The importance of our individual purpose here on earth has been identified since the beginning of human thought. It is referred to as ‘dharma’ in the ancient Indian text the Bhagavad Gita and today it is recognised in the most respected human development research as the key to motivation and fulfilment.
Don’t worry if you don’t know your purpose.
The very fact that you are reading this is a sign that you are open to discovering it and that it will become clear to you. The following points will help you realise when you are on the track that will change your life.
Your purpose goes beyond you to help other people, animals, plants, the eco-system, solar system… This is the key differentiator between a means of getting by or a vehicle for the ego and a true purpose. If it is clear to you how you are working for a cause bigger than yourself and that through this work you get a sense of the huge intelligence supporting you, you are living your purpose on earth.
It’s magically easy. You have a deep sense of flow when you are doing this. You notice that your mind is switching off and you are simply a transmitter or a channel for a higher knowledge. You have no idea how you know to do the things you do at exactly the right time in exactly the right way and over time you trust this innate wisdom more and more.
It’s really difficult. This is the interesting one. I have many clients who come to me to help them with an obstacle to doing something. Often that obstacle is a really challenging one like public speaking phobia or artist’s block and yet there is no question in the client’s mind of changing direction so that the obstacle is no longer an issue. A client I saw recently for public speaking phobia said, “I should just get a job as a writer so that I never have to see anyone”. It was clear in the way he said it that he wouldn’t do this in a million years. I asked him what he saw herself doing in 5 years time. Without hesitation he replied ‘Speaking to thousands of people about my work’. It is as if getting through the block itself, and all the learning and determination that entails, is somehow part of the purpose. An obstacle that you know in your heart you must overcome, is a very real indicator of what you are here to do.
It energises you. I love watching American comedies but after I’ve seen 3 or 4 episodes in a row I feel heavy and stuck and dull. On the other hand, I could coach people over and over and over again. I could write and read and watch about coaching without end. Each time I do, I have a new insight or perspective and I feel a new sense of aliveness and excitement. It’s how I know my purpose on earth is to coach in some way. Watching comedies is a fun past time. It is not my purpose.
You don’t care about status, respect or being right. You are just hungry to learn everything you can and give as much as you can. You are intrigued if someone disagrees with you because you could gain a new perspective. These are the some of the clear indications that what you are doing goes way beyond being a vehicle for your own self importance.
You don’t care about the money. You would do it for free, you do do it for free, and also you can see that earning money from it will allow you to take your gift more and more widely. The more you live in your purpose, the more people you serve, the more money flows to you for anything you need in order to continue doing what you do.
It combines many of the things you love doing. There is real pleasure. You feel alive and part of the world. When many of the things you love doing contribute to the way you can serve the world your life takes off into a whole new universe of pleasure and fulfilment.
You are creating your own path. You are learning from others, being mentored and at the same time you are developing your own unique interpretation. There is real freedom in what you are doing. I had a client who came to me because she was caught between going all out for a corporate strategy career and following her passion to help charities. She adored pop music and spent all her spare time going to concerts and supporting certain singers but dismissed this as something absolutely not relevant to the discussion. Five minutes before the end of our session she suddenly said completely out of the blue and with absolute conviction, “I’m going to get a job advising singers on their charitable strategy”. A unique calling that thanks to her three distinct areas of interest she is beautifully qualified for.
Decisions are made simply on the basis that it feels right or feels wrong. Pros and cons sheets become irrelevant. I worked with a client once on a decision whether to take a new job or not. At the end of the session he said, “It is very clear that there are many good reasons not to take the job.” Then, after a long pause, “I’m going to take it.” When a job, or a move, or a change is part of your purpose, the reasons not to do it always sort themselves out.
The world wants to see you do it. You have comments about how you were born to do this. Doors open for you. People help you. Living things flourish around you. Money comes to you when you need it. You laugh and the world laughs with you. You do your thing and the world thanks you.
(I have changed some details so as not to identify individual clients)