What a noble pursuit to find the very reason that you were put on Earth?
Feeling unfulfilled by my work, last year I began an earnest pursuit to identify my purpose. I read books, spoke to influencers, meditated and more; yet my purpose became even more elusive.
Save yourself the angst. The one thing I know for sure following my search is that finding your purpose in finite time is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else has done it, and so everyone claims they have too. Rather, I arrived at the following truth:
We cannot identify our purpose, we can only answer callings we receive throughout our life. The complete path of responses to each calling as life ensues becomes our purpose.
As Barbara Brown Taylor says, we can be called to things and called away from things. Perhaps we're called to be a parent, a caretaker, or an expert in pediatric cancer. No matter how ordinary or extraordinary the personal or professional calling, we must respond. As the calls arrive and responses are sent, the journey of life will lead to our destiny. To put this simply:
Suppose you find your purpose, you fulfill it, and you have remaining life... what then?
You might stop here and resign yourself to allow life to simply run it's course. Rather, I suggest you build tools and a practice to decipher when to say Yes or when to say No as callings arrive.. Think of these tools as a compass on a journey through the woods or a What Would Jesus Do bracelet when you are seconds from flipping someone off in a road rage incident.
What Do These Tools Look Like?
There is no one right answer to what tools will be most useful and compelling to you, but I can suggest to you some patterns that have been effective for me.
This is a practice and you are a perfectly imperfect human. From time to time, you are going to get something wrong. That is totally okay. I believe it better to learn a lesson (by making a mistake) than live a life of regret; so did Mark Twain.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain