Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are You Living Your Purpose?

Over the weekend I attended a great communication workshop, and our first task as participants was to introduce ourselves by answering the following questions:
1.  What is your name?
2.  What is your passion?
3.  What is your main strength?

I thought this was a brilliant exercise because it forced people to do a quick self-evaluation---sort of a "first-thing-that-pops-into-your-head" kind of assessment of who they are. And while my responses to the first two items were predictable (especially the name part), what I blurted out as my main strength surprised me a bit. I thought to myself, "That's probably not right---I'll have to think about that..." But interestingly, as the day progressed, I came to realize that my first impression was right-on, and that these three questions seemed to be the key to understanding one's life purpose(s).

Let's take a closer look.

Your Name:  Even if you have a common name, when you introduce yourself, you are expressing an individual, one-of-a-kind energy signature. Who you are and exactly what you came here to do cannot be duplicated by anyone else in the universe. You and your life purpose are unique.

Your Passion:  What do you love to do? What were your interests as a child? What is your dream? How would you spend your time if you didn't have to worry about earning a living, taking care of others, or living up to someone else's expectations of you? One's life purpose must contain some element of passion, even if it feels conflicted, like, "I paint because I must." If you're not passionate about what you're doing, then it's probably not your highest purpose for being on this planet.
(Note: if you are most passionate about drugs, alcohol, porn, or another compulsive behavior, this is most certainly masking your true passion from expressing itself).

Your main Strength:  We all have multiple strengths. You may be creative, kind, talented, intelligent, and playful, but if you had to pick one of these, which would it be? If you polled your friends and family members, what would they say? This is key to understanding your life purpose, because fulfilling it requires great competence in at least one area of your life. (And this exceptional trait may be unacknowledged by you, such as possessing the ability to put people at ease or lift their spirits just by being in your presence). So, if you flunked 6th grade math, your life purpose probably doesn't entail becoming an astrophysicist, even if your father and grandfather are astrophysicists who hope you will follow in their footsteps!

When you recognize yourself as a unique being with specialized desires and abilities, it only makes sense that your life purpose would follow. However, so often we take for granted what we love and are good at because we think that being successful demands that we master something difficult---something that we see others doing, and admire. Maybe we think, "What I do is so easy, anyone could do it," or, "That's what I do for fun; a career involves hard work." And all too often we let parents, teachers, or other outside forces dictate what direction we take in life, and then spend years daydreaming of what we'd really like to be doing.

And so I ask you, 
What's your name?
What's your passion?
What's your main strength?