Figuring out your life's purpose -- what you came here to Planet Earth to do -- is a massively scary undertaking. In fact, it can turn even the most headstrong entrepreneur into a quivering, commitment-phobic mess.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
You see, we've been looking at this purpose thing all wrong. We've been defining it too narrowly. We're forcing ourselves to fit into a neat, little box and thinking that that's where we're supposed to stay for the rest of our lives.
But that ain't the case.
The reason for all this confusion and angst is that we're getting our purpose and our process confused.
So what is 'purpose'?
Your purpose is the BIG HAIRY thing that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. It's the change you want to effect in the world. When you're old and grey and reminiscing on the years gone by, it's the thing you want to be able to say 'WOW, I did that'.
Your purpose is broad enough to take you in different directions.
It's got enough scope that you can achieve it in a number of different ways.
And it's expansive enough that it can be reinterpreted and reimagined at different stages of your life.
But it's so, so connected and engrained in your being that once you've tuned in to its siren song, it will always be your guiding light.
Which is different to your 'process'...
Your processes are the things you do to follow through on your purpose. The things you do to bring it to life. So for us heart-fuelled entrepreneurial gals, that means our businesses.
There are many, many different processes you can use to bring your purpose into form. And that's where we get tripped up.
We think that being a life coach or a doctor is our purpose, but it's not. That's simply the way we're fulfilling our purpose.
Both a doctor and a life coach could have the same purpose: to heal others and help them on their journey. Or they could have very different purposes: to inspire others to live their dream life (coach) and to educate others about their physical beings (doctors).
The key takeaway is that each of these professions is just one path to the overall end goal. Once you discover your greater vision, the options for how you bring this purpose to fruition are endless.
My own journey
It's true what they say -- life doesn't unfold in a straight line. My journey has been a squiggly one, sometimes with full-blown loop-de-loops. Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, I know that everything I've done has been a manifestation of my purpose. It just took me a while to figure this out.
Firstly, I studied marketing, media and communications in my business degree. I wanted to help companies achieve their goals. Then I went on to study event operations, convinced I wanted to help businesses create mind-blowing experiences for their customers. Then I sidestepped and started studying speech pathology, because I wanted to help people communicate. And meanwhile, I'd also started a blog to help guide people on their spiritual journey.
Talk about a melting pot of processes! It wasn't until I finally sat down to plan out this year's big business goals that I finally saw through this hodge-podge of passions and realized what my underlying purpose was: To help raise the vibrations of the world.
Connecting the dots and having this massive 'aha' moment filled me with relief. My endless career chopping-and-changing wasn't because I was flaky and indecisive; it was just that I was trying to find the best way to align with my true purpose.
So as I planned my next business move, instead of being filled with angst over where I wanted to be in 10 years time and trying to figure out my life-long career, I was able to focus on just one question:
How was I going to fulfill my purpose right now?
Phew! What a relief to realize that I didn't have to waste time trying to guess what Future Me wants to do! Because I sure as hell don't know the answer to that question.
But I can definitely answer it for me, right here, right now.
I want to fulfill my purpose by helping female entrepreneurs create real and viable businesses doing what they love. And I want to do it through coaching, consulting and kick-ass information products.
Cue the fireworks and champagne corks!
It's the perfect combination of everything that's led me to this point -- my experience, my education, my passions, my interests. And best of all, it lights me up. In an incandescent, chest-swelling, heart-thumping kinda way.
I knew I was on to something big.
It might not be what I do forever.
Hell, it might not even be what I do next year. I know that this is just one permutation of my overall mission, and although I'm loving it right now, I also know that it will grow and change and evolve into the next wave of delivering this vision.
It's not the be all and end all, it's just one manifestation of what I'm here to do.
Maybe it will morph into something bigger -- perhaps an ecourse, or a book, or a full-blown bricks-and-mortar center? I don't know yet. But that's cool because I know that right now, I'm living on purpose.
And figuring that out has changed everything.
So tell me, what's your purpose? And what process are you using to bring it to life right now?