The 6th of my 7 Essential Truths is "Your life purpose is your North Star on your journey," and it feels right to share this with you as we move forward into the summer, possibly resting for a while and looking at our lives in perspective.
This truth is about, “What are you doing on the planet? Why are you here?” and the practice is: Keep your eye on the ball. As you start to understand and realize who you really are, the next obvious question that you’ll probably continue to ask yourself along your journey is “What am I doing here? Am I moving towards anything? And what does that mean?”
I think it’s important here to pause and ask yourself that very question, “Where am I? What am I doing and why?” The first thing that comes forward for most of us is that what we’re doing is usually motivated from a wound. I’ll explain that. Who I am being today, my false self, who I’m not, is being or doing something as a result of something I learned as a kid. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up. My mother wants me to be this. My father wants me to be that. If I’m in real estate, I’ll make a lot of money.” The choices we make are typically coming out of a survival mode, which is not who we are.
Yes, we have to survive on the planet. Absolutely. Right here is a good place to bring forward a statistic that’s pretty staggering: Thirty million people today suffer from anxiety disorders. Another thirty million suffer from depression. In my 20+ years of working with people, myself most intimately, I can link this directly to not knowing who I am and not knowing what I’m doing here.
When I found out who I was, that was the first part of the journey. Then, if I don’t know why I’m here, that’s the other part. We need to know. It’s just the way we’re wired. “Why am I here? What are my special gifts?” We all want to make a contribution. Most of us don’t get beyond survival, so we go back to spinning the story of who our parents want us to be or who we feel we have to be in order to survive. So for most people, this feels like a luxury, inquiring about life purpose, but it’s critical. It’ll make the difference between getting out of bed because you have to, versus because you want to. How do you find out? Simply ask the question, “What am I doing here?” Another thing to notice is the things that already attract you. “Wow, I notice that I’m continually drawn to working with people.” You’re service-oriented. Or perhaps you’re good with your hands.
Another really great question to ask is “When do I feel most alive?” Go inside and start to notice. It could be something as simple as, “I notice my body expands when I’m outside.” You might want to keep a log; see if maybe your life purpose isn’t a consistent behavior. There are plenty of things you can do on the planet—let yourself have them all and write them down. Notice what you love, what makes you feel alive, what makes you feel good about who you are, and continue towards those things, not excluding what we need to do to take care of ourselves.