Finding your purpose

Rick Warren, author of the whole Purpose-Driven series of books/journals/CDs/DVDs/lectures about the purpose-driven life, church, youth, family, marriage, sibling rivalry, used car dealership, and other what-have-yous, really tapped into something when he released his first of the montage, the Purpose Driven Life. It resonated with so many people for a number of reasons, but I like to keep it shallow here at Chez Duckling (not actually trueand I'm going to go out on a limb (also not actually true) and suggest that a big reason why Warren's first Purpose book did so well is that people are searching for their purpose.

Finding your purpose, waking up with a sense of purpose, getting all your stuff done with a sense of purpose, living with purpose, strikes a chord for many of us. A lot of us haven't found our purpose - or purpose, yet, and we look at those around us who are living their lives with meaning or intention and wonder how we can get that.

I don't speak from experience, of course, as my life is veritably riddled with purpose (NOT TRUE), but I know many of you out there might be wandering. Maybe you went to nursing school with the idea that you wanted to help people, but you haven't figured out what kind of help you can best give.  Maybe you're like me - you're good at a lot of stuff and there are many things that capture your interest and even hold it for a while, but really you're just floating around waiting for something interesting to happen.

A while ago I came across an article at Lifehacker that got my attention. The title of the post is Discover Your Life's Purpose in Around 20 Minutes - Or Not. It got MY attention, anyway. Essentially the premiss is, ask yourself what your life purpose is, and keep answering it (on paper) until you elicit an emotional response (you cry). Could be a cool little experiment.

Now, I really thought about this challenge a lot. I though and pondered and wondered, but I never took a good chunk of time to sit down and come up with response after response until I really got to the heart of it. But I did do a lot of reflecting. What were some of the things I did as work - not as fun - that brought me the most joy, the most satisfaction? And time after time, I came up with answers like 'reading Tamara's thesis' or 'editing/designing/formatting the newsletter' or 'writing that interview story about the girl who started the campus fashion magazine.' I used to think this meant I should work for a newspaper, or even a magazine, as a copyeditor. But some of my most unhappy times were in newsrooms and computer labs. This got me to thinking about becoming a freelance editor. Maybe, just maybe, that's my life's purpose. From a professional standpoint, at least.

Usually when you discover your life's purpose, you jump in because you can't wait to get started, right? Well, not in my case. I sat on the idea for months. And then I found out I was moving halfway across the country, so my husband could begin work. That's when I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could do this freelancing thing. And then I got bogged down in the details. It wasn't until I spent an hour talking to a life coach that I got really motivated. She encouraged me to jump in, get started, and work it all out as I go. I didn't need a map or blueprint or outline just to get started. She encouraged me to build a website quick, promote it quick, and go from there.

So, I've taken some proactive steps. I built a professional editing website. I've got a stack of library books on the ins and outs of a web-based business, how to start them in Colorado, &c. And this has been fulfilling so far, but I'm at the very beginning, and it isn't quite 'doing it' for me yet. There's still a long list of things I need to do to get this idea really off the ground. For now, each small step makes a difference and is satisfying. But is editing my true purpose? I don't know yet. It really might be. I'm willing to give it a shot.

1 comment:

  1. Surveys show that 95% of people do not know their purpose. The Scriptures are full of statements showing that God has created us for a purpose which is unique to each individual. We are responsible for discovering the purpose which God has for us, but most just stumble through life in react mode. What will our creators' reaction be when we missed the purpose for which he created us?


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