Starting Your New Year With Purpose

“Many people die with their music still in them.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Have you ever found yourself staring off into space…asking, “is this all there is?” or “Is there more to my life than just making a living?” If you have entertained these thoughts and longing for something more, perhaps you have not discovered your purpose. What is this elusive purpose? Our purpose is the essence of who we are at the core of our being and what makes us unique. Everyone is born with a specific purpose and it is as intertwined within you as your DNA.  Each of us has been designed for greatness and to make a difference in the world, and the community around you, leaving it better than we found it.  NO ONE is exempt! If you were honest with yourself, you would understand that deep down inside is an inherent longing to achieve something significant, to know you made a difference, no matter how big, or how small it may seem to you.  If this were not true, Amazon would not have over 151,000 books about finding your purpose and/or passion.  This is especially true for millennials…they will work to pay the bills, but they are on a quest to follow their passion or find their purpose.  A great example of this is this newsletter from Jamie.  Jamie works full-time, is a mother to two small children, but she makes time to put this newsletter together because she has found her purpose of spreading good news. (and for the record, she has an amazing husband who helps her so that she can pursue her purpose.) People who refer to life as “the good life” usually have found their purpose whether within their profession or personally.  They are the ones excited to pursue life and take time to give back…not because they have to but because they want to.

So how do you discover your purpose? Let’s start by debunking some myths surrounding purpose. According to the book, “The Power of Purpose” there are 4 myths:

Myth 1: In order to find my purpose, I have to do something original.  Debunked: There is really nothing new under the sun but rather ideas that are added to things already in motion.  Paralysis by analysis can happen if you dwell here.

Myth 2: Only special people have a purpose.  I don’t have what it takes. Debunked: History is filled with stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary feats.  

Myth 3: True purpose comes as an inspiration or revelation so I will trudge along until the music starts playing and I am overwhelmingly struck by my purpose. Debunked: Science has shown that the most fulfilled, happy people are those who act on an idea instead of waiting around for inspiration to hit.

Myth 4: Living with purpose is a luxury…I have a family to feed and bills to pay. Debunked: We get so caught in the day to day busyness that we can no longer hear or sense that voice inside directing us to live purposefully. There is power in purpose when you align your energy around your true priorities.  You have to stop the busyness and take time to find the purpose which will help you to have “the good life”.

How do I find my purpose?

Terry Orlick said, “The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.”  

It is in these moments of deep happiness that you need to reflect on these questions:

1.  What am I passionate about?  What gets my pulse racing when I think about pursuing the idea?

2.  What gifts and skills align with your interest or passion?

3.  Do you somehow feel the sense that you were born to do this interest?

4.  If money were not an issue, what would I love to do?

Mother Teresa said, “We have not come into the world to be numbered, we have been created for a purpose; for great things: to love and be loved, to live an authentic life.” 

Remember that discovering and pursuing your purpose is not a marathon but rather a slow jog…it is always evolving.  So, at the end of every day, make it a habit to ask yourself, “Did I make a difference today in someone’s life or move towards my purpose?” Just remember you don’t want to… “die with the music still in you.”

Here’s to living out your music…