Finding purpose: don't let it get you down

Jun 04 2006 by Patricia Soldati Print This Article

We workers are getting another kick in the pants. As if managing our lives and careers weren't challenging enough, we now have one more mountain to climb: finding our life purpose.

A good job is no longer enough.
A high-speed career is no longer enough.
Loving our work is not enough.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good mountain, a phenomenally worthy pursuit. But not at the expense of feeling burdened or anxious about not having it, or frustrated with the search itself. Which is counter-productive to finding your purpose anyway.

Purpose is not a thing, or a goal to be achieved. Maybe it's your work…or maybe not. It lives on no one's timetable and defies any systemic approach that says, "At the end of this lesson, you will be able to…"

In fact, the more you hard-core it – set your mind to finding it – the more elusive it becomes. You end up chasing away that which you most want to embrace in your life.

Finding your purpose requires patience and curiosity. It doesn't come from your thinking self, where we good corporate citizens are so used to living. It arises from your feeling self…your heart, telling you when your life is rich with meaning and when it is not.

Find it in quiet spaces. Space to ponder and to feel what inspires you. These moments may be uncomfortable at first, filled with not knowing what to say or ask yourself. Just be with whatever comes up…fear or a tear. Disbelief. Exhaustion. Recognize what is real for you in the moment; resist the urge to bury it or fix it. Just honour it by being with it.

Find it outside of your own needs. By definition, purpose has meaning beyond one's personal well-being. It has an outward -- and mostly upward -- orientation, connecting you with your higher self and all that is divine.

Find it in what gives you joy. What make you lose track of time? A talent, or skill, or hobby? Can you use this talent to serve others – make them laugh, heal them, offer solace?

Find it in small things. There is no purpose rule that says "I have to be famous or global in scope." Maybe it's tending a community garden or devotion to your family. Too often, we discount our activities and accomplishments as not enough. But they are more than enough if your attitude around them is one of loving service.

A light, curious heart will attract your purpose to you. Didn't find it today? No problem…perhaps tomorrow. One thing's for sure, it will come. Each of you has a reason for being on this earth. No exceptions.

more articles

About The Author

Patricia Soldati
Patricia Soldati

Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1998. As a career fulfillment specialist, she helps corporate professionals enhance their working lives – both within the organization – and by leaving it behind.