There a lot of buzz these days about living with purpose. Just google "living with purpose" and you'll have enough reading material to get you through the holidays with the in-laws. (Is there enough reading material for that?) Hell, even The Biebs is into it.
I used to think it was a midlife thing, but maybe not. More and more people want to know:
- What's my purpose?
- Why was I put on this earth?
- What the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life?!
While I think successfully raising children should be an automatic bid for sainthood, I know I've also got more to do. But how do I, any of us, know what our purpose is?
Is there a little voice in our head that we are supposed to be listening to but we are too busy working, driving kids to practices, or watching Netflix to hear what it's saying? How do we know?!
I just read a great article on LiveHappy.com by writer Logan Ward that talked about the path to purpose in our lives. There were so many great nuggets in there that I had to share a little bit here.
One thing that stood out to me was this quote: "Purpose doesn't have to start with a capital P."
Doesn't trying to find one's purpose feel so daunting? Have you ever felt like your purpose, or what you thought was your purpose, wasn't good enough? That it wasn't substantial enough? Finding one's purpose is supposed to be this earth-shattering thing, right?
Actually, this article I read highlighted something very important. Purpose can be as simple as how we act on a day-to-day basis. The writer shared a little story from Christine Whelan, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology sociology professor and Life Reimagined Institute thought leader, to illustrate.
There are three bricklayers each doing the same job. When asked what they are doing, the first bricklayer says "I'm laying bricks, one on top of another." The second says, "I'm building a wall." The third says, "I'm building a cathedral."
And just like that, it's about perspective. Guess which bricklayer was happier and felt more fulfilled? How many of us are missing the bigger picture of our lives?
The article goes on to list some things you can do to find your purpose and I highly recommend you click on the link above to read the article in its entirety.
Truth be told, I've been struggling a little with my own purpose. I know I love to write, connect with others, inspire people to live their best life, share a natural approach to health, and raise my kids to be happy, healthy, well-balanced adults. But is that my purpose or just stuff I'm passionate about.
Does that mean I should become a life coach or a writer who gets paid to inspire people? Or maybe that means I should become a nutritionist with a blog and/or podcast? What gets in the way is for me is that on so many days, I only see the small pile of bricks I have and not the kick- ass cathedral I'm trying to build.
I know that stupid limiting belief shows up for many of you as well. Mine tells me that I'm just an average mom living in suburbia and that the only credentials I have are that my kids are relatively healthy and that I have few published articles with my name listed underneath.
But lately, I've been examining the intangibles. I have life lessons. I have a big heart. I have the desire to help others. I have a voice.
I'm sure people have accomplished more with much, much less. What's important for me to remember is that those passions of mine are part of my purpose. They drive me to toward that higher version of myself, and if that leads me to a podcast someday, then it's because I've stopped listening to that voice that says "Who are you to do this?" and to my heart that says, "Who am I not to?"
As I dig and continue to hone in on my purpose, I hope you do the same. The meaning to life isn't about the cars we drive, the houses we live in, how big our retirement funds are, that our kids look like they belong in a Gap catalog or that we belong to prestigious country clubs.
Without fulfillment and purpose in our lives, "having it all" means absolutely nothing.
So, what bricks are you laying down? The world is waiting to see your kick-ass cathedral.
Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way.