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Why I Quit Chasing My Purpose (And You Should Too!)

By Michelle Vandepas July 02, 2022 Mindset

I spent years chasing Purpose. I changed careers, tried new hobbies and threw myself into raising my daughter. Repeatedly I wondered, what was my purpose? Really? There must be something more, a connection to something bigger. Sure, having clients was great. My family was fulfilling, it’s just, that, well, it wasn’t quite… enough. (Am I allowed to say that out loud?)

I wasn’t having a religious or existential crisis, but more a crisis of the heart. I was yearning for a feeling of making a difference, and I wondered if I should I just choose something, anything, and go for it. Maybe a new career, or I could go back to school.

Secretly I was thinking: Was there some preordained thing I was supposed to do, and I just didn’t see it yet?

Finally, after 20 years of chasing something that can’t be chased, all while coaching clients into sharing their missions and legacy, I’ve learned the obvious.

Purpose Isn’t to Be Chased, It’s Already Within Us

What I know for sure (as Oprah would say) is that you and I and our neighbors are all already living purpose, even if we don’t’ know what that is. We may not be in our passions. We may have sometimes exceedingly difficult lives that put us on autopilot, but this I do know for sure:

If you are alive, you are living your purpose.

Our purpose is all about ‘being’. Everyone we touch through a smile, any connections we make with people, animals and even plants are us living our purpose. Purpose is how we share our heart and not how we make our living.

Three of my takeaways after talking and teaching purpose for over 20 years are:

  • You are living your purpose – even if you don’t know what that is.
  • Your purpose is in your heart, and the more you open your heart the more in ‘purpose’ you will feel.
  • Purpose can be found at home, at work, with family and friends. It is not related to your job, vocation, volunteer program, or hobby.

Your passions may be expressed through your day-to-day living and through work, but purpose is always consistent and never-ending.

What If You Have Been Waiting for Divine Inspiration?

Granted, it may seem like you don’t know your next step. Perhaps you are waiting for the thunderbolt of Divinely Inspired Clarity paired with intuition as well as guidance to rain down upon you before you make a step in any direction.

Sorry. It’s just not happening.

So now what?

The real question isn’t about purpose. It’s about ‘what’s next’ for me?

What’s Next for Me?

Try asking yourself:

Who am I here to serve, teach or inspire over my lifetime?

When I ask this with clients, they always answer with full, truthful clarity. Though they may speak with resignation, it is from the heart, often with deep sighs as if they remember dreams long past that were put away on a shelf for later.

I’m here to teach.

I want to be on stage.

I’d love to move to be closer to family.

My calling has always been to minister to the poor.

You want to share your wisdom and grace and experience, and I’m hereby giving you permission to just be you. More of you, fully being who you are, and less of you doing, rushing, and wondering and worrying about who you could be. Take one small step (or a huge, big step if you like) and be who you are, and do whatever you need to, and just open your heart and share yourself.

Once you step into knowing that you are in exactly the right place and it’s the right time, then if you choose to take purposeful action, it will be from the place of be-ing-ness, and not the do-ing place. You will feel aligned with your purpose.

Why Does Purpose Confuse Us?

We feel we aren’t living the dream life and make up stories.

I don’t know my next step.

I’m too old… too young… too whatever…

And then pretend we are confused. Subsequently, we readily acknowledge as we laugh over coffee with friends – even in our 60s and beyond – “Oh, I’m not sure what I want to do when I grow up.” Really, it’s just fear disguised as misguided modesty.

After all, we procrastinate, wash dishes, clean closets. Do anything rather than show up to ourselves. When we glimpse our inner clarity, we don’t accept it, and default into labeling it confusion, or procrastination, until we can’t ignore it any longer.

When that happens, we hit bottom. It might come from an outside influence like a death of a loved one or (in my case) losing a successful business and all the benefits that came with it. These outside things (which could also be filing for divorce or quitting a job), as well as the items creating an internal chaos, force us to reconnect with who we are.

Life is messy. People get sick, our beloved pets die. We suffer loss, and with each loss, we internalize it as a setback, something we’ve done wrong or that we didn’t do at all. If we’ve experienced abuse or trauma, the covering of our brilliance is even more impactful with a full blanket that provides a cover of protection. I understand. I feel for you. But I want to see you shine.

It’s time for a little spit and polish. Clean up the dust, put away the fog blanket, and allow the light inside to shine deeply.

Then, Dream. Be You. And Go, Be in Purpose. Just Be.

Are you trying to make your passion your purpose? What happens if you never get clarity on your purpose? Does it matter in the biggest scheme of life if you never know?

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Judith Louise

Wow – it was just the right article that I needed to read whilst sitting in the morning darkness and pondering the next turn in our life. I am a 70yr old with a rare and painful spinal disease that impedes walking and traveling in a car. For the past twenty years I have been the carer for my husband (52yrs) who suffers with chronic kidney disease. Over 50yrs we have lived a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle. In 2019 our property was destroyed 100% by bush fire. Over the past three years we have rebuilt 50% of our lifestyle. Now we face the physical inability to continue our lifestyle and the pending death of my husband. We have no children. Our income is a disability pension. Our savings are eroded. However – we are sought by the media and government agencies to comment on climate disasters. Nobody wanted to listen to us 50years ago. The question we ask ourselves “who are we without our self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle?” We grow fruit, nuts, veggies, eggs and animals. We make our own bread. We freeze-dry and preserve our harvest. In younger and more healthier years we educated people all around the world. In 1990’s I spoke to an audience of 660 people in London. We are not interested in supermarket products and we don’t know how to live in an urban location. Doctors have told us that they believe its because of our lifestyle that my husband survived this long. Unfortunately my husband can no longer drive. If we stay we are financially poor and cannot do the work and have no money to pay anyone to help. If we leave, we sacrifice our lifestyle and living our beliefs. The sale of the property puts money in the bank but will be quickly absorbed by the loss of the pension and its health/hospital benefits.

The Author

Michelle Vandepas, cheerleads and sometimes cajoles others into sharing, leading, teaching and inspiring others, through their purpose and mission driven messages. She is the co-founder and CEO of GracePoint Publishing. Michelle would love to hear about your inspiring journey. Connect with her at GracePoint or the Radically Authentic Facebook group or Michelle Vandepas Instagram.

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