We spend more time at work than we do on those things we love. If you're like most people, you want to make sure your work is aligned with your purpose.
The master craftsman who produces timeless beauty. The musician who connects so deeply with their music, the notes seem to transcend sound. The entrepreneur who ignores apparent risk and spends their life building a business passed on for generations. We see these people going about their work, full of passion and drive and if we're being honest, we begin to feel a little jealous.
Despite careers and achievements, most of us feel like we are still searching. Searching for what our calling is - the unique purpose God has in mind for our lives.
After coaching and mentoring many people with this same feeling, I've discovered "three indicators of purpose" that will help you start down the right path.
Name last year's Super Bowl champion - now name the teacher who had the greatest impact on your life. For most, the second answer comes much easier.
Many times, God places people in your life to help you discover talents and abilities. After all, the things we are great at tend to come easy, so we naturally minimize their importance. If you take the time to think back and reflect on moments where someone recognized a talent or gift, you may discover an ability you've never fully explored.
This could be the coach who noticed your talent, a boss who recognized you after a presentation or a teacher who saw a potential and invested a little more time.
Each talent that is validated by a credible external source is a possible predictor of future purpose.
We've all known people who suffered a loss yet found purpose helping others face the same challenge. Those who carry scars from broken homes that decide to invest in the lives of families going through the same thing. Or those who's career was suddenly taken away, only to find an entrepreneurial calling they would not have had the courage to pursue otherwise.
Painful events in life are powerful predictors of purpose. Each painful event leaves scars, that if taken with the right perspective, provide a unique story that can be used to help others.
The key is to take the time to reflect on the painful events in life, take inventory of your scars and try to decide what you learned from the experience. What are you now uniquely prepared to offer the world as a result?
Finding a way to apply your story will help heal pain you may still associate from the past and will certainly point you toward a unique purpose.
Too often the search for purpose starts with passions and can lead you down the wrong path.
For example, just because you love to sing, does not necessarily mean your life's purpose is to be a singer - we were entertained for years by those on American Idol who missed that truth.
Passions are placed in our hearts for a reason. While sometimes passions are meant to be hobbies, others are validated with recognition and have the potential to become more. The goal is to find the place where your passions intersect with your talents.
Passions can take the form of many things, like teaching, organizing, influencing, building, coaching. Regardless of the quality, if validated by a credible source, each could be a strong indicator of purpose.
People have been placed in your path for a reason, painful scars have made you stronger and given you a unique perspective, and passions light you up for a reason. Take the time to reflect on each of these and I'm willing to bet you will be on the right track to discovering your unique purpose.