Shelley Bridgman - blog

Is Finding Your Purpose a Self-Help Cliché?

More words are written about purpose than almost any other topic in the personal development/self-help movement. 

Some commentators simplify purpose down to finding the right vocation. Others make the spiritual connection.

Finding Nirvana. 

My definition is “to live in the deepest expression of who we are, who we were born to be”. I will not propose a glib “six step to finding your purpose solution”. Finding our purpose is a process, not a single event exercise. For some, it can even take a lifetime. 

The journey itself can be the purpose. Your life may be a long journey, and you may sometimes feel lost. But you must trust the road even when it’s bumpy, shrouded in mist, and you’re unsure of the way. 

Even for those who desire a more specific definition of purpose, it’s important to let go of the outcome and stay focussed on living. You need to have faith in yourself, to live and to learn from your life experience. If you lived in the certain knowledge of the outcome, you’d learn nothing.

Life is not the sum of one specific experience leading to one outcome. You’re not walking towards one fantastic final act. The value will be in the sum of the deeds, and the lives you touch, the difference you make. You may not have chosen some of your experiences and events bringing you to where you are now, but you have something important to share with the world. Something only you can deliver.

If you are not yet sure what that something is, your purpose is to go on your journey to find out. As a start, take your gifts and find an activity or occupation that employs them. 

Perhaps your purpose is simply to be the best you can be, and to remain alert to abundant opportunity.