What should I be doing right now?
And what should I be doing next?
And how do I know if I’m doing the right things?
Ever asked yourself those questions?
I know I have. (And continue to.)
Another way to phrase those questions is one that is at once so simple and so freaking difficult it’s insane: What’s my purpose?
Purpose is a word that’s thrown around a lot. Life purpose. Business purpose. My purpose. For some, the word purpose conjures up images of traveling the world and serving the poor, and for others, the word is a high and lofty vision of becoming famous and being interviewed by Jimmy Fallon.
Figuring out your purpose, as we often phrase it, is scary and difficult…. and quite honestly, it’s just ironic. Shouldn’t discovering (or re-discovering) the reason for your existence be a natural thing, something simple?
But instead it seems pretty freaking difficult.
Discovering your purpose is the first step toward figuring out what you want to do with your life, your career, and your creative business, for figuring out your big, ultimate goals, and, the hardest part, for figuring out how to get there.
But your purpose is not any of those things.
So before we start talking about what your purpose is, let’s talk about what it’s not.
Your purpose is not…
- your business
- your work
- your career
- your relationships
Your purpose does not….
- change with time or with your changing circumstances
- depend on others for validation or acceptance (or guilt)
Your purpose is not your job or your business, but it informs your job or your business. Additionally, your purpose is probably not going to feel clear by the end of this blog post (or maybe even the end of the year). But by working through this stuff and engaging with it, by engaging with yourself, your feelings, and your dreams, and by constantly asking the right questions, you’ll become more and more clear and confident about your purpose. You’ll become more and more clear and confident that you’re on the right track. You’ll trust yourself more and more, and you’ll make choices from a purpose-centered place.
But discovering your purpose is the first step. Learning to trust your decisions, determining if you’re on the right path… all of that can only happen once you’ve made a decision from a purpose-centered place.
What business do I start? How do I know that I’ve chosen correctly? Am I on the right path? How do I trust myself and my decisions when I’m feeling really torn?
I believe that your life’s purpose and business are so closely related. In this day and age, blogging and online business and freelancing are so incredibly common that almost all of us have dabbled in it at one point.
So we’ve decided what purpose is not. It is not some wishy-washy feeling. It is not the business you start.
But what is purpose?
Purpose is your why. Purpose is your big what and how. Purpose is your life, your whole life. And purpose is who you are and how you want to feel beyond what anyone else in the entire world wants for you. Your purpose is yours, unique, and yours alone.
Purpose gives the reason to your life, it informs how you live, how you strive to feel, how you behave, and what work you do. It creates your business, your relationships, and every other aspect of your life.
But why do we care? What is the good of knowing your purpose? What happens when you figure it out?
You love life.
You create a career and business and work that you love.
You improve your relationships.
You inspire people.
You inspire yourself.
You trust yourself.
You walk through life happily facing the natural ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey because you know that it’s all part of the process. Where the old, confused you would have been overwhelmed and frustrated and hopeless, the purposeful you is ready to kick ass and feel great no matter the stage.
Sounds good, right?
So how can you discover (or re-discover) your purpose? How do you start exploring your purpose? And how do you figure out what creative business to start, what next step to take, and a million other things?
It’s a meta question to ask what is your purpose. But today we’re going to try to ask what’s your purpose as it relates to your career and solopreneur business.
Why do you do what you do?
How does it relate to your life?
And what should you be doing with yourself and your possible or already existing business?
You ready to dig deep, face your fears, and discover your purpose? There are four steps here to discovering your purpose. Ready? Here we go.
Look back at your past. What are your happiest memories? What moments are still haunting you?
One of the biggest clues to your purpose is the happiness you’ve felt throughout your life. What caused it? What were you feeling in those moments you were happy? Those are the feelings that are going to be your compass as you discover and re-discover and live your purpose.
Meanwhile, one of the biggest blocks to purposeful living are those haunting memories, the ones that have lowered your confidence, made you question yourself, and forced you into situations where you were more focused on just surviving than living as and truly being yourself. Look back at those moments and see them as learning experiences. They’re pointing you toward the feelings that are your warning signs. When you feel these, you’re not acting out of purpose.
Look at your present. Imagine your life as it would be in ten years if you didn’t change a single thing about your life right now.
How do you feel in the present? Amazing? Awesome? Epic? Excited? Energetic? Or do you feel more stuck? Meh? Nothing, maybe? How you’re feeling right now is a guide as to whether you’re living on purpose. What would you have to do in this exact moment to feel amazing? Awesome? Epic? Excited? Energetic?
Now imagine your future as it would exist from where you are right now. Do you love where you’re going? Or are you counting on something happening to you and your life to change that future into something more epic? (I’m here to tell you that your future will only be awesome, amazing, epic, exciting, if you make it so. And that can only happen when you’re acting on purpose.)
Spend twenty minutes and write down your biggest, ultimate, it’s-insane-but-if-I’m-honest-it’s-what-I-really-want dreams.
Why twenty minutes? Well, because we tend to bury our real dreams so deep inside ourselves that it takes a few minutes of opening up before they start showing themselves, before we’re fully aware enough and comfortable enough to admit them, to declare them. So though it’s a little uncomfortable, keep writing for twenty minutes. Let go of all of your limiting thoughts and challenge yourself to listen to the most illogical and craziest sounding dreams in your heart, all of those annoying little voices that are so quiet inside of you and have been there for years. You don’t say these kind of dreams out loud often, and you usually don’t share them with close family or friends because of fear of judgement.
These are your ultimate goals. These ultimate goals go way beyond starting a coaching practice or running a profitable blog. These are the kind of dreams that have you on stage in front of 100,000,000 screaming fans who are waiting for you to belt it out like Beyoncé. These are the kind of dreams that have you saving, changing, inspiring lives. These are the big dreams. Own them.
But be careful. They’re still not your purpose.
What will you feel when you’re living your ultimate goal? And, secondly, but as important, how will the world feel when you’re living your ultimate goal?
Will you be feeling awesome, amazing, epic, excited, energetic? Will others feel inspired? Will their lives change? Will they start living from their purpose?
And how do you feel thinking about it right now?
Because that’s purpose. The journey of emotions that bring you back to yourself and inspire the world around you.
It’s tough work, but it’s life-giving work. And it’s creative-business-starting work. And it’s relationship-improving work. Discovering your purpose, practicing living from a sense of purpose breeds passion, excitement, and a big, fat, epic, beautiful life.
So what’s your purpose?
And here’s my final question for you.
What’s the gap between where you are and where you want to be? And what is it going to take for you to change that?
Yesterday we talked about letting go of the need for the how do I get there thoughts and really opening yourself up to the goal wholly.
But here’s the truth: The more you can commit to the ultimate goal, the dream, the more you can trust yourself to believe in its possibility. The more you can believe in it, believe in your future, say yes to it, the more the how will appear, the harder you will work, the easier it will be become to get creative.
Because when you want something bad enough, you can make miracles happen.
But you have to trust yourself enough to want it for a start.
If this post has inspired you, touched you, angered you, or made you laugh, please share it around! You have no idea who you might inspire by sharing.
P.S. Each week, I offer a limited number of free coaching calls for creatives and entrepreneurs. As a writing and media business strategy coach, we work together on getting clear on your purpose, dreaming big dreams, and putting together a strategy to get you there. If this sounds exactly like the kind of support you need right now or you’re just dying to take this purpose, creative business stuff further, click here to find out more!