem more achievable?
I’m going to go with yes, because this unique reason for living is driving us toward something in particular. Can you guess what it is?
So, let’s talk about fulfillment for a moment.
A few years ago I took a survey of friends and family and discovered that fulfillment was what most desired in life for their children and for themselves. It appears that we embrace the idea that we have a certain amount of potential and that we would be Happy if we Succeeded in achieving that potential.
So what drives us toward that potential? You guessed it! Purpose. We made a little circle there. : )
So, let me ask you, do you know your purpose?
It’s okay if you don’t. I didn’t define my purpose until about two years ago and I'm 52!
But, in order to help you find your purpose, just in case you don't know it, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. But first, you must understand that purpose is not a goal you want to accomplish. Your purpose is that energy, that force that drives every goal you have into existence. There is you and there is the power of you. Your purpose is the power of you. Pretty cool, eh?
Okay, so now let's get down to the secret of purpose. What I have realized about purpose, I have learned from my lovely and exceptional mother. What she taught me was that your purpose has nothing to do with you.
It has to do with others.
Let's examine this more closely. Based on the life my mom led, I can surmise what a couple of her goals most likely were and from that I can deduce what most likely was her purpose.
My's mom's list of goals:
I want a clean and comfortable home.
I want to be an exceptional cook.
I want to make the best lemon meringue pie in the south.
So, based on just a few of what was more likely dozens and dozens of others, I could say that my mom's purpose was to make every person she ever met feel welcome, comforted, and accepted. I know this because it was her clean and comfortable home that welcomed and comforted thousands of friends and family on countless occasions. It was her exceptional food that made people feel welcomed, cared for and loved. It was her perfect lemon meringue pie that was offered to so many families on the loss of a family member that meant love, kindness, warmth and a piece of her heart. It was to comfort them and let them know their loved one and the family was loved; that her heart was open to them and that they were welcomed and accepted no matter what. She was a truly exceptional woman. She was the first ARTIST I ever met and it's no shocker that her middle name was Love.
My favorite photo of my mom and me!
So, when we look at our goals from the perspective of why they are important, the profound answer doesn't arrive until we consider the impact our goals have on others. This is what leads us to our purpose.
Wow, huh? I mean it really does say a lot about mankind.
So! Let’s jot down some of our goals and see if there are any common themes or threads that run through them. Next week, we’ll address in more detail how to uncover your own personal reason for living.