Recently, I checked an item off my “bucket list” when my husband took me to see Cirque du Soleil. During the juggler’s performance my mind raced as I tried to follow the pattern of the airborne balls. The performer, consumed by his craft, looked like his juggling brought great fulfillment and joy. I craved that feeling. Immediately I began day-dreaming, “What thing, if I practiced for 5 intensive years, would bring me that much joy?”. Clearly the juggler’s purpose was more than to entertain; he unlocked my ability to dream and to question my own purpose.
If the number one human need is connection, then number two must be purpose. What is purpose and how does finding it help us? Simon Sinek, the unshakable optimist, tells us that when considering a new endeavor, instead of focusing on the “how” that we should start with “why.” He argues that the purpose or “the why” behind what you do is the force that drives people to become your friend, buy your product or become inspired.
Finding our “why” can have a profoundly grounding effect. Without purpose, we can feel like we are being tossed to and fro like the waves on the sea causing us to feel useless,
lost, and insignificant, but conversely, the Association for Psychological Science reports that having a sense of purpose gives us a sense of stability and calm that may add years to our lives.
Purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be career-focused or about making money either, it can be as simple as defining our values and allowing everything else to be guided by them.
Here are a few ways you can discover and fine-tune your purpose:
1. Go All In
My good friend is often heard saying, “it’s no fun to sit on a fence (especially if it is barbed wired)”. What he means is that you can’t enjoy either side of the fence if you are sitting in the middle of it. You have to choose your purpose and go all in.
If you want to affect the world with your unique gift, then you must get comfortable with the risk of going for it. Ask yourself:
● Do you ever count yourself out or “disqualified” before you even get started?
● What holds you back from owning your purpose fully?
● Are you ready to “be all in?”
2. Expect It To Be Hard
Strict training implies hard work. If it were easy we would already be there! Maybe you, like myself, need to take an internal audit to determine what distractors we need to give up so we can focus completely on training. Giving up those things will be hard; maintaining the discipline to keep focused will be even harder.
● What distracts you from gaining ground on your gift/talent/business/purpose?
● How can you maintain the discipline to keep focused?
3. Have a Plan
Without a plan you will continuously beat the air with nothing to show.. Once you identify what your purpose might be, you must create a plan that will help you live it out day by day.
● What is the motivator behind your purpose?
● What do you have to do to make this purpose a reality?
4. Train, Train, Train
Ok, that’s a little Yoda like, but your get what I’m after. Dreaming day and night, about what we want to do, will not help us develop our purpose. In the past when I tried something and it failed, it used to take me weeks to get back on track until I finally defined my purpose. To get things done we have to force our mind to submit to the plan we create while expecting it to be hard. If we condition ourselves through training, little by little we will get stronger both in out skill and our resolve to develop our purpose.
● What should you focus on to grow in your purpose?
● How often do you need to engage in that training?
purpose. Like the juggler, seek the things that light you up and sets your sould on fire. Once you find it apply these 4 keys to make it a life giving part of your life.