I have known many people who are so intentional about finding their purpose that it stresses them out completely, sometimes to the point of anxiety. I used to be one of them. In their eyes, there are just too many possibilities, not enough time, and the greatest risk of all is choosing the wrong thing.
Baby, there’s no such thing as the wrong thing! I promise. I believe this pressure of trying to “get it right” and worrying about mistakes stems from the singular use of purpose. In reality, we need to find our purposes: plural, my friends. We have so many of them! We’re on earth to be one another’s family members, friends, partners, colleagues, and acquaintances. We may develop our souls through meaningful time commitments. We can live our truths as we discover them.
Many of my early-20s friends panic about career. As someone who switched careers at age 23, I’m one of the many millennials who will experience many careers within their lifetime. How thrilling it was to be a K-12 classroom teacher and feel in many moments that I was living my absolute purpose. Also, how thrilling it was to know exactly when that purpose had been fulfilled and that it was time for a new purpose to begin in my current career.
When we play the spiritual connect-the-dots game and rewind our lives to see how each event influenced the next, our different purposes make so much sense. So many seemingly irrelevant aspects of our lives are the most important building blocks. Without teaching, for example, I wouldn’t have become a public speaker. Without going to the universities I did, I wouldn’t have met my soul friends. But make no mistake: neither my, nor any of our, purposes in this lifetime is to be employed, nor is it to make friends. Those aspects of our lives are “little-T” truths that lead us to our “big-T,” our life purposes.
So how do we discover purposes? My first guidepost is to listen to my body. What conversations get my adrenaline rushing? What could I talk about forever? What do I already talk about forever? When I can spend my time doing anything, what do I do? When I consider new friendships or partners, what do I need to have in common?
When I consider my thematic patterns for my soul, I think of all the events and journeys of my life as separate scripts and challenge myself to see if there is consistency among the roles I play. Am I the inspirer? The listener? The advocate? The innovator? It’s no coincidence to see role repetition, and it absolutely helps us understand our whys and hows.
Never forget: you have many purposes, and the only way to defer action on those purposes is by rejecting the desires of your heart. How are you working towards your purposes? What are your next steps?