Every now and then, I wake up feeling angsty. Jealousy pokes at me with its thorny little hands. It’s so rare these days but once upon a time it was the norm: that wash of fear and lack of graciousness. I used to stuff it away and ignore it. Nowadays, I celebrate it and lean right on in. I get nice and close so that I can hear what it’s whispering. Wanna know what it tells me?
It says, “This isn’t about anyone else. It’s all you, baby. In this tiny moment, you have forgotten your purpose.”
It’s my uncomfortable, handsy alert system. It’s there to remind me who I am and why I’m here. It urges me to show up.
“Purpose” used to sound like such a grand term to me–intangible and fluffy. I tried to reroute it. I took the practical approach. “If I can figure out what I want to do with my life, then I’ll be happy. I searched and searched. I did the impractical thing (acting) and the practical thing (real estate) and still I felt unsettled. It was like trying on a bunch of ill-fitting clothing, trying to reposition it to look just so. I felt like a total imposter. Because I was. I was trying to do my way toward fulfillment rather than be it.
I read books and spent money on an uninspired career counselor who told me that I would basically never fit in anywhere because I could only do work that I was totally passionate about and that I created myself. At the time, I felt useless. “I will never fit. I will never be happy. I am a rooster among pink flamingos.”
I stalled and doubted myself and thought that other people were so lucky to have figured all of this out at a younger age.
Now, further down the path, I can see the crystal clear truth: most people are trying do purpose rather than be it. I wasn’t alone that entire time. I just thought I was because we humans are pretty skilled at hiding from one another.
That bit of insight I received about passion and creation was actually right on the money. I judged it because I couldn’t make sense of how I would fit into the working world from that place. I hid myself and, as a result, the world couldn’t find me.
Purpose is not separate from us. It’s not a place to get, not a thing to modify or perfect. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you take it with you.
You are your purpose.
You can’t help but be it. The reason most of us aren’t living from purpose is that we’re constantly fighting it, trying to wrap it in a prettier package or a safer one, modifying ourselves to look like everyone else. We want people to like us. We think our gifts should only express themselves in acceptable ways.
I was reminded of this recently while having dinner with a group of women. Someone asked me what I did and I started talking about coaching and writing and purpose. I could feel myself lighting up, expanding, taking up space. And just as quickly, I felt some of the women pushing back at me, shifting uncomfortably, making defensive remarks, nudging me to shrink, as if to say, “We are uncomfortable with you being that big. Please dim your light so that we can feel better about ourselves.”
Once upon a time, the discomfort would have contained me and I would have deflated.
Today, I lean in. I shine brightly. I take up more space.
It is not your job to shrink, to dim, to play nice. It is your birthright to rise and meet others as your whole, fully-expressed self. You are robbing the world of your presence when you do not shine.
Doing from purpose is fluid. It can shift and refine. Your “job” is an expression of who you are, who you can’t help but be. The title doesn’t matter. Being your whole self does. Detach from how it’s supposed to look. Writer, teacher, doctor, coach: these are just vehicles. Your purpose is constant. It remains even when everything around you changes.
Get still and listen. Tune out the noise and judgment. Silence your parents and friends and bosses. Wait for the truth. That one right there. You will know it when it hits you. It will be immoveable. It may even scare the shit out of you. Am I that powerful? That creative? That necessary?
This is purpose.
No one else, no matter how cool or eloquent or passionate, can give the world your blend of magic. No one can speak your words. No one can create what you are here to create.
And so you must.
The world you long for cannot exist without you. You are here to create it.
And if you don’t do it because other people won’t approve or its too risky or you will be slightly uncomfortable? We will lose out on your impact. And that will be a damn shame.
Show us who you are so we can know you. Speak your piece so we can hear you. Make your art because we need to feel it. Be the love you are. Forget the packaging and titles and roles. You’ve been chosen for something greater. Claim it.
I’m taking on
three two clients for a special three-month empowerment program. If your heart’s calling out and you’re really ready to step into your purpose to create a life of abundance, get in touch. We’ll talk.