Finding Your "Why?" - 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose
Have you ever found yourself standing in a room and suddenly, for the life of you, you cannot remember why you are there or what you came to do? Don't lie, you know you have.
Fine, follow me here.
For some of us, that feeling isn't just relegated to standing in the door frame of our bedroom, pondering "what was I about to do?" before venturing back into the living room only to remember exactly what it was we needed. For some of us, that loss of focus, or purpose, seeps out into bigger more detrimental places and makes ruts for us to get stuck in. A dead end friendship, a pointless relationship we've outgrown, a career that we hate even the thought of...
All because we forget, (and oh how woefully easily we do forget) why we started out on this path in the first place. It begs the question, what is your "Why?"
For so many things in my life, I started out with a plan. I like to think I'm a driven person. I'm a goals kind of gal and that bullseye on the back of whatever it is I've decided I want is always there when I start. I know going in what I want, how I want to get it, and just how long I approximate it will take me to do just that.
Best laid plans right?
Inevitably something, anything, LIFE, comes up, and I quickly become a proverbial 'life' firefighter. I take my eyes off the prize. I find myself in 'survival' mode. And soon, I can't even see the bulls eye. Was it ever there to begin with? What in the hell exactly am I here for?
I pondered on this and inevitably arrived at my "Why?"s in a myriad of areas. I put some issues, situations, people, and responsibilities on my mental scale and weighed them, and let me tell you, my compass was pointing many places before, but none of them were north. It all boiled down to the following five factors. Read on and see if you too have lost your "Why?"
1. Forget Your Gut, Go With Your Heart:
Anyone who knows me personally has heard my "head and heart" speech. For my beautiful disasters, I will spell it out here. Do not over think it. Your head is a place full of emotions, thoughts (overthoughts), wrought with endless scenarios - most of which never happen - and anxieties. Whenever possible, I choose my heart over my head, because contrary to what many believe, your heart knows what you really want. I don't buy the "think over feeling" mantra. Your head will tell you why you are inadequate for the task ahead, why it won't work, why you need to wait, and a myriad of other reasons not to let your passions and true purpose fly. Want to know what you really want? do a coin toss and while it's in the air, see if your heart doesn't tell you to go and do what it is that you really want to do. Don't trust me? Try it. I dare you.
2. Figure Out What You're Good At:
Stop and take stock. No matter how self critical you are, every single one of us has been endowed with something that no one else has got. One of the most moving things I've found about people is how unique we all are. I am one of four siblings, and though one of my sisters has almost the exact same voice and cadence of speech as me, and another seems to share a face with me, we are all completely and utterly different. We were raised the same, have the same biological parents, were afforded the same opportunities, and yet all disbursed in our separate directions like night and day. I say all of that to say that you - yes YOU reading this - have something original to offer. What is it that you do that wows without fail? What makes you shine amongst others? Are you efficient? Crafty? Organized to a level that would make the Container Store weep in admiration? Do you have the gift of gab? Are you compassionate in a way that makes people open up? What is your gift, and are you using it to its fullest potential? If you aren't, I can tell you from experience, you will feel bottled up. It can even manifest as anxiety and constant state of feeling 'less than.' Less than because you, my dear, are being less than your full self. Tap into that potential.
3. Set Your Passion Ablaze:
This may be the anarchist in me talking, but I want you to start a fire - no this is not my endorsement for arson. That's another blog post entirely. I want you to take what you're good at and project it in your mind. If you're somewhere you can't do this, fine, wait. But if you can, stop. Pause. Close your eyes. Be in the dark.
And set it ablaze.
When I stop to take stock of what it is I'm REALLY good at - the areas in which I shine, suddenly the world opens up a little. Take your gift and throw gasoline on it, light a match and throw it at the world. Spark a movement in your world, however big or small. You are not insignificant. Whether it be with your family and friends, or in your career, or to help others, pass it on. Watch it catch and breathe it in. In your mind it may initially look like nothing more than a candle in the sun, but you are a 4 alarm fire in the making, darling. Burn, baby, burn.
4. Ride The Momentum:
Passion and purpose are a fickle thing. You have to know (and I'm telling you now) that the burn that may be initially so bright, eventually dies down to embers. But when it is high, ride it. Do not procrastinate. There are always 'tomorrows' and reasons to put off. When you feel the fire in your veins, that is your call to action. It's your alarm, wake up! Don't be that one who waits and what if's until your moment has passed. We all have one, and that yearning deep down in your body to move on that unique purpose you have, that is your spiritual indication to move. I repeat, that is not a suggestion.
5. Rinse and Repeat:
The reality is life is a roller coaster. As a creator of almost anything I can get my hands on, I can tell you eventually you hit a wall. We all will, whether you're following your purpose or not. You will find yourself in the doorway of your life going, "what was I supposed to be doing?" all over again. And that, my friends, is A-okay. Pick it up from the top. Reevaluate and reset your compass. The bulls eye will reappear and you will see clearly again. Start from the top if you have to and remind yourself you have a reason for being.
What is your "Why?" if you know it? If you're still looking, this is just a jumping off point. Discuss it in the comments section. Oh, and happy burning my little anarchists!