Purpose, Anyone?

Finding Purpose Photo by Dino Reichmuth
Where do we find our life’s purpose? Can we order it on-line? “Get your Life Purpose now, for just $9.99, on Amazon. Free shipping included.” We’re all traveling along this road of life trying to figure it out, the “it” being our lives. I know trying is a word that gets a bad rap sometimes, but upon closer examination I see action and an attempt to do something, anything, and more than inaction. How many times have we all gotten what seemed like or felt like a stroke of genius only to set it down and leave it to wither? Why not give it a try?

For me, these flashes, these little sparks of light are sent to us from heaven. Yes, I’m inferring that these ideas are divine inspirations. Now if one or two or ten go by at some point we have to wake up and start to notice, or they seemingly stop happening until one hits us so hard it knocks us down or takes our breath away. Most likely, at this point, we’ll wake up a little bit and start to notice the idea, the seed. Then, if we have any hope of birthing this new inspiration we have to nurture it by giving it some measure of our attention and our action. Growing the concept will require our energy, like the energy of the sun grows a plant. And eventually we give rise to our idea in the physical world. It’s a process, like tending a garden, with the soil being our lives and the ideas seeds we plant and tend to with our loving intention and action.

Searching for ourselves and our purpose is lifelong. Oh, we get it at times and live it – our purpose – and then it changes. Yes, throughout the different chapters of our lives we have different jobs, friends, lovers, and places we live. In my teenage years I worked as a paper boy, then waiter in college, and performer. I got into casting and eventually television production and then life coaching. Did I have one purpose for my life? It seems there were several. The numbers are not important, but rather the examples I’m sharing here represent different paths I chose with purpose. Each path had a service to my growth and learning, and hopefully served others in the process. If there is a theme of purpose in my life it would be service. Helping others, whether serving them food, entertaining them, or coaching. And it’s different for every person on this planet. I think finding our purpose is really what life is all about. It’s a journey of discovery, of adventure, and taking the opportunities as they come doing our best to enjoy them.

I’ve worked with thousands of individuals over the last twelve years on their individual journeys of identifying their purpose. It’s a bit like a treasure hunt with each person holding the key to their own treasure chest with its seemingly secret map. We all have our purpose woven into our very being – our entelechy. The entelechy of the acorn is to become the oak tree. We all have our own metaphorical oak tree inside us. Wait, that sounds a bit scary. I don’t mean we’re going to sprout branches one day, but rather we’re all programmed at the soul level to unfold each moment into the person we were always meant to be.

For many people, it’s this very awareness that shifts everything for them. Suddenly, with a sense that they actually might have a clue as to who they’re meant to be, life begins to look a little different. I guess in some ways, many of us are Doubting Thomas’s or Susan’s as it may be. I like to be as gender neutral as possible. We doubt our inner knowing, our intuition, and our sense of things. That’s where we usually trip ourselves up.
What I’ve found over the years in working with individuals exploring their purpose is that not too long into our coaching conversation it all comes out. It’s a colorful confession of rainbows, moonbeams, and daffodils. I love this part. It doesn’t take much and usually my client starts talking about their dreams, and sure enough, the cat leaps out of the proverbial bag. The great secrets of their lives come tumbling out. They want to be a painter, a scientist, or start a family. The list is limitless, as are the possibilities within each individual.

Somehow our Creator, plug in your title or namesake here, has built us all in such a way as to make sure our awareness of who we are and what we’re meant to do comes clearly into our consciousness at just the right time. That’s why for me, being a Life Coach is so rewarding – I get to be there at the birth, or rebirth if you will, of each person as they re-discover themselves and their raison d’etre. In English, Barry! Okay, okay, it’s their reason for being.

We will all find our purpose, one way or another. Some people will be conscious of it, others will not. Many of us simply stumble upon it. Other’s will search long and hard, fighting many battles to learn whatever it is they need in order to fully and successfully express their true calling. We’ll most likely have to learn a boat load of life lessons to be all that we can be, and everything will unfold in God’s perfect time and way. Trust it. And if you can’t trust, follow the legendary acting teacher Stella Adler’s great adage – pretend as if. Eventually, you’ll be living your life in just the way you always knew you would.

Life really is a grand experiment. Have fun, and smell the flowers along the way. Say hello to children, and other passersby, and remember, you will be you. Come hell or high water, one way or another, who you’re meant to be will emerge. Keep on keeping, and remember, you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. And we can. We will. And we are all ultimately and as only we can be – ourselves.