Why? The incessant inquiry of a toddler, the back talk of a teenager, and the ongoing identity search of a twenty-something-year-old. In every stage, we question. We hope to find an answer, a deeper purpose, something that connects with our soul. And I believe we can.
The recent passing of Chadwick Boseman was tragic, but he left a legacy and a life well-lived for others to learn from. In his commencement address at Howard University, he stated: “Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill.”
So let’s uncover and discover together… our “essential element,” the reason for our existence, our “why.”
Finding Your Purpose Within
Our purpose is a significant part of our identity—and sometimes a struggle to truly pinpoint. Regular mental exercises such as positive talk or meditation can propel our thoughts into understanding our purpose. Contemplating your priorities and reflecting on the legacy you want to leave with the world are great starting points. Make a list of what you are passionate about and number by importance. Evaluate how you spend each hour of every day. Write your own eulogy. Whatever it is that will help you uncover your motivation and drive, start now. You have a light to share and a divine purpose to pursue.
Finding Your Purpose Through People
Recently, my little family moved into our first home…and just a couple weeks later, contracted the ugly virus COVID-19. We were down and out for nearly a month but were blessed with acts of service by our new neighbors and community. This was eye-opening to me. Strangers serving strangers. Yard work and meals and caring for our toddler. It made me want to be better.
Sometimes, our purpose finds us…in the old lady across the street needing some company or the co-worker asking for guidance on a project. Two souls connecting through a simple act of service, each growing a little brighter and a little closer. Gandhi taught us such a beautiful principle: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Connecting with people, especially through service, brings out the best in us.
Finding Your Purpose Can Change
Yep. That’s right. Our journey to discover our purpose isn’t just a one-time rollercoaster ride. Each new phase of life brings a fresh start to re-learn your “why.” Maybe you’re a new employee seeking to understand where you fit in and what you have to offer. Maybe you’ve started a new nonprofit and are trying to determine your outreach. Maybe you’re dating and feeling insecure in the relationship. Why? Why? Why?
Multiple times in my life—at very different stages—I’ve taken the time to write a personal mission statement. Reflecting on my passions and priorities has helped me focus my time and energy to fulfill my purpose. Each time, my statement changes…drastically. Because each day changes us.
So be prepared to feel a little uncertain about your purpose. That’s okay. Another chance to enjoy the ride and discover the core of you. Remember: change is constant. And your purpose is constantly changing.