Discovering Your Purpose
I have loved the quote below by Gary Zukav for years, but it wasn't until more recently that I came to truly understand it.
Do you ever find yourself wrestling with the question, "what is my purpose?" A few years ago I found myself headed for an inner exploration, I was on a quest to better understand or more clearly identify what my true purpose was. Already several years into a major career change, from hair stylist to non profit director, I felt I was on the right path but still had some unanswered questions when it came to what my specific calling or purpose was. I was making an impact with my work and really enjoying it, but I was still feeling like I didn't quite have a full grasp on what my purpose was.
Around this same time I was launching my podcast, Be The Good. On the podcast I interview people from all over the country who are doing work to make a difference. My intention was to shed light on their stories in an effort to inspire my listeners to tap into their own great capacity to do good as well. But honestly, selfishly, I also really wanted to know if my guests had found that this work was their true calling, their true purpose. And as I dove into these diverse stories the common theme that emerged was that each guest had a desire to be of service, to pay something forward, and almost every single guest had mentioned that this work made them feel they had truly found their purpose. In their stories I could see my story as well. We were all doing completely different projects but the common theme was a desire to be of service and a desire to make a difference. This theme of service resonated deeply with me.
Since I was a little girl I have always felt called strongly to help others and to find ways to be useful for the good. When I'm being of service that's when I can say I am honestly the most fulfilled, that's when I experience the deepest levels of joy. Through these conversations with my guests I slowly began to realize that there doesn't need to be some specific title for my calling or purpose. There is not one "thing" that I am supposed to be or role I am supposed to play that will define my purpose. Rather, my purpose is to simply be of service. I realized that in order to fulfill this calling I just need to continually look for ways to express it.
My calling just so happens to coincide with my career but I think it's important to point out that your purpose or calling does not need to be what you do for a living. You can find deep meaning and purpose in your career (or none at all!) or you can also have a hobby or outlet outside of work that allows you to access deeper meaning and fulfillment.
In yoga this is referred to as your Dharma. Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means "right direction", "rightful duty", or "righteous living". In the yoga philosophy it is taught that Dharma is your purpose in life, your true calling, what you were put here to do. Whatever your Dharma is, it's something you can recognize in yourself as being beneficial to the world around you, something that brings you deep joy and meaning and living out this purpose simply requires you to commit to pursuing an expression of this truth in some or many ways.
There is a certain level of peace that has come to me since I recognized service as my calling and owned it. It's allowed me to stop questioning myself, and instead I now focus my energy on showing up fully as my truest self, doing the work I feel called to do, and then trusting that whatever I feel called to do was meant for me. It has allowed me to accept that who I am right now is exactly who I was supposed to be all along. And that is an incredibly powerful feeling.
And that brings me back to the Gary Zukav quote...."When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic power."
Here's what I have learned more fully about what this means (to me at least)...I've learned that when you come to understand what your true purpose is in life and you commit to finding ways to use your own unique gifts and talents for this purpose, your personality begins to shift to become more aligned with that purpose. When this shift takes place you begin to step into an authentic power, and it is a personal power that no one could ever take away from you.
If I can offer encouragement to anyone who is not yet sure what their purpose is, I promise you it's worth putting in the work to try to discover what it is - because we all have a purpose, in my opinion. It's different for everyone, but no one is without purpose, without a dream on their heart, or without a desire to better understand why they are here.
If you're willing to explore and seek to find your purpose, you will be led to find it. And in finding it you will come to know what true fulfillment really feels like.