I love conducting surveys to get the “pulse” of my virtual community. It’s important to me to know who my readers are, what they are focused on and what their biggest challenges are as I create programs and write blog posts to meet their needs.
In my most recent survey, one of the questions asked “What are the biggest challenges holding you back from living a purpose-filled life?” The answers I received are so consistent with every survey I’ve done over the past five years, with the top three being
- Lack of purpose/direction
In a previous article, I wrote about the two major components of self-doubt, perfectionism and fear. For strategies to deal with those big challenges, click here.
Today, I’d like to share three steps to discovering your purpose, which gives you direction in life like a GPS. If you know your life’s calling and allow it to drive everything you do, the fear and overwhelm diminish. Embracing the unique gifts, strengths, personality traits and values you were given to live out your purpose gives you freedom from perfectionism, as you can finally just be you.
Spend some quiet time for reflection and visioning.
- Think back on your adult life, and make a list of the times you were most fulfilled. What were you doing and who were you serving? When did you walk away from a presentation, project, job, interaction or volunteer opportunity and thought “Wow, I really did a great job!”
- Make an inventory of the gifts, skills and values that you know are unique. What do people compliment you on? What do you feel especially proud of? What sets you apart from others?
If you have trouble patting yourself on the back, ask others for their input. Send an email or text to 10-15 friends from different areas of your life and ask them “When you hear my name, what are the first words that come to your mind?” Sounds a bit scary, but their answers will be very consistent because you can’t help but be who you really are! Your unique traits were woven into your DNA when God created you, and they are what you live out on a daily basis.
- Complete this statement: If I knew I would not fail, in five years I would be…….
This is a time when your deepest heart’s desires will come out, and your true calling will emerge. What is most important to you? Who do you want to serve? Which of those unique traits will you use to support your purpose?
When God created you, He placed within you a purpose. You are meant to honor Him by using the gifts He lovingly created within you as you live according to what He planned, not what the world demands.
I was a very “late bloomer,” and did not become a solo-entrepreneur until age 53. When my youngest child left for college, I knew I still had some good years left in me, and I wanted to do something meaningful. I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone , taking an idea I had for a website and implementing it with the help of a marketing coach. I worked tirelessly for a year, focused on numbers, website traffic and managing an editorial calendar with seven contributing writers. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong journey. I hadn’t started with the “why.” Instead, I was idea-driven, following what others thought was a brilliant idea.
At the end of that first year, I was exhausted. I wasn’t sure I was on the right path, and had to hit the pause button to do my own reflecting, praying and visioning. During that time, God revealed to me that I was playing too small and not fully using the gifts He had given me. I also read several books by the gurus of success, and every one of them said that, to be truly successful, you must first know your life’s purpose. That was a new concept for me, and it totally changed my life.
Now, everything I do is focused on my life purpose: to inspire passion and joy. I am currently living out that purpose as a Christian Life Purpose Coach, inspiring and equipping women to flourish from the inside out. I align my work, my personal life and my volunteer service with my purpose and I have never been more fulfilled. The best part is that I am seeking only to please God, not the world, with my success.
If you are struggling with lack of purpose, I’d love to guide you through a deeper process of self-discovery and renewal, just as I have done for so many other women. Check out the three options I have for you here.
Whatever you do, don’t allow fear, perfectionism and lack of purpose hold you back from living a meaningful, joy-filled life. God created you to shine! It’s time to let your full brilliance radiate to the world.