When we can achieve congruence between our purpose and our actions, it’s a winning formula. It’s a great place to come from and provides an easy reference point. If we don’t, we risk a life of endless wheel spinning.
You might find that finding your purpose is easier than you think. You can learn how to find your purpose. Here’s how I found mine…
What is my purpose?
It was one of those sweltering, humid Durban days as I strolled back home from school. I was seven years old. It was 1975. Apartheid South Africa was in full swing.
I walked up the hill, crossed Innes Road and walk up our road, Venice Road. At first, I couldn’t place the sound, alien in the humdrum of my day-to-day suburban life. Singing and pounding.
I rounded the corner and saw about twenty Zulu men digging a ditch. They were singing and chanting, as they dug and pounded in rhythm with pick-axes. These sweating, working, bare-chested men.
I wandered into the house. It was quiet and cool. I closed the door and said hello to my dad who was walking down the stairs, and strolled into the kitchen to see my mum who was doing some baking.
Then it hit me, something is not right here. Why was it that these men were sweating and toiling and my parents were not? Why was it that, as far as I could see, the people with dark skin worked hard and had hard lives and us -the light-skinned people – didn’t work so hard and had easy lives?
“Please can we take some drink to those men out there, it’s not fair and it’s not right,” I said to my mother, which she agreed to. Ten minutes later, I walked out to the group of men, with a tray of lemonade and glasses.
I looked up at the expressions on the faces of those men: laughter, gratitude and appreciation; I can see it as if it were yesterday.
In that moment, I made a decision, the type of decision that indomitably-spirited seven year olds make. My purpose was born, my ‘why’ was created: I am going to make the world a better, fairer, more loving place.
It took years after that event to find my purpose. It’s a process, but when you find it, you feel it, and you know you are home.
How to find your purpose
What’s your why, your purpose?
It’s taken me a long time and much work to get mine. It’s fine if you don’t know, because it’s a journey.
Here are two questions that might be useful to you:
- What do you feel strongly about?
- When you think back on your childhood, what is the first and strongest memory you remember having?
Write down your answers and you will begin the process of learning how to find your purpose in life.
For more inspiration, tools and encouragement, sign up to my e-newsletter and receive my free eBook on ‘The Art of Courage’
If you are interested in signing up for my Courageous Public Speaking Course, go here.