It took me two years and almost giving up my own company to finally recognize the deeper purpose behind my work. Before then, I was only sure of two things I wanted: to help businesses give back by partnering with charities, and to assist others in creating meaning in their lives. But, it was never clear to me why I was so motivated to do that, and what the core of that mission would be.
The importance of finding our ultimate purpose is because it keeps us grounded when at times we feel we have lost our ambition. Even when you start a dream business and are flying high on being a girl-boss, the burn out can sneak up on you. Heck, I get to help make magic happen and change lives each day, but incredible as it is - I have days spent thinking, “I can’t talk to one more charity. I can’t help one more person. I’m just done.” I am not proud of those moments, but what pulls me through them is knowing that I have a deeper intention motivating me every day. That tomorrow, I will wake up again in hot pursuit of that same inner calling. For me, that purpose is helping leaders realize their dreams.
Ultimately discovering this was certainly not easy. There was a process I followed to the uncovering of it all that I hope will help you along your search too:
Give yourself time for the pattern behind your purpose to reveal itself.
I took the approach of making a continuous list of answers to the question, “what else can you do that may work in the direction of your dream?”. Don’t stop until the list ends, and challenge yourself when it does. Keep adding to it indefinitely.
Allow yourself to be abstract.
Broad missions are still real missions. Mine is about helping people live their dreams, and I know how general and abstract it is, but in fact, it’s a good thing. This broadness allows me to take so many different directions. Whether it’s via my company or something else, as long as it moves me towards this goal, then it will be something that feels meaningful to me. There is no right answer for how you pursue purpose – it’s a vision and feeling that you focus on, and go after.
Know that your purpose can change.
Yes, why you do what you do may change as you change. I thought I wanted to help people when I started my business, and then I realized that it was less about just being helpful and more about making a big picture dream become tangible. The more I wander towards this, the more I have been able to shape my message and bring on clients that jive with my goal. It is exactly what refinement is for - the constant little tweaks that make you and your business better and better.
As you journey through the process of uncovering what you’re meant to do, go easy on yourself. I know firsthand how damaging it is to hold yourself to permanence and legalistic standards that put you in a box (hello, I’m extremely Type A). Life is just not this way though. We grow and change, which is precisely what the theme of Wander is all about - search and discovery. It means learning, getting lost, and being flexible along the way. You’ll land just where you need to be.
Photos by: Amanda Christine Studio