How in the World Do I Figure Out My Purpose? Here are 7 Clues for You
12 May 2016
Have you ever asked yourself the question “What in the world am I here for?” If so, you’re not alone. So many of us go through life without ever really taking the time to understand or figure out what we were created for. Part of the reason we struggle with this question is because we’re so busy looking at everyone else and what they’re doing, it distracts us from taking ownership of our own purpose. Make no mistake: You were created for a reason that is uniquely yours and yours alone. But how do you figure it out if you don’t know where to start? Or how do you know that what you’re doing is actually what you’re supposed to be doing?
I believe you’re living out your purpose when you’re doing three things:
1. You’re glorifying God with your gifts.
2. You’re serving others with your gifts.
3. You’re finding joy and fulfillment in the work you’re doing.
Now, finding joy and fulfillment doesn’t mean that you don’t run into challenges; however, it does mean that those moments don’t last because you’re passionate about finishing what you’ve started. You know that the work you do has meaning. But sometimes, we second-guess ourselves and fail to trust our gut instincts—our intuition—which, when followed, allow us to make decisions which ultimately lead to our highest good.
We go back to looking around us, at others who are saving the world, or leading huge organizations, or working on the cure for cancer—and then we wonder if our aspirations to be the best cupcake maker or hair stylist or fashion blogger out there, are really all that noble. But if we were all created to find a cure for cancer, who would make sure we had dessert to bring us a smile on our toughest days? Who would ensure that our hair looks good and gives us that extra boost of confidence when we step on stage to address world leaders on how to end poverty?
In a world where it’s become so easy to compare yourself to others via social media and 24-hour access to the internet, it’s common to discard what you’re passionate about if it doesn’t seem important enough—especially when your neighbor is busy building a multi-million dollar company.
This is why it’s so critical to define your own idea of success, and how living out your purpose will help you achieve that definition.
If you’re in a place where you’re wondering if you’re living your life on purpose, or if you’re just trying to figure it out, here are seven clues to help you get on the right track:
You’ll know you’re living your life on purpose if:
1. Whatever you’re doing scares the heck out of you. That’s actually a good thing. Why? Because you care so much about it that you’re afraid to fail at it. You understand how important it is because your success is going to impact more people than just yourself.
2. It comes easily to you so you take it for granted. You think it’s no big deal and believe anyone can do it. I can tell you that no one can do what you do better than you do it. There could be five million other speakers out there, but there’s something about your delivery that leaves an impact on everyone you touch. Don’t discount your gift!
tell you that you’re good at it and come to you specifically for it. If you keep hearing from others that you’re so good at something, they only want to come to you for that one thing, then more than likely, that’s a clue that that thing might just be your purpose.
4. You would be happy doing it without getting paid. But just to be real clear, no one’s asking you to be Mother Theresa. Remember, the Proverbs 31 woman got paid.
“She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading
and her lamp does not go out at night.” (Proverbs 31: 15-18)
5. You think about it, dream about it, talk about it, but may often do nothing with it because you’re told by negative voices that it’s foolish. Your purpose doesn’t always come to you wrapped in a pretty bow. To get to where you want to go requires hard work, and often thinking so far out of the box, it might make you look just a little bit crazy. If that’s the case, you’re in good company. I guarantee you that the inventors of the airplane, light bulb, computer, internet, and automobile were all considered out of their minds when they first started developing their ideas. Now, these are all everyday things we can’t imagine ever living without. It started with a crazy idea…and someone who was determined to fulfill their purpose despite what the naysayers said.
6. You’re willing to endure struggle to fulfill your purpose. It doesn’t always come easy to go after your
vision, but once you get clear about what it is you need to do, you won’t allow anything to deter you from finishing what you started. You might take a pause here or there, but you’ll eventually get right back on your path. And keep it moving…
7. You see it’s making a positive impact. We often go through life not sure if what we’re doing really matters. Consider yourself blessed if you live long enough to hear from others about how what you’re doing has helped them improve their own lives. That is one of the ultimate clues, you’re walking in your purpose.
Understand that the foundation of your purpose never changes; however, how you use your gifts to fulfill your purpose might. Think about pursuing your purpose like traveling to a vacation spot. To get to that destination, you may use different modes of transportation. The destination doesn’t change, but how you get there might. You’ll need a car to get you to the airport; a plane to get you to the the midway point; your feet to get you to the gate where the connecting flight is leaving from; and a taxi to get you from the airport to your final stop. With each mode of transportation, you’re still moving in the direction of your destination, you’re just using a different method to get there. Think of your destination as your destiny. You’re destined to arrive there, just not always predictably.
At different times in your life, you may use different gifts in various capacities. Know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it takes trying out multiple things in order to get to where you’re supposed to be. Each thing you do gives you a different perspective, skill or experience that you can then use to move you forward to the next thing, and ultimately, your destiny.
As you are discovering what in the world you were created for, remember that not all of us are called to be Mother Theresa, Wangari Maathai, or Michelle Obama.
Don’t try to borrow someone else’s purpose or try on their shoes. You’ll be miserable. (And those ill-fitting shoes will probably give you bunions.) Look for signs and clues that will lead you to your own purpose. Pray and meditate upon it. Once you figure out how to use your gifts to serve the world, take action and do whatever it is you were meant to do—fearlessly.
Looking for some great resources to help you guide you along your path? Buy your copy of Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be by Christine K. St. Vil and Julian B. Kiganda, and The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren today!
How did you discover your purpose?