Maybe you’ve always had too many interests, too many possible directions to go in. Narrowing them to “The One” has always been tough.
You can feel the old thoughts swirling: Will you ever be able to choose the “right thing” to focus on? And what about the other things—what if you’d like them more than the thing you choose and just don’t know it?
How can there possibly be time for them all? Speaking of timing, when will one thing you want really ripen up into something spectacular….or should you drop it now and move on to the next thing that’s been patiently waiting for your time and attention?
Which way do we go, which way do we go?
I remember once diagramming in my journal all the things I was interested in and wanted to pursue. I drew a circle in the center and radiated ballpoint pen spokes out in all directions, labeling each funky pie piece with “An Interest” or “Possible Direction.”
When I finished, I freaked out. I had something like 22 ideas there, 22 directions for my life.
And I had no way of knowing which one was right.
Now, some of you will just pen that circle in the middle and leave the pie pieces totally empty. There isn’t one dang thing you want to do or become. You’re just over it.
Let’s be honest: most of us just “fall” into a direction. We get hired at Target, then stay in retail for 13 years. We got our first job in admin after school, and then stayed in office management until we were laid off 5 years later.
We go into something by necessity, then skill up in it by accident, then stay for the stability.
And then we shake the sleep from our eyes a decade or so later and begin asking ourselves about what we really want to do. And now that thing is as elusive as a four leaf clover: it may exist, just not in our yard.
Or we say we’re too old. Or we’re supporting the kids in college, or our folks’s medical care. The moment for flexibility, for those 22 options, seems to have passed.
We groan about wanting to find our life purpose and so we join a bunch or programs, or read a bunch of books, or just finally refill our Wellbutrin.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we connected our life purpose to our work.
But what if your life purpose isn’t connected to work at all? What if “work” just needs to be mildly interesting while providing you with confidence and money?
What if your life purpose is that other thing: that thing you don’t do for a living, that thing you do on the weekends, or each Wednesday night? What if it’s that thing you do when you’re on the phone with your best friend who’s crying that her partner is a lazy ass and she’s just so sick of it all? Or that thing you do with your kid each day after school to make sure they stay on the right track?
In other words, what if your life purpose isn’t your “main” job at all? In fact, it’s not even a job.
Instead, it’s something you do, or something you are. And your fullest expression of it is your actual goal.
I’m increasingly aware that my life purpose isn’t to build Flowdreaming into a media empire, even though I’ve been writing and producing content for my company for 17 years. I put in my eight daily hours, yeah, but my purpose is coming through as something I express: I help others see themselves through a unique lens that opens them to their true inner power and deep, lasting healing. I do this in conversations, in sessions, and in every product I produce. And I made a company to be a vehicle for that. But I could honestly do this in many other ways, too.
And that’s actually that part of my work that never gets old.
I want you to look at the part of your work or life that “never gets old.”
It’s the part you’re intrinsically good at, or which you suspect you could be intrinsically good at if you just gave it a little more attention.
It’s a part of you that you’ve been doing for a while, maybe have always done, and which maybe you’ve tried to shove it into a career or fancy direction at some point.
Maybe your life purpose is to travel and taste the unique flavors of the world, which fills your being and causes you to sparkle through all your non-travelling friends’ lives like a bright beacon of exoticism. Your life purpose is to inspire fearlessness, cultural acceptance and curiously by embodying it in your travels.
Maybe your life purpose is to be the one in your family who glues everything together…who knits together the disparate personalities and allows each person to be see and heard. Your life purpose is to facilitate familial love and healing.
Maybe your life purpose is to try as many fascinating lines of work as possible, from catering to teaching line dancing to producing short films. Go for it. Taste them all! Your life purpose is to experience diversity and newness.
Maybe your life purpose is to simply enjoy life, to learn ever more to just be inside your day and savor all its tiny moments. Your life purpose is to learn how to be, and be satisfied with who you are, just as you are, without having to always reach for more.
Life purpose isn’t something you find. So stop looking and put away all those bullshit books about finding it.
Instead, you’ll just wake up to it somewhere along the way when what you’ve already been doing spectacularly or consistently for a while (and perhaps hiddenly or overlooked) becomes clear to you.
What has lit you up for a long time? Good friends? Crosswords?
Play with this: what if your life purpose were not a job or career…..what would it be instead?
And, what if you fully and completely allowed yourself to start being that and defining yourself by it? How would you feel?
Happy. That’s how you’d feel. And willing to drop all that crazy, painful inner judginess.
Try filling your pie chart with anything besides work or direction ideas. Fill it with parts of you instead.
You might be surprised to see your true purpose shining up from the page like God through a stained glass window.
P.S. Did you reach this realization about life purpose already? Leave me a note!