So I told you guys I’ve been working with a life coach. I also told you that she’s been giving me “homework” in between sessions. One of the assignments she gave me was to come up with my personal purpose.
To do this, you ask yourself the question “what is my purpose in life” and then write non-stop for 10 minutes about who you are, what you have to offer and what you want to accomplish. You write freely without concern for spelling and grammar. After the 10 minutes is up, you stop to read what you wrote and highlight any key themes that stand out.
Once that’s done, you ask yourself the same question but this time you only focus on the key words that you highlighted in your first draft. You keep cutting down all the fluff until you’re eventually down to one sentence. That’s right, ONE single sentence to describe your entire life’s purpose.
Surprise, surprise – I couldn’t do it.
I tried and tried but I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, if I knew my life’s purpose then why would I even need a life coach in the first place?
So off I went to my next session feeling like a guilty high schooler who hadn’t finished their homework. Luckily, life coach sessions are a judgment-free zone. Instead of getting scolded for why I hadn’t come up with anything, we talked about why I found the task so difficult and tried to overcome any obstacles that were holding me back.
After the session, I came home and decided to do some research. One of my favourite YouTubers, Kalyn Nicholson, has boiled her personal purpose down to a single word: “Create.” Anytime she feels confused or unclear about what she’s doing and why, she connects with her purpose and finds clarity among the chaos.
I also read the personal mission statements of 5 famous CEOs. My girl Oprah, for example, says her purpose is “to be a teacher, and to be known for inspiring [her] students to be more than they thought they could be.”
A few days passed and I decided I was ready to try again. I lit a candle, turned off my music and lay on the floor of my room with my eyes closed. I was actually trying to meditate (which I suck at, but that’s a whole other blog post), and hadn’t even had my head down for 60 seconds before I jumped up to grab a pen and my journal.
I scribbled down a bunch of words like “grow… communicate… learn…” and then opened my laptop to start the 10-minute writing assignment again. This time, the words just poured out of me and the key themes were impossible to ignore.
I compared my computer notes with the notes in my journal and – voila – I’d found my purpose: “To grow & inspire growth.”
That’s it. Simple, straightforward and clear as day.
At this point in my life, through work, through my blog, through my hobbies and through the everyday conversations I have with those around me, it’s clear that all I’ve been doing and all that I’ve ever wanted to do is GROW and INSPIRE GROWTH.
Realizing this has brought me such inner peace. For so long, I’d felt like I needed to figure out my end goal before I could take a risk or make a move. I thought that I had to know what job I wanted or what business I wanted to own before I could start taking steps towards that outcome.
What I didn’t realize is that I was actually closing myself off to a world of opportunities that don’t necessarily fit into a certain job title or business model. Some people are born knowing what they want to be when they “grow up.” Others, like me, are a little more fluid when it comes to their goals and interests. And that’s okay.
By shifting my attention to my PURPOSE rather than my (non-existent) GOALS, I now feel like the world is my oyster.
As I move forward with this blog and with my career and with anything else I’m doing, all I have to ask myself is “Am I growing?” and “Am I inspiring growth?” If the answer to either question is ‘yes’ then I know that I’m on the right path.
And for now, that’s all I need to know.