When people contemplate their purpose for life, many times they make the mistake of describing it to close friends and family just to get their input.
It kind of makes sense, in a way. Those people intimately know you and are familiar with your strengths and weaknesses. Naturally, they would be a good sounding board.
Yet, that’s often were purpose goes to die.
These “trusted advisors” tell you it’s not a practical idea, you can’t make money doing that or you don’t have the skill, talent, training, intelligence, smarts, money or discipline to carry it out and see it through. Then, the purpose-driven dreamer slinks away to a chorus of snickers or guffaws, never enjoying life to the full by pursuing the very thing God created them to do.
So, they go on working at a job that doesn’t motivate them or, if they’re retired, return to their golf games, fishing spots and pickleball matches. Years later, with an occasional sigh, they wonder “what if I had worked on that idea?”
Amanda Owen, writing for the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, described why it can be challenging for people to find and pursue a specific purpose. It’s especially challenging to keep motivated when obstacles seem to block your way forward.
Are challenges a sign you shouldn’t be doing something or is it Satan, your lifelong enemy, playing mind games with you in hopes you’ll abandon your purpose? In March, Amanda wrote that she had to pause, catch her breath and remind herself of the ‘why’ behind her mission.
When you face challenges, many times you have to endure a chorus of “I told you so” messages coming from the very people who tried to discourage you from walking toward your dream in the first place.
For Amanda, maintaining that momentum requires her to pause and ask some important questions:
- What sets my soul on fire?
- What fuels me and gets me out of bed every day?
- What goal am I working toward every day?
- What impact do I want to make?
For her, it’s an organization she founded called Puzzle Pieces that helps creates opportunities and stronger communities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, like her brother experienced. It was an ideal purpose for Amanda. She not only helped care for her brother, but she witnessed how others acted around him. It broke her heart, so Amanda turned her pain into purpose.
That doesn’t mean everything was sunshine and unicorns. But her “why” served as fuel to keep Amanda’s purpose on fire even when storms threatened to snuff it out.
“Because I know the answers to those questions, I am able to take the difficult times, the knock-the-wind-out-of-me moments, and see those as blessings,” she wrote.
Amanda sensed her purpose early in life. However, she admits she knows people who are decades into a career, but still haven’t found their “why.” She also makes some astute observations that may help others discover their mission.
First, purpose doesn’t have to align with a specific cause — and that includes parenting. Raising children can be a big part of a parent’s purpose, but kids don’t have to be the center of it, Amanda explained.
“Your purpose doesn’t have to be what feels good to everybody else or what you think others see in you. It’s what fuels you, what makes you wake up every day, ready to take on the world. It’s living a life that brings you joy,” she added.
“Stop being scared or worried about other people’s opinions, permission or validation,” said Amanda. “Invest the time in yourself to align your life around a purpose that fuels you.”
The full story is available at the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.
To connect with Amanda and learn more about the Puzzle Pieces organization that fuels her purpose, visit www.piecesofme.org.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.