How To Find Your Purpose
The answer is simple, yet this does not mean that the process is fast or easy. But, here it is: Stop searching for your purpose outside of yourself and go within. Are you up late at night searching for the answer on Google? I know I went through some agonizing times in my life where I was digging deep into the recesses of the internet to try to figure out what I was meant to do with my life. I thought somehow Google could tell me what I couldn't seem to figure out on my own. Yeah, I sunk A LOT of time into research. Maybe you are hounding your friends, family, and coworkers hoping they might be able to provide you with the right insight to finally put the pieces of the puzzle together. Or, maybe you are just taking stabs in the dark and applying to random job postings! I want to share with you what I wish someone had told me during my excruciating and painfully long search. When it comes to asking other people (or an algorithm) about YOUR purpose, you need to know that their advice is always filtered through their story of you, and often, how they relate to you best- not necessarily the full and complete picture of who you are as a human. After all, most of these people don't know what is in your heart, what you secretly dream of in your quiet time or those moments in time when you felt in total flow and most like your true self. How could they know this? Here is something else I learned... people will give you advice based on how you show up in THEIR world. What if how they have seen you show up isn't the real you? Let me give you an example. When I was in the Marines, I was a credible and accomplished Intel Analyst, but I really despised parts of the job. Yet, I forced myself to be good at the job anyways. I used some of my best skills (communication, influence, adaptability, and critical thinking), but that doesn't mean I was passionate about the job. That certainly doesn't mean I was living my purpose. When I left the Marines and was trying to find my way, much of the advice I got from people was them trying to get me hooked up with other Intelligence jobs. Very kind and generous of them? Yes! Helpful in getting me on my path to purpose? No! It doesn't hurt to have the conversations. Exploration and curiosity are definitely a part of the process, but at a certain point, constantly asking other people to tell you who you are will erode your self-confidence. Think about it... If you are always asking other people, you are subconsciously telling yourself that you don't know yourself nor do you trust yourself to find the answer. You are subconsciously telling yourself that you trust someone who knows one layer, one part of you, more than you trust yourself. I believe this is akin to asking an acquaintance to choose your spouse. You simply would not do it because it is so deeply personal and subjective! To find your purpose, eventually, you will need to STOP searching outside of yourself. Stop with the frantic google searches and aimless networking meetings. At least take a break! Give yourself time to be still. To slow down. Time to be quiet. Time to reflect. Learn to ask yourself empowering questions. For example, come up with a question and make a reflection on that question your ONLY goal for the week. Ask the question aloud before you go to bed each night and see what thoughts arrive throughout your week. Here is an example of an empowering question: When was a time you felt the most you? Another might be, What is your greatest opportunity for serving others? Be with yourself, take care of yourself, allow time for reflection, ask empowering questions, and learn to listen to yourself to allow your purpose to reveal itself to you. Yes, reveal itself to you! Imagine... your purpose is a plane and it wants to land on your runway, but it can't because the runway is blocked by congestion-- all the opinions and well-intended advice of others. You are the expert of your own life. The answers are within you, even if they are buried beneath the layers of false identities, ego, social conditioning, and misguided expectations. Breathe and give yourself time to allow the answers to come to you. They are simply waiting for a clear place to land.