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We all have a role we were born to play.
Most people will have several roles in a lifetime—there is no fixed number.
Just like the ecosystem in a rainforest, we each contribute to the collective harmony of our society, planet, and evolution.
Finding our own unique life purpose isn’t always a clear and easy journey. There are few people in the world who knew exactly what they needed to do since the day they were born, undeterred by mass trends or opinions of others, and who seemed to find their life purpose at an early age.
Most of us, however, take many detours, trials and errors, until we find that thing we know we have to do and keep doing. When we do find what brings us joy, we still question it. Is it respectable? Can I make a good living doing it? Can I do this for the rest of my life?
Especially when it comes to career choices, our current society has an unspoken ranking of what the respectable professions are. What they look like and sound like. And we’ve become so ingrained with that list that we form feelings of pride and shame in association. Automatic judgments are formed when we hear “doctor” or “lawyer,” “producer” or “musician,” “electrician” or “nanny.” We have come to trust titles and degrees more than our own feelings and intuitions.
What that does is redirect the pursuits of what we truly have to offer as unique individuals and pressures us to live up to a societal perception. This results in many people not feeling good enough because they can’t seem to meet the societal standard of what success looks like.
In recent years, there have been more and more messages of empowerment, master classes, and life coaching offers inspiring individuals to become leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, and so on, forming yet another trend of what success looks like. But the issue remains the same—when it comes to fulfilling your purpose, there is no “one-size-fits-all.” We all have our own unique purpose, and it’s up to us to find it. And when we do find it, it’s up to us to honor it.
Don’t compare your own purpose to others’
Not everyone enjoys being in the spotlight or managing a team of employees. Some of us would rather be in the supporting role than the leading role, and there is nothing wrong with that. You can find tremendous success doing that—the world needs you, too! On the flip side, there are many of us who do not enjoy following a routine, or starting or ending a workday on a set schedule. We’d rather spearhead our own ideas and forge our own paths. There are successes to be found there too, of course.
Most of us already know what we wish for, what we enjoy, and what would truly make us feel alive. But many of us also reject pursuing those things when the opportunity presents itself. Why? Because not every job or profession is perceived as glamorous by popular opinion. We want to feel proud of who we are and what we do; we want to feel respected and admired. So we often forego what brings us true joy and work hard toward something that makes us look good instead of what makes us feel good. Then when it doesn’t bring us joy, we tell ourselves it’s what being a responsible adult is supposed to feel like, all the while wondering what could have been and what others’ secrets are to having it all.
Not only is there no shame in living your purpose in life, there is a great deal of pride and gratitude in finding joy doing what you love. If you’ve found something you’re good at, enjoy doing, and have an outlet for that gift, then you are already well on your way.
There is no wrong way (or wrong time) to begin fulfilling your life purpose
They say you don’t go and find your purpose, your purpose finds you. But there is a lot more to it than simply stumbling onto our life purpose. In many cases, we become it.
Whether you know it or not, you have most likely already begun your journey pursuing your true purpose since you were a child. Each hobby, book, relationship, and job you had, on some level, piqued your interest. You were drawn to them for a reason. We subconsciously curate the pieces we need to help us grow into the person who will one day fulfill our purpose.
It’s important to see your own journey as the right journey for you, even though it may look like it’s taking longer than others.
I began my writing journey after 20 years in the advertising industry as an art director, and it is one of the most grounding experiences of my life. I started my blog soulove as a way to share knowledge and experience of how I overcame certain struggles in life. I didn’t think I was a good enough writer to attract an audience, and I didn’t know if I had enough in me to keep up this writing journey. I had many doubts. But I had so much information I needed to share with the world that I kept going, one day at a time. There definitely was a subtle force pushing me to get whatever I had inside out in the open.
I didn’t become a writer overnight. I had never planned to be a writer. But as I relaxed into this journey and trusted this subtle force, I started to feel a momentum, building up more and more into almost a runner’s high, if you will. It took working diligently with an editor, writing sample articles and getting feedback, countless hours of brainstorming, and countless more hours of fine-tuning to find my sweet spot. It was definitely a process, one that took faith and persistence. And now I can’t imagine not writing and not sharing. It has become a part of me. A part of what I do—my purpose.
Let joy (not money) be your guide
On the other hand, if making money brings you joy then that could very well be one of your purposes in this life, and that’s okay too. I have met many people who enjoy the numbers game of making money. They have a talent in building a profitable business with everything they’re involved in, and they do it out of sheer fun and enjoyment.
For most people, however, one of the biggest concerns in pursuing a career is whether or not it will make a good living, or if you’re more ambitious, whether or not it will accumulate wealth for you in the long run. One of the biggest obstacles that gets in the way of living our purpose and finding fulfillment is our ego.
Anyone can achieve financial success in any profession or industry. What stands in our way are fear and shame. We’re afraid we might not have what it takes; we’re afraid people will judge and criticize us.
When it comes to life purpose, nothing of value is beneath anyone. Marie Kondo created an empire from her unique concept of organizing households; Rachel Ray began her stardom simply by teaching people how to cook a quick and simple meal. To fully meet our own life purpose, we must remove labels and judgments of what is appropriate and what isn’t. Financial abundance is a byproduct of joy and purpose.
You can have more than one purpose in a lifetime
Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves in choosing a direction in life, thinking it is forever, and it will seal the fate of our personal success. Truth is, our purpose isn’t one choice that we take a vow and sign on the dotted line for. It is an overarching contribution we were designed to make to our world. It is evolving, just like us. It can also run its course, and we will then meet a new purpose.
We could also have several purposes at the same time. For example, you can have the purpose of being a loving parent raising your children, while being a successful restaurant owner introducing exotic flavors to your customers and providing jobs for many people in your city. If your restaurant should close after 20 years due to lack of customers, then it could be an indication that it’s no longer needed in the community, or a new approach is needed.
While there is definite sadness and sentiment when a business endeavor comes to an end, it also marks a new beginning and a new purpose—something to be excited about, too.