Humans are wired to have and fulfill a purpose in this life. I have never met anyone who doesn’t want to feel self-worth and accomplishment, and almost all feel that life is not complete without “making a difference”. So why do we sometimes – or even frequently – feel stuck, insignificant, unengaged, frustrated…? The quick answers can be relationships, jobs, neighbors, finances – immediate circumstances. There can also be physiological reasons – we have talked about the impact gut health and mental fog can have on the clarity and positivity of our thinking. But this post is going to a much different place. I want to talk about why you do or don’t do the things that could make you feel truly fulfilled. This is just an introduction to the idea of discovering who you really are, and I hope that it empowers you to begin to think the thoughts and take the actions that can lead to fulfillment.
There are several levels to the discovery process. The first and most basic precondition is to establish WHERE you want to be/go as of right now. If you don’t have at least one goal, you can’t make thoughtful decisions about how to get to a new place. It can be as big or small as you can handle right now; but making that goal, writing it down, and looking at it at least once a day is HUGE. The rest of this process hinges on having one or more goals. Make it/them as specific as possible. If you feel you need help with goal definition and setting, feel free to reach out to me.
Okay, NOW we can get started on the discovery process.
STEP ONE: Think about why you have chosen the goal or goals you have chosen. What differences will it/they will make in your life? Write down your answers. (This is your current WHY)
STEP TWO: Think about why the differences you believe achievement of your goal/goals will make are important. Why do you feel so strongly that THOSE specific differences are important for you to achieve? Write down your answers (These answers reflect your current PRIORITIES and VALUES).
STEP THREE: Think about why you prioritize and value the differences you want to make. What are you willing to give up or postpone indefinitely (“for as long as it takes”) to make these differences? Write down your answers (These answers form your current view of your PURPOSE).
STEP FOUR: Think about why you are willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to achieve your goal or goals. What is unshakeable in you that compels you to have this purpose? Does thinking about actually pursuing and achieving these goals feel scary or liberating? Write down your answers. (These answers will give you insight into your WORLDVIEW and your CALLING).
Your WORLDVIEW is what you believe about yourself, society, and how life should be lived. This includes filters to thoughts, actions, and feelings based on family, culture, faith, and other influences that you accept as parameters and standards guiding your life.
Your CALLING or LIFE PURPOSE is your unchangeable inner “wiring”, the way you would act all the time if you could be that best and most fruitful unique person you were created to be. Your calling doesn’t change. It is who you are without the filters. It will almost always include a strong component of service to others.
MORE ON DISCERNING YOUR WORLDVIEW AND CALLING/LIFE PURPOSE
Not quite sure how to figure out what your worldview is? Here is a link to a thought-provoking series of questions that can really help you. There is no right or wrong, and it’s really not a test – more like a few guideposts to light your path. Enjoy it! https://annickdewitt.com/worldviewtest/
What is your passion? What you gives you a “rush” when you do it? What do you automatically do well with average effort? These questions can certainly give you a current understanding of your basic wiring. Listen to this talk by Gina Kiesel, top leader in doTERRA, on “Discovering Your Purpose”: https://bit.ly/2WsdMxL It was intended for a specific group of business leaders, but you can apply the principles to anything in your life.
STEP FIVE: If you didn’t feel completely liberated and excited while working on STEP FOUR, think about what in your worldview is in conflict with what you perceive to be your calling. Are there beliefs and paradigms that you want to re-examine with open curiosity? Are there aspects of what you perceive to be your calling that could be re-shaped to pair comfortably with your worldview? Finally, think about the part or parts of your current life (job, hobbies, relationships, lifestyle, etc.) that do not resonate with your calling. What changes can you make to bring who you are, how you are, and what you are into JOY-FILLED, PASSIONATE alignment?
You can go through this exercise as many times as you want now and as time goes on. Your WHY will definitely change over time, as will your PRIORITIES. Certain VALUES may also change as you go through life experiences. Less likely but possible is a significant change in WORLDVIEW.
The one thing that cannot change is your CALLING/LIFE PURPOSE. Find it, continue to seek clarity about it, and – by all means – make decisions based on creating a path that will allow you to step into it. This is the path to fulfillment.