There’s so much talk about one’s life purpose, or soul purpose, it can get a little tiring. It feels a bit as if every moment of every day is supposed to be highly meaningful, and every last thing I do needs to serve some mysterious higher goal. And of course, if I don’t understand that, then I fail!
In reality, a lot of life isn’t like that. We do our everyday chores, we work, we look after ourselves and our loved ones, we communicate, we laugh and love and sleep. In a way, all of these little actions can be said to carry meaning and serve our true purpose. I for one believe they actually do. But it’s not like a thunderclap sounds every time I make dinner or hug a friend. Sometimes, “normal” feels good.
I’d still argue that a “soul purpose” is important, though. The question is, can you find yours? What about being multi-passionate? I’m going to try to answer all these questions, and while my take on it is obviously a personal opinion, I’ve found it very useful in my own life. If you don’t find the concept appealing, then that’s fine. It’s not a universal truth, after all!
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What’s a “Soul Purpose”?
I myself have often argued that not everbody has a specific “purpose” in life. It’s often an issue particularly for multi-passionates, to try and find one thing that sums up everything we do.
I haven’t really changed my mind so much as found that when we dig deeper, there usually is a common theme, after all. It’s like a thread running through our lives. It connects all our multiple passions and the many things we have dedicated our time and passion to over the course of the years. And yes, I’d argue that it’s present in most people’s lives.
This common thread is your Soul Purpose.
How to identify your purpose
The question is of course: How do you find out what your purpose is? It’s simple for some – they have a task or work they’ve felt drawn to all their lives, something they are convinced they need to do. It’s wonderful to see a human being who believes in their purpose; there’s no limit to what these people can achieve.
For the rest of us, it’s a little more complicated, and this is where passions come in. Joseph Campbell famously said to “follow your bliss”, because in his opinion this could only lead to our life’s true purpose. I believe this is accurate, even if you have multiple, different passions.
For now, I’d invite you to write down everything that lights you up. Heads-up: This is not about mere interests. You can enjoy doing a lot of things – almost everyone does – but they’re not all passions. A passion is something that truly sets you on fire, that makes you forget time, something you feel you could do all day.
Looking beyond the obvious
Like I said, the next step requires you to dig deeper. I do this with my Coaching clients, but you can try it on your own. Look over your list and examine your emotions. What do you feel about these activities? Look for similarities. For example, all my passions spring from my deep need for connection with the world around me, people and nature alike, and to cause positive change. That’s how I got to Coaching.
Once you have identified your common theme, a good way to verify this is to think back to what you always wanted to do when you were a child, or growing up. In a way, your purpose is your “Why”, as Simon Sinek would put it (for details, check out today’s recommendation on the left-hand side!).
Tracking down your soul purpose
In a way, this also relates to the core values I wrote about in last week’s article. My core values of honesty/integrity, connection, and constant learning and growing are all part of my soul’s purpose of being an agent of change. When you look into yours, and combine them with your passions, a common theme will emerge, even if the actual activities are very diverse.
Major life decisions are a whole lot easier when you have clarity about your purpose. A change in career, a move abroad, entering or leaving a relationship – check them against what you are meant to do on this planet. If it’s in alignment with your soul purpose, then you know you’re doing the right thing.