Is purpose something you simply “find”?

In interviews and everyday life, people often ask if I’ve “found my purpose” in my work with HeartStories.

I don’t know where this lands in the Ennegram or other tests, but I’m a person who needs a reason, a purpose, behind why I’m investing my time into everything I do.  I would say I’m very competitive, but it’s more of an internal drive of passion than an external measure of competition.  I need to do the thing I set out to do, whether anyone else, applauds it, sees it, or even cares.

In fact, the founding tenants of HeartStories have always been “connecting women to inspire joy and the courage to pursue your purpose”. 

Even in that, there is an implication that purpose is a singular thing, you inherently understand.  Or it’s something you’ve worked hard to discover.  As I’ve grown as a person, I realize now, more than ever that purpose exists for all of us in different ways at different times.  And maybe even more importantly, it is something we decide to believe.  It’s the story we chose to believe about why we do the things we do.

Getting clear about what you mean by “purpose” helps you find it and leverage it in your life.

An interesting article I read recently, by John Coleman for the Harvard Business Review, he offers advice on how to consciously endow your life and work with purpose regardless of your profession based on three misconceptions he hears most often around the idea of purpose.  He says:

“How do you find your purpose? That’s the wrong question to ask. We should be looking to endow everything we do with purpose, to allow for the multiple sources of meaning that will naturally develop in our lives, and to be comfortable with those changing over time.

Misconception #1: Purpose is only a thing you find: for most people, purpose is built not found. Working with a sense of purpose day-in and day-out is an act of will that takes thoughtfulness and practice.  Almost any work can possess remarkable purpose.

Misconception #2: Purpose is a single thing: there are multiple sources of meaning that helps us find value in our work and lives, which takes the pressure off finding a single thing to give our lives meaning.

Misconception #3: Purpose is stable over time: This evolution in our sources of purpose isn’t flaky or demonstrative of a lack of commitment, but natural and good. Just as we all find meaning in multiple places, the sources of that meaning can and do change over time.

I “find” purpose in many areas of my life, and I need to conjure the story in other areas. 

For me, it’s more difficult to “find purpose” in hours of homework.  I constantly have to tell myself the story of why I’m training them to do it, and not just doing it myself!  But it’s easy to find purpose in my faith, loving my family, and certainly in my work.  There’s a reason I show up every day to write.  There’s a reason I keep showing up to host our monthly women’s events.  There’s a reason I tell stories of women who are pursuing purpose and passion in their work and lives.  There’s a reason I’ve built this platform and hand them the mic to tell their own stories, like Laura above.  There’s a reason I host a mastermind for other business owners.  There is a “why” behind all of it, and it’s constantly evolving.

Have I found my purpose through HeartStories?

Yes!  Of course.  There is clearly so much meaning and purpose for me and others here.  But it’s the story about deriving meaning from our work, rather than expecting it to show up on a white horse or a silver platter with beaming light from above, that drives that for all of us on the HeartStories team.  It’s the decision that we are passionate about this thing we do.  It’s not about counting glasses, picking linens, ordering fancy food and wine, or collecting raffle prizes each month.

It’s about why we do all those things.

It’s about the women we seek to serve and the reason we serve them. It’s about creating a safe space, a refuge from their busy lives.  Once a month, we set the table, so they don’t have to.  Once a month, we provide the means for laughter, joy, connection, inspiration, and important conversations.  That’s the purpose I find in my work with HeartStories.

Where are some of the places you find purpose easily? 

Where does it take a little more work and storytelling to “find” your purpose?

I’m convinced life is a mix of both. 

What about you?

to more love,

Crystal

p.s. There’s so much purpose and meaning infused into each of our Girls Night Outs, but next week?  It’s overflowing with life and purpose!  Check it out right here.  

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