The Quest for Purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” …Buddah

Ever since I was six years old I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I was fascinated by science and how living things worked. I would read the Worldbook encyclopedia and study the transparent pages which illustrated the insides of a dissected frog. I wondered if the insides of a frog looked like those pages. I was that kid. So, at the ripe age of 7, my friend and I caught a bullfrog and dissected it under the porch (using the encyclopedia as my guide). I was so excited to see that indeed my dissection looked just like the book. At that moment, I knew I would be a surgeon. I never wavered and in the end accomplished what I feel I was called to do…practice medicine/operate. But, is this my purpose?? I don’t know…..let’s define purpose.

The dictionary defines purpose as the reason something exists, an intended end; aim; or goal. I suppose finishing medical school and residency and then eventually practicing was my goal or the intended end. In that case, I guess I have attained my purpose. But is purpose finite?? or does it evolve and change as we move closer and closer to our purpose?? All things in nature are moving towards some form or type of outcome. Whether it’s an apple tree producing fruit or the sun rising to produce daylight, everything is moving, shifting and evolving towards an intended fulfillment.

Purpose offers a sense of direction and helps guide our paths, behaviors and our goals when applied to our lives. Purpose creates meaning. Defining and understanding my own purpose has been a big focus of the last 2 years of my life. Nothing like a pandemic to make you think about where you are in life and what you really want for the later half of your adult life.

While a lot of people are happy living a predestined existence in auto-pilot. I want and need more. I desire to get up every morning, not with a sense of dread or lack of motivation, but with a sense of enthusiasm about what the day holds and what I can contribute. Can anyone else relate to me?? Please read on with an open mind to learn how knowing your purpose and living in it will enrich your life.

Your purpose is unique to you and everyone’s purpose is going to be slightly different. However, most people tend to agree that there are three main areas through which we typically connect with and express purpose in our lives. These three areas are:

  1. Vocation- through our career or work that is purposeful and aligned with our values.
  2. Social/Familial– Personal values are aligned with our relationship to family, friends, and/or our community.
  3. Spirituality– drawing meaning and fulfillment through our religious and/spiritual beliefs.

One can align their purpose with one of these areas while others will try to align their purpose with all three. There is no “one size fits all” in this quest for purpose. And, purpose can change throughout our lives as our priorities and situations shift, and we gain more life experience. Purpose is not finite…it is fluid.

The key to living with purpose is:

a) knowing your purpose and doing the work to align one or more of the areas of your life with that purpose;

b) knowing what you value in each area of your life; and

c) living intentionally using your values to guide you as you continue in the quest for your purpose.

What areas are you aligning in your quest for purpose? I am on the quest to align all three areas (career, family and spirituality)…How about you??

Please comment below.

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