Why You Need to Follow Your Purpose

Fork in the Road

I firmly believe that life is much more rewarding if you are following your Purpose. What do I mean by that?

Purpose is the pursuit of an activity that touches you at the deepest level. Think of being at the end of your life. What is it that you most want to do, to accomplish that you will be able to say “I had a great life.”

If you are in a place in your life where you would feel regret, then its time to take a hard look at whether you need to re-prioritize.

This post is my story about what I have learned about my own Purpose, and why I now think that following your Purpose is important.

Background

My life has not been difficult by an objective standard. I have never wanted for food or shelter. I have had no major crises’ in my life other than a divorce. I am not a victim of abuse. If anything, I have had it pretty easy.

Except for the fact my thinking was a barrier to my own well being. It was nobody’s fault but my own.

Though I have made poor choices at times, what my real problem was complacency. I never really tried very hard and just went with the flow.

In mid life I found myself depressed, lost spiritually and had suffered some major failures that were my own making.

I was adrift and mentally spent. Over the preceding years I stopped maintaining contact with my friends.

Then, when I suffered my most recent failure, I felt emotionally at rock bottom. I took that opportunity to take an honest look at my life and where I was going.

During this self analysis, I realized I was just going through the motions as I thought I was supposed to. I had followed the typical path of college, got my Master’s degree and worked my career path.

What I did not do was define what it was I needed, to feel like my life was worth living. This is not to say in a life or death sense, but in the sense of having a balance of what I was putting into it versus what I was getting out of it. I knew that I was not being fulfilled or stimulated. If I kept going down the path I was going, I would get to the end of my life with major regrets.

My father always told me to “go after the brass ring.” I am not sure where that came from but the message was, do not settle. Do your best, live fully and make the most of it.

I wasn’t.

There are Reasons and There are Results. Reasons Don’t Count

During my college days in my Finance program, I started to feel like that was not going to be a path that would make me happy. I looked around and found that the humanities were where I excelled. I decided what I really wanted to do was to teach, to become a professor. A professor in the philosophy of religion.

Being the son of a pastor, I went to Seminary, did some work in the church and even started pursuing the ministry. Being more of an academic than a spiritual leader, that path was a bad match for me. I graduated, but with a pile of student debt. I aborted my pursuit of becoming a professor and pursued a career in a more customary field.

Though my career has been reasonably successful, what I didn’t realize was that I had totally abandoned my Purpose. I wanted to teach. I wanted to help people. I was doing neither.

You already know the result.

Spending time analyzing my life made me realize that I needed to define my Purpose and find a way to take actions in alignment with it. For me, it was getting back to my ‘studies.’ Being the philosopher at heart and really interested in what makes people tick, I decided to start this blog.

Was it easy to do so? Actually no. I had thought of starting to pursue my dreams and passions on the side but I was filled with self-doubt. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of looking like a fool.

But being as low as I was, the threshold to start something, anything that could balance out my life again and bring me some fulfillment was quite low. Only through desperation did I take action. Action.

What I Learned

  1. Action is hard. Fear held me back for years. Complacency is not a friend to progress. Regardless of how difficult it is to take even a small step, such as hitting ‘publish’ on my first blog post, action is necessary.
  2. Action may be hard before you do it, but I discovered that my fears were unfounded. Taking that first step, getting off the fence was incredibly difficult. Once I got going, I found that…
  3. My passion for what I was doing grew. Once I overcame the inertia of getting started, it was much easier to keep the momentum going. My motivation grew as I threw myself into writing, studying and sharing my knowledge. Finding an outlet for my Purpose flipped my mental state from feeling unfulfilled to an attitude of gratitude.
  4. Doing anything, taking action, even if imperfect is okay. I am still ‘feeling my way around in the dark’ so to speak. I don’t know where all the walls are yet, but that is okay. I did not need to know everything was going to work out, or even if I will be successful, but the goal is not the reward, the journey is. I am constantly learning everyday, searching to define my ‘voice’, my direction, my value. It’s a growth process. I may pivot in the future to a different manifestation of my Purpose, but – again – that is okay.
  5. I needed an outlet for my Purpose. Kept locked up inside, in fact long forgotten, it caused a deep disconnect within my mind. There is where you are and where you want to be. If you are not taking action in alignment with your Purpose, you will lose your ‘mojo.’ (sorry for the Austin Powers reference).

My Purpose is to study, to learn, to create, to share and to provide value to others so that they do not have to go through all the pains of learning that I have. I have learned a ton from others, now I want to pass that along. Just as once I was going to be a pastor or a professor, I am expressing myself in an alternative manner.

The Take Away

I started by stating that it is important to follow your Purpose. This post is my offer of evidence that this is true. Some people are driven and have an innate sense of what makes them tick and naturally live their Purpose. I believe there are others that find themselves at a job they do not even like, much less love. There are people who long for more out of life, but do not know what that ‘more’ is.

I hope my story serves to illustrate the lesson and encourage you to take action. Action is the key, but it can be difficult.

Because fear held me back for a long time, even when I wasn’t aware of it, I decided to try to help others address that fear and increase their confidence so that the threshold to action is lowered. That is the reason I wrote Fear to Confidence. It is compiled of the lessons I have learned throughout my life and exercises to help incorporate the information.

I encourage you to find your Purpose and to take action. Your life will be much more enriched when you do.

Thank you for reading. One final request: leave comments below. Let me know what your Purpose is and what help you could use to take action today.

 

Image courtesy of Wonderlane

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