I have spent so long trying to get clear on my purpose, my why.
I am absolutely certain that I was not put on this earth to pay bills.
I firmly believe that we each have a special contribution to make to the world.
It is not necessarily all about big world takeovers, fortunes and mansions. But I do believe that each of us have an essential heart driven contribution we can make to the world that will make a fundamental difference.
And frankly, there is no one else who can make that same contribution.
Trying to find your purpose seems like such a critical issue. What if you get it wrong? And you spend your life chasing the issue that was never yours to begin with? For those with perfectionist leanings like me, it is a daunting challenge, to get it perfectly right.
I have spent years looking and searching for my perfect why. I have been sure that it is right in front of me, and that I just can’t see it for looking.
I have been so grateful to come across another view this year.
One that sees our purpose as more of an X than a whY.
This idea, that there are 2 issues or values or causes for each of us, somehow takes the pressure off. That we could easily jump on either of them as your why, but on their own, they will simply be too much of a good thing. Like chocolate, or wine, or sleeping. There is a point when they become too much.
Although, I am happy to remind myself of why too much chocolate or too much wine or too much sleep is too much, now and again 🙂
But what if you spent your time looking at the interplay between those two issues that call you?
For a while now, I have been pretty comfortable that one of my X issues, is self empowerment. The challenge to really get to know ourselves, as we are, and choose to continue to keep working on our ourselves, and then learn to make decisions that are best for us.
I read about it, talk about it, and generally love the idea of knowing ourselves better and doing what we can to find and share our best selves.
But I had been grappling with my other X.
An early candidate was harmonious connection – this drew on my work in families and separation. After all, at work it is clearly my passion to limit the conflict and litigation for those I work with. But, it wasn’t quite right as a lifelong purpose.
The second candidate I played with was knowledge – that if I could learn and share knowledge to help myself and others to work on becoming our best selve. Perhaps that was intersection. But the more I thought about it, it really seemed to just be a limb of the self empowerment / self improvement issue.
More recently, I had been wondering whether it could be as simple as happiness. I believe passionately that everyone has the right to be happy, and hear myself say it often.
Something you find yourself saying often, is usually a sign that it matters to your core.
But surely, happiness couldn’t be a purpose could it?
Then, a couple of weeks ago I went and met with someone who knows their purpose, really knows their purpose. I asked them about their purpose, and in an instant, they pulled up their sleeve to reveal a tattoo of a lighthouse.
He looked me in the eyes, and said without a moment’s hesitation “I am here to be a lighthouse”.
I wondered what it would feel like to have that clarity about my purpose, and hoped I might be that clear one day.
Then as I drove away from that chat, I let it all go, and mused on the glorious sunset on the horizon.
Suddenly, I had a moment of recognition.
Many years ago, probably 5 or 6 years ago now, I had entered the world of coaching as a client. I had engaged a business coach, and was faced with a wildly new concept – that I could work on myself from the inside out. At the time it felt like I had stepped off the commuter freeway, and had found a world of adventure and exploration and growth and reward.
I just knew there was something life altering in this stuff for me.
Within a very short space of time, I was sitting in a tattoo shop, marking myself forever in that moment.
I chose to get 2 symbols on my spine.
The first was Kaizen – the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement.
What hit me after the chat with my lighthouse friend, was that the meaning of that symbol was just the same as my first X, self improvement/empowerment!
The second tattoo I got that day was a symbol for gratitude. I had used gratitude, and my Daily Gratitude practice, to claw my way out of a deep and dark emotional hole. Today, I see Gratitude as the bucket we can use to draw from the well of happiness in our lives.
I couldn’t fight the feeling that perhaps I had it!
My purpose. My X. My Why.
And that I had marked them on my body years ago, without even knowing how fundamentally important those things were.
For me, for now, I am trusting that I have finally found what was in front of me (well, technically behind me on my back) all along.
And so, I shall devote myself, heart and soul, to explore the intersection where self improvement meets happiness.
Wouldn’t that be nice. To imagine that I could help others to get to know themselves better, to become strong enough to make decisions that are good for them, and move them closer to their happiness.
I like that.
I like that a lot.
Do you know your purpose?