Defining Our Purpose

Sounds a little silly, right? I am in pursuit of something that I am yet to properly define. It is really important to understand the journey we are looking to embark upon, and where / what we are aiming for before we take those first strides.

purpose

noun

the intention, aim or function of something; the thing that something is supposed to achieve

The Oxford English Dictionary definition seemed a good place to start, but it leaves me with more questions than answers…

What am I supposed to achieve? How do I measure achievement?

What is my function / aim? How do I know when I have found my ‘function’?

What are my intentions? Are they sufficiently challenging and yet still realistic?

At what point does challenge become unrealistic?

And there you have it, an insight in to my thought process. Inquisitive and critical, methodical and frantic.

But if there is one thing I have learnt in recent times, it’s that it is ok to not have all the answers. If we did, life would be pretty damn boring! Part of this process is about discovery and learning.

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.

– Socrates (via Plato)

Just to be clear, I am not professing to be the wisest of humans – but I do think this quote is an important one to keep in mind. The thirst for knowledge, information and answers can lead to us feeling inadequate when faced with questions about ourselves, and our purpose. When the internal google search returns no results, it’s hard to feel anything but inadequate and incredibly frustrated.

It is ok to not have the answers to internal questions, but it is also important we keep asking them!

Can I define my purpose?

Yes! It isn’t always about knowing exactly where you are going to end up or even the precise journey you are going to undertake. All I need to define at this stage are the traits that will define success for me.

The chances are throughout this journey I will take several detours and the final destination will move more than once! So no, I don’t know where I want to end up, but I do know the traits I am looking for;

Happiness – to wake up each day looking forward to the upcoming 24 hours, either because I am doing something I love, or because I am moving towards doing something I love.

Pride – to have a deep sense of pride in my work and in myself as a human being & to know that I am being the best version of me that I can be.

Achievement – to be able to see the tangible output of my efforts in both work and life.

Fulfilment – to combine happiness, pride and achievement will deliver a sense of fulfilment.

It all sounds a bit cheesy & clichéd, doesn’t it? Well sometimes it’s good to be a bit cheesy! I said at the start of this post;

It is really important to understand the journey we are looking to embark upon, and where / what we are aiming for before we take those first strides.

I might not know the exact co-ordinates of the destination, nor the route or method of transport, but I certainly do understand the journey I am embarking upon, and what I am aiming for.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

– Lao Tzu

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