Over the years, I’ve watched movies and read books about transformation.
I’d watch all of these women have an a-ha! moment, and suddenly, whatever it was they had been searching for in their lives was discovered.
Naturally, I began to wonder what my own transformation might look like: Would I have one? Would I one day wake up to it?
Now, although I love investing emotionally in movies, I am always cognizant that they show the before and after quickly, never expounding upon the work that it takes to reach the end goal. Suddenly, the character is simply where they always wanted to be.
And I always recognized that this part was unrealistic.
But it was the how that always struck me.
How was I supposed to figure out what I wanted to be? How was I supposed to achieve it?
For so long, I knew that I wanted more, but I didn’t know what that “something more” was.
I had no idea because I had yet to discover my voice, because instead of exploring, I was thinking. And I got stuck believing that knowing was the answer.
And then, my a-ha! moment came – just not in the way that I thought it would.
A friend of mine read my cards, and she explained to me: “You can’t think your purpose. You feel your purpose.”
It was then that I let go of the thinking. Instead, I tapped into the feeling. And I witnessed an outcome vastly different from what I had expected.
Dive, Don’t Dwell
What I had been doing was dwelling in thought.
I was thinking too much, asking questions.
What am I good at? What should I do with my life? What can I do with my life?
But what I was doing was asking the wrong questions.Because none of them had anything to do with feeling.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, I offer this advice to you: Try asking different questions.
What do you want to feel like? What are words that describe the emotions you want to feel when you’re doing something?
Creative, energized, light, and inspired?
Listen to how your body reacts to words.
If you say “I want to feel creative,” is there an automatic smile on your face? A zap through your body?
Dive in to what you want to feel and write it down.
How Am I Good?
The next question I needed to ask was: What about me is good?
Not what am I good at, but what can I offer.
Because each of us (really!) is good. And what each of us offers is different.
So your next step is to identify your positive traits. What are your good qualities?
Admittedly, this can be hard to do.
To make it easier, you can think of it in a different way: If you asked a friend, what would they say about you?
Is it that you’re fun to be around? A good listener? Maybe you’re loyal and loving.
Try to stick with emotion-based words and phrases instead of concrete abilities like multitasking or grant writing.
Now, see if when you exhibit your goodness, you feel the feelings that you wanted to feel in step one.
Are you feeling creative, energetic, light, and inspired?
Seek out the experiences that bring out your unique qualities to see if you feel a zap.
What you might find is that it’s not an occupation – like being a lawyer or an artist – that gives you the feelings, but sharing your uniqueness and your voice that does.
Tap into that.
Letting Success Happen
After you’ve tapped into the feeling, what you might notice is how opportunities that weren’t there before seem to appear, or that you begin to connect with the people who appreciate and are grateful for your contributions.
And I’m not just talking about career opportunities. Your interest in the subject matter increases as well!
Once you get in tune with what makes you feel good, your curiosity and desire to know more will have you reading books, watching movies, replaying TED videos or clips on YouTube – just to get as much information as you can.
When this forward movement begins is when you know that you’ve found what your purpose is.
Because you’re doing what you love. And you love what you’re doing.
Can We Have More Than One Purpose?
When I was younger, people always asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.
The question was posed like one that not only had an easy answer, but also only one answer.
For so long, I said that I wanted to be a writer. But a couple of years ago, I realized that it no longer made me feel energetic, creative, and alive when I thought about it. So I wondered if maybe I wanted to be something different, like a dancer or choreographer.
Could I be something different?
I sat for a long time with this question. After years of identifying myself as one thing, could I actually be something else? Could I be more than one thing? Did I have to fit into a category a box?
I stopped writing for a while to figure out what it was I wanted to feel and if I could I feel this way doing something new. And what I learned was that not only could I have more than one purpose, I could be as many and as much as I wanted to be!
We are constantly in flux.
The person I am today is not really who I was two or three years ago, or even from the person I was last week.
I am constantly changing and growing. So wouldn’t it make sense for my purpose to change as well?
I would say that what makes me feel happy, energetic, alive, and creative may change, and also, how I want to feel can change as well. Maybe today you want to feel energetic, but in a year, you want calm. This could change your purpose. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
What I found was that figuring out what I want to do in life isn’t about thinking and doing. It’s about tapping into being.
Because purpose isn’t something concrete like a job.
Purpose is about finding the best outlet to share what’s good about you – who you are – with the world.
Cynthia Kane is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. Cynthia Kane is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. Over the last year and a half, she’s relearned the following: how to jump up and down when she’s happy, cry when she’s sad, laugh when something’s funny, take a compliment, smile at strangers, and be open to the fact that everyone is going through it all the time. For more, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @cynkane. Read her articles here.