What Makes You Uniquely YOU?
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies and Stress Management Coaching
"If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose."
~ Bishop T.D. Jakes
Around the age of 40, I started wondering, "So, is this all there is?" I had begun to feel like I was drifting in my life. I felt I didn't have a real sense of purpose. It occurs to me that at some stage in our lives, whether it's 30, 40, or 50, just about everyone asks that question. "Is this all there is?"
And the reason for the question is that something is missing.
Some sense of purpose or reason for being isn't there. At least that was my experience. By 40, I was pretty sure that the marriage train had left me at the station because I was still single. And it was also by 40 that it became clear that I wouldn't be experiencing motherhood, either. So I will admit that I was a little depressed about that for a while.
But I wasn't brave enough to try having a child on my own without a partner. And I had never really felt that clock ticking until I knew it was too late. As it turned out, I did get on the marriage train a few years later. But in the end, that wasn't such a great idea. The point is that I went through a phase when I didn't feel I had a real purpose in life.
And that made me sad.
It wasn't until later that I decided on what would have to substitute for not having a partner (yet) or a family of my own. So I became active in my local education association. That activity led to my ultimately becoming president of the state affiliate.
There was a definite purpose to my work as an advocate for my fellow teachers. I became the "go-to" person for my colleagues. I went to all the school board meetings, so I was "in the know" about their decisions.
I found a new purpose for myself. And it made me happy.
If you've ever asked anyone how they found their purpose, you've probably heard the advice, "follow your passion." Everyone is passionate about something. We might be passionate about a hobby, a political view, a religious affiliation, etc. Your passion might be your family or your work. You may find passion in helping others, caring for children, preserving the earth, or caring for animals.
I found passion in standing up for my students and fellow educators. I became a fierce advocate. I became knowledgeable, and I became a leader at the local, district, and state levels. It turns out that I am better at standing up for others than I am for myself. But at least I found my passion. And out of that came a new sense of purpose.
Your passions can help you find a deeper purpose in life.
Passion and purpose may even be the same thing, but not necessarily. Following your heart--your passion--has its benefits and can change your life by including:
· More joy and happiness
· A sense of magic in your life
· Greater success at all levels of life
· Healthier relationships
· Less fear, worry, stress, and anxiety
· Being okay with life's ups and downs
· More frequent opportunities
Passion and purpose are distinct parts of creating a sense of fulfillment in life. Passion is about emotion, motivation, and what makes you feel good. It's the "do what you love" part of the equation.
On the other hand, purpose is the reason or "the why" behind what we do for ourselves and others. It's the "do what contributes" part of the equation.
Passion can be wild and exciting. Purpose is focused and intent.
Passions come and go, while purpose tends to be for the long term.
Passions are focused inward while your purpose is focused outward.
This is not to say that your passions cannot be a part of your purpose. As with my own experience, my passion for advocacy led to my sense of purpose in my association work.
When you are passionate about what you do, and it aligns with your purpose, you are more likely to feel fulfilled. In fact, aligning your passions, talents, and purpose is critical to long-term happiness.
Passions are generally easy to identify. And sometimes, they help to identify your purpose. But other times, you need to explore your passions to find a deeper purpose. For example, maybe you're doing something you love, but it isn't fulfilling because it isn't your true purpose.
In that case, you have to begin digging deeper into your gifts, your values, and what you want to contribute to the world. This post will hopefully lead you through the process of reflecting and coming up with your passions. It is meant to help you define your more profound purpose.
Harness Your Passion
"Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~ Harriet Tubman
Have you ever met or heard of someone who has an unusual passion? Maybe it's cave digging like sculptor Ra Paulette, who digs caves by hand, shaping them into works of art.
Perhaps you heard of a unicycle-riding actress like Leslie Mann. Each of these passions may appear to be hobbies. But what if they were connected to their true purpose?
Cave digger Paulette is changing the way people view art. That's his purpose: using his talent and passion for art and sculpting to bring beauty and awareness to others. On the other hand, unicycle riding isn't Leslie Mann's purpose. It's simply a passionate hobby.
How do you know the difference?
· You love what you do, and you do it with enthusiasm.
· You are passionate about it, almost to the point of obsession.
· It consumes you during your waking hours, and you even dream of it.
· You're excited to meet the challenges of the day.
· You feel like a kid.
· You talk about your passion to everyone.
Harnessing your passion can change your life and the lives of others around you. It makes your life exciting and inspires those you work with.
But, to harness your passion for a deeper purpose, you need to know what that passion is.
You can find it by:
Listening to yourself. Most people go through the motions of their day.
To tap into your passion, you need to know what you want. Slow down long enough to spot the clues about what excites you and makes your heart sing. Listen to what makes you dream. Then, ask yourself these questions to help you identify your life passion.
1. If you never had to work again, how would you spend your time?
2. What are your natural talents, gifts, and skills?
3. What would you never give up on for anything?
4. What do others ask you about?
5. Think about the hobbies you've had over the years. Why did you choose those?
6. What is something you do better than anything else?
7. What makes you curious?
Take your time.
It takes time to pursue your passions. If you want something different from what you currently have, you have to get uncomfortable and step into areas that aren't familiar to you. Pay the price to be able to follow your purpose. That means sacrificing some things while you pursue your dream. So prepare to pay some sacrifice that will be worth it.
Become the best you can be at your passion.
Develop the skill you need for your passion to be your best at it. Finding and developing your passion leads to living your purpose and being fulfilled. Passionate people are relentless, and they are visionaries. So follow your passions and find ways to use them to light up your life in all forms.
Are you struggling with finding your own passion and purpose in life? Do you feel stuck?
If so, join me for a free workshop on "How to Find Your Passion and Purpose," Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 7:00 PM EST.
I hope to see you there!