Purpose is Like an Arrow…and a Map

With sincerest apologies for the lack of a witty anecdote. Sometimes you just have to jump in and say what you say. But I have made a pretty picture. Okay, a sketch. Never mind. Just nod and smile. Thanks.

2014-09-24 11.41.58

For as long as I have had any intentionality about my conversations, I have been interested in helping people become better versions of themselves – encouraging them to get through the tough times, find what they’re good at, learn life lessons and so on. People tell me they don’t know what they want to do with their lives, and twenty minutes later they have a fire in their belly and an idea to pursue. You may not think you know what to do with your life, but quite frequently, you do. It’s like a map that you’ve been looking at upside down. You just need to turn it the right way round. Once you have the orientation right, and you can see where you are, it becomes easier to work out where you want to go.

Purpose is also like an arrow. It is more than just actions (the triangle in my picture), it is more than just thinking (the rectangle in my picture). The arrow comes from applying the thinking to the action. Don’t just do for the sake of doing. Don’t just think – it will never take you anywhere.

If you’re looking for your purpose, think about your passions and your problems. Think about the things that you would love to do, if neither time nor money was an object. The compliments that have been paid to you that really melted your heart. These point to your passions in a positive sense – the things that motivate you and reward you. It seems logical that your passions, the things that excite you, would be signposts towards your purpose, that area of influence  for which you were created.

But there are equally valid pointers from our reactions to the negatives of life. I hope I am not the only person on the planet to be absolutely heartbroken by something and have most other people raise their eyebrows as if to say, what’s your problem? Hurts and problems that affect the heart deeply, that wound us in a way that makes us think that we will never breathe properly again, are also pointers to that for which we were created. If we can progress beyond the pain of our response, if we can ask ourselves why we feel like this, why does this matter so much, we can reach a greater understanding of our purpose. (If anybody knows a quick way to do this, please let me in on the secret.)

Incidentally, I tried this little exercise on myself, asking these questions. Which is why I am writing along the theme of purpose. I also tried it on The Dude, and am very excited where that journey will be taking us.

People matter. Purpose matters. You matter.


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