So when I was asked by a client “how do I want to find my purpose?”, I wanted to shout “HELP!!!”
I mean how do I begin to answer a question like this?! So of course, I asked friends and got a wide variety of answers back. From “just listen to and follow your heart” to “I have no clue what ‘purpose’ is or how to find it.” So helpful?!
So I decided the best thing to do is to tell you how I found my purpose. It may not be how you find your purpose, but there may be some similarities in both our stories.
I want to add this disclaimer: it’s okay if you haven’t found your purpose in life yet. Just be patient, pay attention to the clues and what’s meant to come, will. How I found my purpose was very cliché – it came to me in a dream. I know, I know…very cheesy lol!
Actually, I’ve always known that I had a talent to listen and help people. And when I say listen, I mean I was actively listening before I knew what it was. For those who don’t already know what active listening is, it is “a communication technique used in counselling, coaching, training, and conflict resolution. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, reflect and respond to what is being said.”
Being an active listener has great side-effects: problem-solving, being compassionate, empathic and loving. However, there are also not-so-great side-effects: taking on other people’s problems as my own which can be physically and emotionally draining – a real energy-zapper.
When I was younger I understood what my gift was, but had absolutely no idea how to use it?! I mean, it wasn’t a recognised talent like being smart, creative or artistic.
I was told that I’d be a great teacher, and being young, I took this literally, as in being a schoolteacher. Although I have the utmost respect for schoolteachers and the work they do, I never felt it was my calling.
With my talent, I knew I had to work somewhere I could interact with people. So at the grand old age of 25, I decided to pursue a career in Events Management – it would definitely involve working with people and I was providing my clients with a service so I was helping them…kinda.
So I got my first, second then third job in Events Management and did enjoy it. I met all different kinds of people, worked on a variety of different events (some very glamourous), travelled all over the country, enjoyed many perks and, although the money wasn’t anything special, it was decent. But it just wasn’t fulfilling. I felt lost, but didn’t understand why.
I later figured out that this was because I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. So I began looking for clarity and guidance, and it came in the form of a lady called Sue*. When I first met Sue* I wasn’t sure what to make of her. She is essentially a lady who helps you figure out your life’s path. I actually went to see her to help me figure out what to do about a bad bad bad relationship I was in at the time (and yes, it was that bad). We spent some time talking about my relationship then things took an expected turn and she started asking about my work. She said that she didn’t know how to explain it, but she could see me being “something like a teacher who helps people”. I remember thinking “okaaaay, but I don’t want to be a teacher.” So I politely nodded and we moved on. So the seed had been planted.
Then came the dream. About a month or so later, I literally woke up from a dream and I knew I wanted to be a Life Coach. The words rang out in my ears “like a teacher who helps people”. I was ecstatic, I finally knew how to use my gift – it finally made sense. I had found my purpose.
Then came the uphill struggle of studying to be a Life Coach. I thought it would be a breeze. I mean, I’d been helping people with their problems all my life – it’s what I do. What I didn’t realise is that becoming a Life Coach would mean that I would have to work on myself first. I couldn’t help people without helping myself first. But what I didn’t realise how scary and challenging it would be, or that would be a lifelong effort. Great?!
I’m going to be honest, there have been false starts and I thought about giving up many times, but when something is inside of you, no matter how much you want to ignore it and just live a ‘normal’ life, the urge to pursue your calling never leaves. It’s the pink elephant in the room parading around wearing an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini begging you to take notice. And yes, my purpose is always that vivid in my mind especially when I’m not pursuing it.
In the end, I realised that I had to face my fears and follow my purpose.
My purpose is simply to help others to be the best versions of themselves, and I do this in a variety of ways including running coaching/mentoring events, volunteering, donating to charity, helping out my family, friends and sometimes even perfect strangers.
Now, when I think about how I found my purpose, it always comes back to doing the things that come me to naturally: actively listening; facilitating conversations within a safe environment, and doing the things I love: trying new things; meeting new people; growing and learning; helping people; having great conversations with great people.
Starting from today, I dare you to do things that excite you no matter how scary they seem.
And maybe, just maybe, by doing this, you will find your purpose. If not, at least, you live a beautiful adventurous life.