“Life starts at the end of your comfort zone.”
Ever heard it before? Of course you have – it’s plastered on all those motivational posts you see sprawled across Instagram and those Facebook pages you see posting every eight minutes.
So why is it that you’re 27, still sitting here, trying to figure it all out?
No, not what to watch on Netflix. I mean trying to figure out:
Why exactly am I here?
What am I going to be doing in 5 years, 10 years, shoot maybe even 6 hours?
How am I going to share my talents and skills with the world?
How will I make enough money to one day support a family or my dream of traveling the world?
You’d think that the countless Instagram posts and inspirational quotes that get sent out into the universe on a daily basis were gaining traction enough to motivate you into action.
How do you really find your purpose?
One of the fundamental purpose-finding activities that you most likely haven’t done is to sit down eye to eye with yourself. Some might call it the ego. It’s that little voice in the back of your mind that constantly alters how you see the world.
You haven’t actually peeled away all the layers to get to your core…yet.
But when you get there, you might be surprised what you find.
You still have to sit down with the child inside that screams and kicks when he or she doesn’t have his way and ask why.
You still have to bend down eye to eye to the toddler who remains silent because he or she is at a loss for words.
Your path to your purpose means sitting down with your inner you and exploring the desires, temptations, fears and interests that have laid dormant for the last two decades.
One of quite possibly the most important quotes for you to remember from here on out is the following…
“Remember that one thing you said you were going to do before you got busy and forgot? You should go do that. You really should.”
I wish I could tell you who it came from but last I saw, it was written onto a cardboard sign on a Tumblr blog. Whoever said it was (and maybe still is) a genius.
Think back to when you were a child – did you dream of becoming a fireman or a police officer? Maybe you wanted to be a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger like I did. You had a dream and that dream is still alive. The only thing that has changed is the shell that surrounds the dream.
Now I’m not saying I still want to be a Power Ranger fighting off evil, but I sure do want to be a role model for others, a trend-setter, the one who is so fortunate enough as to inspire others into action. Oh and it won’t hurt if I get to wear a cool uniform while I’m doing it.
It’s much like how a tree grows. If you chop a tree in half, you can see the rings of where the original tree was and how it grew outward year after year. Each time, it developed a stronger shell and the roots dug deeper but the bark was moving further and further away from its core. The tree is still round, resembling where it came from, but it’s growing in more directions than one.
There are three things that are certain in this life and they are:
Computer hard drive failure
You know that you were placed here for more than just paying bills and dying so let’s talk about what your purpose is and then how you can discover it. That last one was good though right?
Your purpose is an intersection, a crossroads, and it takes place at the corner of four things:
It’s something that you are good at
It’s something that you are paid for
It’s something that the world needs more of
It’s something that you LOVE
Something that you love and that the world needs more of is really a mission, it’s leaving more to be desired. While fulfilling unless you are great at it, it won’t keep you inspired for long.
Now, something the world needs and something that pays you is a vocation (not to be confused with a vacation). This may seem reminiscent to the word JOB (Just Over Broke). If you’re paid for it and you are great at it, it can be considered a profession.
If you love something and are great at it, it’s a passion – quite close to your purpose but until you can take that to the world, it will remain just a passion.
Finding your purpose is a journey, an exploration of not only the world but yourself.
Many think that if they just sell everything they own and go, they’ll find their purpose. However the journey to purpose is inwards, not outwards. A change of location can certainly assist in the process, but it won’t cause you to find meaning in life unless you dive inside your mind.
It will be constantly changing. What you desire this year may not be the same next year. Accepting that your purpose may change is one of the best things you can do.
There’s no doubt that if you become a mother or father, your sole purpose will be to be the best mother and father you ever will, have and can be.
Does this mean you lost your purpose? Your spark?
Your purpose is going to constantly evolve as you change and walk down the different paths of life.
If you’re looking to more clearly define it though, you have to find the common threads that fall between each of the most impactful events in your life.
If someone were interested in photography in college, then went on to work in a photo studio and ultimately quit their job to start a photography business, their purpose never truly changed.
Their purpose may have been to freeze moments in time for families and individuals so that they may feel accomplished, inspired, motivated, sentimental, you name it.
Going back to the tree analogy – the core of the tree is still there after weathering many years of storms. It’s the inside that has still remained the same.
Last but certainly not least is your talents. Chances are, you have a passion and you don’t know about it yet. After all, some of the most successful people in life didn’t get there until they were in their 50’s.
So go out and try something, join a meetup group or a local sports club. Strike up a conversation with a stranger in a bar or better yet, go out and make a difference in the world by creating pop-up birthday parties for homeless people.
Your gift will clarify itself when you give more of yourself to others.
We spend far too much time trying to create that one “surprise” moment in our lives where everything clicks. Go out and let life surprise you for once.
Your purpose is out there waiting for you to discover it. How will you show up when it’s ready to reveal itself to you?
It’s show time.