Finding Your Purpose
by Rob Brookler
Life seems almost perfectly arranged to keep us guessing as to why we are here … about our role, our place, in this world. At one moment the problems of the wider world seem to call to us with the greatest urgency. In the next, these vanish as we’re called to our own urgent needs. The sublime achievements of others can inspire us, exciting our deepest aspirations – and at the same time confound us, fearing we can never approach such mastery. And when we see so many struggling to find their way, how can we feel certain of our own?
The answer is that, for the vast majority of us, we will not be certain. Nor should we expect to be.
Growing into our role
Why should we not expect to sense clearly our life purpose? Because this “purpose” is a direct, natural extension of who we are … and few, if any of us, enter this life complete in this realization. Indeed, few of us gain this realization before living a very great deal of our life. Our gifts, our deeper interests, our strengths, and our wholeness grow and “unfold” only with time. And these are the foundations and keys to our greater purpose in life.
In a more perfect, more orderly world, we would perhaps complete this foundational learning and growth first – before we choose our path in the world and seek to fulfill our role in it. But since, in this world, these two processes evolve concurrently, we must be prepared to venture forth with some uncertainty … and with some faith that we will discover both our purpose and ourselves as part of this process.
We will define our path
So we should not feel discouraged or off-track because we don’t currently sense our “mission” in life. Nor should we feel unsupported or tentative because the world is not beating a path to our door. On the contrary, often the best antidote for feeling a bit “lost” is simply to begin. Often we must simply step out upon a path or an endeavor even though we’re not certain it’s the “correct” one. And to some extent only by proceeding do we begin to “attract” the learning and support we will need to continue and finish.
This is not to say that we should not form some kind of plan, an intended purpose, and goal before beginning an endeavor. But, because of the nature of creation, it’s often only by acting that our path and purpose begin to take shape. We must be like the painter who with his first brush stroke may have an inkling of the final work, but cannot yet see its complete form.
Like the painter, we must also be prepared to re-evaluate our direction as we go and adjust or even change our course. We will make mistakes. We will have setbacks. But these challenges and course-corrections actually play a critical role in defining our path … and in developing the personal skills and the balance essential for our success down the line. They are part of the process. So hitting a dead-end or detour here and there or having to slow down and regroup from time to time should not discourage us.
Getting off on the right foot
There is, however, one common pitfall we should try to avoid from the start.
Certainly, in pursuing our purpose, we hope to experience greater fulfillment and a deeper sense of value in our life. But to the extent we’re trying to prove our worthiness and justify our value, our pursuit can lead us a bit astray. Though a powerful motivator, the belief that we’re inherently unworthy or “not enough” is nonetheless a wounded belief. And try as we may, we will find it very difficult to generate enough external “success” and validation to answer this false belief. We’ll find it very hard to disprove outside what we secretly believe inside. So, rather than “serve” that false, wounded belief, we must heal it.
Fortunately, the most direct and natural way to heal this wounded belief and recover our true sense of worthiness is in pursuing what we love: in doing what speaks to our heart. The distinction here is that this fulfillment and affirmation comes primarily with the doing of this thing, rather than external reaction. This is not to say that we should not enjoy and take satisfaction from our “successes” and acknowledgments. But we can only disprove – or more precisely “displace” – the wounded belief about our value by reawakening our true, innate sense of value beneath it. The wounded belief separates us from our true self; a full heart reconnects us with it.
A good starting point
Not coincidentally, pursuing what we love will always keep us on the path of our larger purpose. So, this quality should mark our starting place. The pursuit we love today may evolve into a different pursuit we love more deeply later, but we cannot go astray when what we do nourishes our heart and being.
If we’re not sure what we love and where our gifts might reside, we may have to experiment a bit in order to discover this. As noted earlier, this trial and error is part of the process and should not discourage us.
And if you’re looking for a good starting point in pursuing your purpose, here’s a hint. Look for what is finest within you, and pursue this.
The key to your purpose and your value is who you are. The path to discover these will always lie in what you most love. Know that on this path the universe supports all your endeavors and all your creations … and on this path you become the blessing.
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