Six Steps for Pursuing Purpose

Each of us has a special purpose or mission, and I have been in search of mine since I was a child. From childhood until my early twenties, I suspected my mission was to go into the ministry. When the other boys were playing cowboys and Indians, I was dressed in long robes building altars, and as a young adult I would lie on my bed for hours praying to God for a sign. One never came.

For most of us, purpose is not something that is revealed through a burning bush. Instead, we stumble onto our life's purpose. An impulse may lead us to a new place, and that new place leads us towards another, until eventually we find a spot that feels right.

This spot is our purpose, and it often turns out to be a place we never considered or envisioned. There are hundreds of books available on how to "mine" mission, and they tout a wide variety of methods including journaling, art, and creative visualization. But in my experience, it's hard to extract purpose.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to pursue purpose. It finds us - and only when we are ready. I now believe purpose unfolds as we unfold and that purpose is intricately tied to living an authentic life, for only when we live authentically can/does purpose reveal itself. There is no formula for discovering purpose that works for everyone, but these six steps helped me.

Perhaps they will help you too. One: Discover authenticity through self-discovery. I am still searching for authentic self; it's a lifelong process. Still, at no time in my life have I felt closer to my authentic self than I am now.

For example, I am just now beginning to distinguish my wants and needs from parental expectations. Two: Live an authentic life. Never before has my life so clearly reflected my true Self. I am not as afraid to show people who I am, and I do fewer things to gain others' approval and more things that bring me pleasure.

Three: Listen. The root of the word vocation is vox (Latin for voice). To find our true vocation, we have to listen to our inner voice. I pay attention to day and nighttime dreams, intuition, energy level, emotions, and my body. Oprah once wrote in her magazine of the same name, "If you pay attention to these cues -- to the times you've felt most joyous, most fully engaged, most connected to yourself and others - you'll always be guided to the next best place.

" Four: Act. Inventor, designer, and philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller is quoted in Lucia Capacchione's book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, as saying, "What you actually do within twenty-four hours of having a creative idea will spell the difference between success and failure.

" To dream is not enough, we have to do something with the dream. For me, doing starts by putting the idea in writing. Every year, I write a business plan, and I revised it whenever I get a new idea. I add a new goal along with the action steps to implement it. Five: Remain open.

Not only do we have to do something with our dreams, we have to be open and not tied to a particular outcome. We have to surrender, and we have to trust. I have found that finding purpose is often a circuitous route; one path leads to another, and failures often lead to ultimate success. Six: Be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues.

I have to remember the story of Jake McCord, an outsider artist who lives in Thomson, Georgia. After finishing a painting, Jake places it in his front yard to "season." When eager collectors try to buy one of these pieces from the yard, Jake says firmly, "It ain't ready yet." Jake knows not to rush it; when the time is right, it is right. The same is true for purpose; we have to be patient and remember, "It ain't ready yet.

" Sometimes I feel I am living my mission, and at other times I feel I am not. Five years ago, I wrote a personal philosophy: "To know yourself is to know God, and to share yourself is to serve Him/Her." Since then, I have strived to live my philosophy through writing, teaching, coaching, and speaking. Still, sometimes something seems to be missing, and I have to ask, "Am I fulfilling my mission right now or still waiting for the burning bush?" I hope that in this moment I am fulfilling my mission to the best of my ability, and at the same time, I hope I am staying open to all the possibilities.

"The Career Engineer," Randy Siegel, helps clients electrify their careers and transform their lives by becoming high voltage communicators?. Subscribe to "Stand in Your Power!" his eNewsletter at

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