“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
— John F. Kennedy
Why are you here? Who are you meant to be?
That’s really the most important question you can answer. When you’ve answered that question, when you know your purpose, everything flows easily — your relationships, your career, even where to live or what to eat! But sometimes we make it overly complicated.
We think we have to know what our purpose will be forever. It’s a misunderstanding that you’ll need to know the purpose of your entire life. Some people seem to be born with that strong knowing. But for most of us, it’s “What’s my purpose for now? For this phase of my life?” You only need to connect with your purpose for now to experience the springboard that propels you forward.
In our society, we expect children to know what they want to do with the entire rest of their lives before they are even fully matured. But they really don’t know. On average, around 70% of kids who enter college change their major by sophomore year. Even worse, most people don’t do anything with the college degree they end up getting!
I know exceptions to this. Some kids very clear about who they are and who they are meant to be. But most of us stumble onto a career path at too early an age, then wake up one morning feeling stuck. It’s a career path that made some sense at 18 but not so much at 32.
To think that you need to come up with some sort of ultimate purpose and end goal can freeze you in place. “I need to know my entire purpose before I take a step.” No! To think you need to know your purpose 100% in its entirety is like saying you need to know what you’re going to be doing your entire life all the way up to your death before you move forward. You’re not going to know and it’s a waste of time to wait until you do.
You just need to get enough sense of purpose to get moving. You just need enough sense of who you are meant to be to know what you need to do next. When you get moving and do something related to your purpose, you gain ground and a new perspective. This new perspective allows you to delve a little bit deeper into who you’re meant to be. Then you’re ready to peel back another layer of the onion. If you get a 20% glimpse of who you’re meant to be? That’s enough. Get started. Do something.
When I was 18, I didn’t know I wanted to run my own international company someday. I only knew I wanted to be someone in business and wanted to learn about business. That’s all I knew. Pizza called me. I love pizza, and I figured I might as well learn business around something I love, right?
So I applied to work at a pizza restaurant. While I sat there filling out the application, I didn’t think, “I know who I am meant to be. I am meant to be a person running an international company, teaching Huna trainings as a kumu (teacher) and Neuro Linguistic Programming to thousands of students. And to make sure I launch that path, I must go through my initial experience of delivering pizza.” No! I didn’t have a clue!
I just had a glimpse. “I’ve got to learn business. Start by delivering pizza.” I got the delivery job and, after a month or so, I thought, “Hmmm. I actually want to be more than this.” I redefined who I wanted to be and worked toward it. I became the ultimate pizza delivery guy and made more money. That led me to, “You know what? Maybe I need to be a manager.” Next I thought, “Maybe I want to actually be a manager of my own store.” Later it became, “I should go back to school and get a degree, because I think I want to run a company someday.” Do you see how that worked?
I don’t expect anyone, including myself, to have all the answers. Each path, each life is different. It’s possible that you could announce your purpose then redefine it tomorrow. Maybe you’ll have a singular purpose your entire life. Even at this stage of my life, where I’ve done all the things I’ve done and accomplished what I’ve accomplished, I still can’t tell you “This is who I’m meant to be twenty years down the road.”
The point is to know who you’re meant to be now. Connect with that for your springboard to move forward.
What you do needs to flow from who you are meant to be, your purpose. That said, sometimes you discover who you are meant to be through doing different things. You try something and realize, “This seems close but not quite right.” So you try doing something else. But what you can’t lose sight of is that you are doing these things to help you discover your purpose so you can follow it—not to get yourself stuck where you aren’t meant to be.
When what you are doing is an expression of your purpose, it often doesn’t feel like work at all.
Take the area of relationship, for example. Successful relationships, from the perspective of purpose, come from knowing what you want in a relationship, who you want to be with that person, what you want to express. With that in place, you can create a great relationship and enjoy even its challenges. But when you haphazardly get into a relationship without understanding what you really want and who you are really meant to be with a partner, it’s an uphill climb. Lots of work with little reward. Knowing who you are and your purpose first sets you up for a relationship that is fulfilling.
Follow the breadcrumbs, act on the glimpses of purpose you spot along the way, allow your purpose to guide your actions, and you’ll find yourself on an amazing journey!
“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.”
— W. Clement Stone
Until Next Time,
To your TOTAL Empowerment