Finding our core purpose, determining what you are going to focus your energy on, is more than a merely intuitive process.
It should be a carefully self-observed process in that the outcome will inform and direct your life for some time.
Let’s look at that process.
There are activities in our life that move us closer to achieving our purpose. Unsurprisingly these are the activities one should focus on most of the time to move effectively toward your purpose.
You can only plan on what you know and in an adaptable word, one thing we are sure of is that we just don’t know.
So we have to have a system where when something turns up we can evaluate it to determine if its another route to your purpose.
Learning and Experiencing
Take on activities that you wouldn’t normally do just for the learning experience and evaluate them after-the-fact.
Remember: this period is all about learning. The danger in setting a purpose at this stage is that by exploring other possibilities there is a chance that you may find a different purpose.
The purpose you would choose at this stage is based on your past experiences and your current passion. If at some time in that past, you had substantially different experiences, your purpose would undoubtedly be very different.
The key aspect of staying in an open state of taking in experiences is that it allows you to become very adaptive while determining your purpose.
In other organizations, you would often focus on your one core skill. In an adaptive world, people with one core skill do not survive. Adaptability means having a toolbox of many skills and tools and approaches but you have to take steps to expose yourself to them.
Fixing The Past
There are relationships that you have to repair. In times of change, that can happen quite a bit, but nonetheless, you have to clean those up. If you damaged situations or hurt people, you have to take responsibility. It’s not enough to say ‘oh well, that didn’t work, lets move on’. This is about taking personal responsibility for your actions and cleaning up your past.
There will be situations where it is irreparable, no matter the effort. However it’s important that you tried, the people affected know that you tried and recognize that you are aware that you made a mistake.
This is the route of personal integrity. You are responsible for the good things in your life and the bad things and we must work to reduce the bad things and learn from our errors. There is no shame in making mistakes but it is shameful not to learn from them and not trying to fix them shows that you lack integrity.
When your purpose meets other’s purpose
You may spend time achieving someone else’s purpose or cleaning up someone else’s mess. This is more than a distraction: the time you spend in such activity is time taken away from achieving your own purpose.
Such external issues can come in many forms: emotional blackmail from loved ones or working for an organization where your own purpose is subsumed in cleaning up other’s messes.
So you now have a choice when you sit down and think about where you’re going to focus your efforts: how you’re going to broaden your horizons, how you’re going to clean up relationships and establish better ones, and most importantly, how you determine that meeting someone else’s purpose fulfills your own.
As I hope I’ve made clear, finding your purpose is going to take careful planning. But then again, your purpose is worth it.