Have you ever had one of the moments where you think “What the heck am I doing here?” I mean really, in the big picture, in that existential kind of way. I certainly have. In fact, I have spent a good chunk of my adult life exploring the answer to that very question. I was surprised recently, however, to realize not everyone spends a lot of time contemplating the purpose of their existence.
Ok, sure, I know most people wonder about the mysteries of the universe to some degree, but there is only so much time in a day to be reflective, right? There are bills to be paid, houses to be cleaned and businesses to run. Why should we while away our lives in pursuit of the unanswerable? Here’s the thing, I think we actually can find and know the answer to “Why am I here?” In fact, I think it’s our responsibility as citizens of the world to figure out our life’s purpose.
We each come into this world with gifts and talents. Some of us are painters, others are great mathematicians. We do not shine equally in all areas, therefore we need each other to fill in the gaps. I for one, could not run my business without a qualified accountant. If you do not actualize and share your gifts, you are denying someone access to quality services they need to make their lives better. It is selfish to hide your light.
You may be saying, “Yes, but I don’t know what my purpose is. I have no idea how to figure it out.”
Before we go any further let me say, I don’t think finding your life’s purpose has to have anything to do with religion. If religion is your thing, then more power to you. However, I believe our purpose is something we decide. Even if you believe a higher power has preordained you with a purpose, it is still up to you to decide to act on the bequest.
How do find and decide your purpose? Here are some clues:
1. Listen for your calling. There is a voice inside each of us. Some call it God others call it our inner selves. Whatever you call it, that voice speaks to you. It is the voice that urges you to do one thing over the other. It is the voice that pulls you towards your passions. It is the voice that want you to zig when others want you to zag. You must listen to that voice.
2. Honor your inner voice. So there’s no real new advice here. Listen to your inner voice. We’ve heard it before, but too often we disregard the value of the message. We brush it off as insignificant or even crazy. Have you ever had an idea and then almost instantly thought, “I shouldn’t do that” or worse “Who am I to think I could do that?” We must grasp those flickers of inspiration and nurture them. They are harbingers of our true calling.
3. Recognize the value in purpose. You may think all this talk of purpose is great, but I need to make a living. First, what could be more valuable than waking up every day feeling like you are significant, like you being present in the world matters? Secondly, when you have a clear sense of what you have to offer and confidently and intentionally go about communicating your value, you will no doubt make more money. Understanding and living with purpose gives you the fuel and clarity needed to be successful both personally and professionally.
4. You must decide & act with intention. You must make the decision to obey your calling. You are not held captive to circumstance. In those moments of inspiration, you must decide to say “yes” to your life. It is a daily or even moment to moment practice of living and acting intentionally.
5. Embrace feedback. Feedback comes in many forms. It comes in the words and actions of others, but we also have our own internal feedback mechanisms. It is important to pay attention to both. When you are living in alignment with your purpose, external feedback will be positive. Other people will respond to you with warmth and enthusiasm. When you are on target, your internal feedback will feel good too. Do not discount the good feeling! You may feel happy, excited or invigorated or you may feel a deep sense of calm. Your body will be more energized and have less tension. These are cues of purposeful living.
You can find your purpose. It is within you. It may take some work to get there, but the rewards are well worth it. So next time you hear your life calling, pick up the phone!
I love to hear your voice!
Where do you find inspiration? What techniques do you use to tap into your inner voice?
Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.