No. 197

Finding Your Purpose

I had a rare chunk of space in my schedule on Friday, so I decided to use it wisely: I called a friend just to say hello. This friend happens to be a past accountability buddy who is building her own business, so I can’t swear we didn’t talk about work. But there’s an underlying friendship there as well and we really needed some catch up time.

She recently discovered some deep ties to the city of Los Angeles and the college she attended, learning both of her grandparents having gone there without her previously having known. The new knowledge led her to a question of purpose and whether we find it, or it finds us. (You can read her article here, which includes a quote from me.)

Her answer: her purpose found her.

My answer: I think we should stop looking so hard. For me, it’s not about my purpose finding me or me finding it; it’s a constant uncovering process. My purpose is my operating principle. It’s how I serve in this lifetime, who I am as a leader or follower. It’s not that I ever had to seek it out. It was always there, in my being.

But there’s another layer of purpose which I think is more important and it’s this: your purpose is in the moment you’re in, even if you have no idea what that is. It may at times be the comfort you give to a friend who’s struggling or grieving, or a simple skill you teach someone, or the encouragement a child needs to try again, or the laughter you share with a partner. Of course, there’s the bigger work we do and purpose we might operate with, but there are so many beautiful small moments of purpose as well, ones you don’t need to look for or define, ones you simply need to be in.

So while you may have a purpose to help people in some particular way that drives you to create and engage and show up, you also have a purpose simply in your being, in your presence, in ways you can’t fully see ripple out and touch the world.

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Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.