For the past few years I have been fortunate to be exposed to some great professors, writers and great thinkers who are far smarter than I am. Whether in a classroom or reading an author's latest work, I have read and listened as they shared insights on what "purpose" means as we humans stroll along through this life of joys and challenges. Opinions vary from scholar to scholar about the importance of purposeful goals. They may tout goal setting in every day life as the road to purpose discovery or they might suggest a vision driven profession which includes playing "nice." Artfully creating a vision board will surely unveil ones purpose or simply meditating and gliding along mindfully as we shed concerns about why we have shown up on planet Earth.
Although there are various takes on solving the niggling issue of illuminating our purpose (divine or not), there do seem to be some common threads which I have incorporated into my own Ten Suggestions for My Purposeful Life. I speak from the experience of one who has acknowledged every single one of them at one time or another.
1. Purpose is not my label (doctor, teacher, husband, parent, student) that you name me or I give myself.
2. Purpose is not found solely in the work for which we are paid.
3. Purpose is not uniquely found in the role for which we are educated/trained. Might be, but may not be.
4. Purpose lies at our core, at our essential true and authentic selves. It is something with which we are born.
5. Purpose can be found within our passions. What is it that we do or feel that we could NOT live without?
6. Purpose isn't always revealed early in life. We may get hints of it, but our ego led self often masks what might be our purposeful self. How purpose expresses may change over the years.
7. Purpose is always present in our "soul", waiting in the wings to be asked to step into the light. It takes patience waiting for the moment for it to emerge.
8. Once emerging, we can feel the "rightness" of it. Call it feeling, intuition, gut feeling or a knowing. When it's right, it's right.
9. Ego sometimes will convince us we are living our purpose; however, there may still be some doubt. When we are not 100% in the purpose groove, there remains a big ? lurking in the wings.
10. Purpose is worth the wait. Patience is tough especially when we know we are not on target or on track for living our right intentional purpose. But giving oneself space and/or grace is worth the wait. Purpose is patient.