by Elliot Lyons
Purpose guides what we’re supposed to be doing but turning it into a “must” makes it something we put in a box, something that can be obtained rather than something we channel.
This is when purpose can become a self-destructive weapon, or a commodity that’s purchased at the expense of purpose itself, and why we need to re-think the way we view purpose.
Purpose isn’t a solution to a problem, but rather an answer to questions, a set of questions that will never cease—once the questions stop, purpose dies. What do I want out of life? necessitates more questions—how do I go about getting it, what does success feel like? Along the journey that comes with these questions, we discover more of ourselves.
And to get to the next level, we need to ask different questions based on what we’ve experienced and learned. Learning changes the scenery of our path, and allows us to see ourselves in a different light—our opportunities, directions, and thoughts.
If we view purpose as something we “have,” we confuse it with the existence of a goal. Goals guide us, but purpose guides our goals. Of course, goals can change, and this change is usually fueled by purpose—some new insight gained through the questions we’ve asked in response to what we’ve asked for in life.
When “having” purpose is confused with a goal, we can also tend to look at a person who is where we want to be and think, this is THE way to what I want! instead of using them as an example of how purpose feels. For sure, how we express that feeling is different, but we can all recognize someone who is filled with purpose because we feel the energy, the passion.
The trick is being able to locate the energy and passion embodied in purpose in ourselves, and that all starts with one question: what else is in me?