You have a purpose to fulfill in your life.
In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he concludes that we each have purpose. He distilled this primarily from his time living in concentration camps during the Holocaust. He observed that the search for meaning, or purpose, sustained those who survived.
I’m currently reading Stedman Graham’s book called Identity Leadership. In it, he has a chapter about his sweetie, Oprah Winfrey. He wrote about Oprah’s strong sense of self and how she has an innate sense of knowing her purpose.
Oprah had a tough upbringing. She was the child of a teen mother, born into poverty. She lived with her grandmother until she was six. They were so poor that her grandmother would make her clothes from potato sacks.
At six, Oprah was sent to live with her mother in Wisconsin. Her mother was ashamed of Oprah and had another, lighter skinned, daughter at the time. According to Oprah, because her mother was ashamed, she made Oprah sleep outside on the porch at six years old. Can you even imagine?
Oprah remembers her grandmother telling her that her wish for her was that she would find a good white family to be a maid for (Oprah’s grandmother was a maid for a white family). Oprah knew, even as a very little girl, that it wasn’t what she was meant to do.
Her life didn’t get any easier from there. She was sexually molested at the age of nine and became pregnant as a teenager. The baby died after it was born.
Through all the turmoil, Oprah was very clear on what she was put here to do and how she was meant to serve.
I believe purpose evolves over time. Some of us, like Oprah, may discover it earlier, while many of us search, try new things, and switch paths.
In my life, my purpose has altered as my world has opened up. As I’ve been exposed to new ideas and possibility, alignment with my purpose has shifted.
Here are three ways that have worked for me to get closer to my purpose.
Pay attention to what gives you energy. If you’ve experienced being “in flow,” where you don’t notice time, pay attention. When you don’t mind sacrificing, why is it? Where does your energy lead you?
Dedicate time to learning new things. Listen to podcasts, read or listen to books, go to events, have informational interviews with people, sync up with a mentor who is doing something the lights you up, watch documentaries. Take advantage of all the content out there and use it as a guide to learn.
Be curious. In my life, curiosity sparks excitement and interest. When I’m not curious, I miss things. Fortunately, I surround myself with curious people so if I don’t ask a question, they will. Curiosity opens doors and introduces you to new ideas, concepts, things, etc.
Life purpose can be so simple that we overlook it. If you’re prone to overthinking, like me, start a habit of sitting in silence for five to ten minutes at least four days per week. From there, pay attention and use these few tools to guide you.
There’s a reason you’re here. If you haven’t found it yet, you will.