In the wake of the memoir Becoming by Michelle Obama transitioning into a phenomenon, I decided that because my forever FLOTUS explained so eloquently in her memoir the importance of constant evolution for the purpose of personal growth, that BECOMING Purposeful would be an appropriate title for this post.
Identifying and walking in one's purpose is a process that is constantly active. Because once you identify your purpose, your job is to actively walk in said purpose in order to give it value (meaning).
Just to identify one's purpose alone has no meaning or value if you don't act on said purpose (walk and work in purpose).
My purpose is (fundamentally) to help people, through positive relationships and education on the value, necessity and purpose of love.
I fulfill this purpose through use of my natural gifts and talents, those I have identified as the gift of a kind spirit (compassion and understanding), God given talent of writing and knack for establishing effortless rapport with people.
It is through these gifts and talents that I am able to connect with people so that I can help encourage people to become the best version of him/herself through love.
My purpose is not limited to one job or skill set.
My purpose is not defined by the job title or role through which I get it done, only by the tools I use in which to get that job done.
That statement is very important. Take a moment to reread it...
Because it's often assumed that just because you're a doctor you're working in your purpose, that all therapist have the right motives and work in their purpose or that all pastors are working and walking in purpose.
It is very important that we understand and accept that job titles do not dictate whether an individual is actively working and walking in his/her purpose. Job titles don't speak to the nature of someone's soul. Job titles don't tell us who people are. Job titles can NOT define people only an individual's capabilities.
Essentially those titles mean nothing if that person has not identified his/her tools (gifts and talents) that sets him/her apart from others. There is a great difference between a learned skill and a natural or given skill (which I like to refer to as God given).
The natural/given skills are those that make each of us uniquely qualified to do purposeful work.
For me personally, it is imperative that I use my talents and gifts in the purpose for which they are intended, to help others, but again the function in which I do that doesn't matter. So in other words, I can write for a national blog, my personal blog, start a podcast, become a therapist, teacher, etc. the role I take on to work in my purpose does not matter, as long as I am using my talents and gifts in good service to others. As long as I am not abusing or using my tools in a damaging way, I am working and walking in my purpose.
While I was able to identify my purpose with the support of my spirituality, there are so many people who struggle with identifying purpose.
I often hear people either reflecting on or asking themselves the following "I don't know what I want to do" or "what is my purpose?" And while I understand that not everyone has a solid spiritual base to assist with identifying purpose, I am here to tell you that it is still very possible to identify your purpose, you just have to be open to the challenge and actively engaged in the process.
Quickly too before I move on, I want to make sure that it's clear that the practice of spirituality and religion alone doesn't mean that you have identified your purpose. There is an element of selfless in purpose that you have to be willing to tap into and explore, in order to identify your purpose. Unfortunately religion and spirituality alone (depending on where you are in your spirituality) won't guarantee that you have developed the quality of selflessness.
So, here are 4 things that you all need to know and do when trying to identity and/or ensure that you are working and walking in your purpose.
I. WHAT ARE YOUR NATURAL GIFTS & TALENTS
When trying to identify what your natural gifts and talents are, it is important to know that for some there will be many compared to others. The number of talents and gifts is not important, the most important thing is that you learn of and are able to identify the talent and/or gift at all.
A few questions you should ask yourself are, "What comes naturally to me?", "What do I enjoy most?", "What is the response I get from others when I use this talent/gift?"
Remember purposeful work is selfless work (you'll read this a lot).
For many it will be a matter of identifying that one thing you can do that impacts people most. The talent/gift that gets you a positive response from others, and that can be whether or not you deem that talent/gift as having great impact. The impact of your talent is not to be judged by you, only felt through the graciousness of others.
It is important that you learn NEVER to discount your talents. Do not try to devalue them based on whether you like doing it or not. Just because you don't like or don't enjoy it, doesn't mean the talent should not be used for the benefit of others. And your ability to accept and embrace your gift and/or talent speaks to your level of maturity and personal growth.
II. WHAT EXPERIENCES FULFILL YOU MOST
After you have identified your gifts and talents, to establish your walk and work in purpose you need to consider what experiences fulfill you most. And not in a superficial way.
When you are exploring these experiences try to keep in mind how light (worry-free), calm and happy you were, when sharing your talents and gifts with others.
Some questions to ponder are, "What were you doing?, "Can you describe the exact moment of fulfillment?", "What was it that made it special?", "Who was there with you?", "How did they feel?", "Can you recreate the moment?".
For many that experience of fulfillment will be discovered in the moment(s) that impacted the people or person you shared it with most. Because again it is important to remember that this is a self-less process, so your fulfillment should come from the response you received while exercising these talents and gifts.
And I want you also to know that even if you don't impact thousands, it doesn't mean your talents/gifts have not been used in a purposeful way. For example, if you find that you are consistently the person in relationships with the power to assist your significant other with healing, growing and becoming a better person, even if that relationship fails, you could have very well been working in your purpose.
You may have been just the person needed to heal that broken soul. And whether or not you end up together is no consequence, you have to understand that in that moment you were needed and your experience was purposeful.
III. EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVATION
If you are someone who believes that you are working and walking in your purpose, it is important to practice routine examination of your motivation.
Make sure that your motivation is not shallow and superficial, e.g. many doctors get into the field of medicine for the money and the accolades, not for the work. The work for the improperly motivated is often deemed necessary in order to receive the desired money and accolades.
As I continue to remind you that purposeful work is selfless work.
If you find that you are motivated by superficial (worldly) things, it is quite possible that your work is not purposeful. That is why bi-annual or annual examination of your motivation is important.
Examining your motivation is either a reminder that you are continuing to walk and work in your purpose or an indicator that you have gotten way from purposeful work.
Just identifying your purpose alone doesn't ensure that you will do purposeful work. Loving your job and work alone doesn't mean that you are walking and working in purpose. And as many of you may know, starting out doing purposeful work, doesn't mean you will never lose sight of or get away from purposeful work.
IV. PURPOSEFUL WORK IS NOT DEFINED BY A GOAL
Often we like to assume that setting and reaching a desired goal alone means that the goal is purposeful. That is not accurate at all. Goals do not define your purpose. And when you are working and walking in purpose you'd be surprise how naturally goals are achieved with little thought.
That is not to say that you can't have goals while working and walking in purpose. But it is important to know that you must first identify your purpose and begin working and walking in that purpose before you can establish and set purposeful goals!
Purposeful work has no expectation of personal gain. Although personal gain is to be received, there is NO EXPECTATION of it.
I hope that you all have learned some valuable lessons about identifying your purpose, working and walking in your purpose, as well as tools to ensure that you are BECOMING Purposeful (remaining actively engaged in purposeful work).
The journey to purpose is not easy, as there is a great deal of personal growth involved that supports one's ability to identify and continue to work in purpose. But once you have identified and begin actively engaging in purposeful work, you will begin to see that purposeful work makes for a meaningful, peaceful and prosperous life!
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