Looking Outward for Your Purpose
What is my purpose? Why am I here? What should I be doing? This can’t be all there is, can it? These can be some daunting questions to answer but it’s wonderful that you’re asking them because your life really does depend on it. Whether you find personal fulfillment, your quality of life and the impact you have on this world all depend on your determination to get the answers to these questions. Without these answers you leave yourself vulnerable to a life filled with work and void of passion. Get the answers.
As I previously shared, one of the popular approaches to getting these answers is to look inward to gain a true understand of who you really are. That approach is wonderful, but it’s not the only starting point. You can also start by looking outward. Your purpose, although a reflection of you and your creator, links you to others. Your purpose is what you have been uniquely designed to give the world (which is why lots of people refer to it as your gift). So when figuring out your purpose it’s just as important that you look inward as it is that you look outward. This point shouldn’t be overlooked; your purpose is a reflection of you but is really about others. It’s about how you are supposed to use your talents, experiences, resources and beliefs to leave your mark on this world.
If you are struggling to figure out just what your purpose is, give yourself a break and rely on others. I don’t mean you should relinquish the responsibility of discovering your purpose to someone else or that you should look at others’ lives for comparison to your own. I mean look at those around you to see what impact you’re already having on them. What do you or did you do naturally that makes others happy? What do you or did you do effortlessly that improves others’ quality of life? As you thoughtfully consider what others appreciate about you, you can begin to see your natural impact in this world; your effortless gift to the word. While you should not judge your life based on others’, sometimes people serve as excellent sounding boards, letting you know what you’re really good at and which moments with you have been particularly impactful. Listen to those sounding boards. Talk to people you have significant interactions with and/or take the time to reflect on your interactions with people to determine when you get the most positive feedback.
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that you should only look outward to find your purpose. Because your purpose is such a reflection of who you and what your experiences are, you must take yourself into account. After you begin to notice patterns in how others react to you and your behavior, take note of the feelings you have in those instances. If the positive feelings don’t align, it might not be your purpose. For instance, if you constantly receive positive feedback from a particular behavior that actually causes you a great deal of stress or anxiety, it might not be linked to your purpose. On the flip side, if you receive affirmations on behavior and interactions that bring you fulfillment, you might be on the right track.
When I started my own journey to figuring out my purpose, one of the first things I looked at was my past interactions with others. I reminisced over my childhood and adulthood in search for patterns. When did I make myself and others simultaneously feel really amazing? As I reflected I saw glimpses of my best self when I was helping people help themselves. Whether it was teaching other children things that I had learned, conducting voter education courses or helping friends and family start their own businesses; I was most in my element when I was empowering other people. This was true whether I did it for free or for pay. That’s how I knew what my purpose was.
I want you to feel just as confident as I do that you are walking in your purpose. Let me help you! Sign up for my newsletter and receive access to motivational and practical information on walking in your purpose.