Four Ways to Identify Your Purpose

January 11 - Brittany Packnett
  1. Ask yourself this question: “What do I want to be true in the world because I am here?”

    You are not asking yourself what job you want, how much money you’d like to make, where you want to live or by when you want to be married. You are not making a plan: you are setting a vision. What do you want to be true because you are here, living, breathing, and trying every day? The answer to this question may never be static-it may change with time or life circumstance-but it is always worth asking.

2. Then, ask yourself, “Are the ways I spend my time, energy, money and friendship aligned with that?”

Chances are, some are, and some aren’t. There can be no purposeful living without honesty. For a long time, I knew that my purpose was to pursue justice in the world. Yet, as a woman of faith, I was contributing my tithing dollars and my time to a church that did not embrace all of God’s people. When my spirit would convict me on this fact, I would rationalize, and complain about how hard it is to find a church in America that embraces women, immigrants, and LGBTQ people like I would want them to.

Finally, I realized, my contributions did not match the just world I want to live in. It was time for me to leave. It took a year, but finding a church to invest my money, time and treasure in that was busy trying to build a just world, too, was well worth the effort to live an aligned and authentic life.

3. Then, ask yourself, “How am I uniquely positioned to perform my purpose?”

Your purpose is your why; often, it is not your what. A person whose purpose is to empower others may be a highly effective teacher, may start a non-profit, may teach homeless women crafting skills to support themselves, or may be a Member of Congress who funds workforce programs. What skills, gifts and talents do you possess that uniquely position you to pursue what you want to be true in the world for our greater good? Follow your strengths to lead you to your work.

4. Finally, ask yourself, “If this comes true, will it change me, or change the world?”

Each of us are responsible to leave the world better than we found it. Efforts that only change our circumstances, our family’s outcomes, or supply resources only for ourselves are too small. Whether it’s for profit or non-profit, religious or not, formal or informal, the purposeful work you do must change the game for more than just yourself. So check your answers with this final question. It will tell you if your answers are selfish, or of service.

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