And often the question comes with the expectation of and answer laid out as a set of guidelines, or rules. “Follow these steps, in this order, and you can be sure to find your purpose”.
Exploring and embracing the awareness that the question reveals is a great place to be at first. Then rather than force an answer, a linearly driven result, let the journey begin, take what seems to be a first step (despite the inevitable trepidation), be aware of resistances that are the ego not wanting to let go (this is a journey of self, and the ego doesn't like that), and be open to guidance and synchronistic opportunities.
That are however a few things that seem to help people get a sense of what they’re looking for. Again these are not steps along a predestined map, they are simply suggestions for exploration. These questions are best explored in a place where you’re relaxed, comfortable, at ease with yourself and the world. A place where you can be quiet and think and feel. Maybe in your favourite spot in the garden, on the beach, in the woods; maybe with your favourite poetry, or art, or music.
Take a look at the questions below and consider those that resonate. Don’t force it, don’t feel you have to answer them all, don’t answer at all, just consider and notice what comes. Having a notebook or journal or sketchbook to hand at these times is useful.
- What did you love to do as a child; what was it about that, what was at the heart of it? (get to the underlying structure or driving force of the experience).
- Who were your idols and hero's; what was it about them or what they did? (again, think about the underlying structure)
- What writing, poetry, art, craft, or music do you love, and what signs might this offer?
- Look over your life, major milestones and significant events. What themes and patterns do you see? What good decisions did you make, and why?
- What are your strong intelligences - artistic, musical, mathematical, scientific, athletic, spiritual, empathetic, …?
- Notice the call of the question you’re asking and the potential that lies beyond the threshold.
- What do your mentors and guides notice in you, what potential do they say they see? (caution - this needs to be in service of you and your potential, not their unfulfilled lives).
- At the end of your time in this world, what is that you want to be known for, what will your contribution have been?
- As you are remembered in the imaginary “book of life” what do you want to be written? (just 3 sentences, 15 words or less each).
- If your purpose was wrapped up in a song or slogan that you could sing or say every day, 365 days a year, what would it be?
- You have the chance for a 15 minute slot on the “world microphone” that broadcasts simultaneously to the whole world – what would you say?
- Try completing your personal Purpose statement – “I serve the Purpose of …”
I’d love to know how you get on, what questions were most useful to you, how you see your purpose. Here is a link to My Purpose, and to the great essay by Jospeph Jaworski Destiny and the Leader.