What exactly is purpose anyways?

I cannot remember the last time I took a moment to blog. Okay…maybe I can because all blog posts are saved on this site. But, that’s besides the point.

Every year brings a new adventure, a new journey, and usually a new state…literally. I won’t begin to fill in what the last few years have been, but I will share what moved me to even think about logging in again to write: LIFE PURPOSE.

Life purpose has become such a scary, abstract idea. What is my purpose in life? That’s huge, right? But, is it really? When I really break that down and nix out the external societal expectations, it often starts to become so clear.

I’ve been thinking A LOT about purpose lately. What gets me out of bed every morning? What is important to me? How do I give back to this broken world? At the end of my life, how will people remember me?

The road to “success” is always paved with hurdles, boulders, lakes to cross with no damn boat, and plenty of unexpected twists and turns. However, I used to always be confident in knowing what (I thought) was at the end. It all used to be so clear. Now, I’m not so sure…and that’s scary as shit! You would think that by the time you’re in your 30’s life would all make sense. But if anything, as you continue to learn about yourself and who you are, it just becomes that much more difficult.

In thinking about my purpose, I have done a lot of self-reflection. I think about the happy times, the many moments of disappointments, and the people that have have entered and exited. Sometimes I feel successful, while other times I feel like a complete failure. I used to measure my purpose and success on material things: jobs I’ve held, things I’ve accumulated, tangible accomplishments, etc. But lately I’ve been stuck on the question: “What if my purpose is to be a catalyst in the lives of others?”

A lot of my life revolves around my career as a Student Affairs professional, mainly because, let’s face it, more than 40 hours of my week is spent at work. Being in a people-focused role, I have come across a lot of people in my life and have built a number of relationships with students (undergrad and grad), colleagues, and everyone in between.

Have you ever come into contact with a student (undergrad or grad) and said to yourself, “I’m going to work for you some day”, and meant it? Have you ever had the privilege of working with someone and known that they are literally going to change the world? I have! And I’m blessed to have crossed paths with them. But just when I think to myself I wish I could also contribute more to this world in the way I see them do, I receive affirmation in the form of a written letter, text, note, or FB message that contributes to the continued formation of that lingering question of my own purpose. Some of these messages have appeared years later.

It fills my soul to know that somewhere along the way I aided in someone’s journey. This is not a narcissistic mirror reflection of myself. Rather, it’s getting to know myself all over again. It’s being comfortable in recognizing my strengths, what I do best, and moving forward in what I excel at. It’s re-examining my future goals. It’s supporting others in their respective journeys. It’s continuing to build relationships and encouraging others. It’s knowing that sometimes, that one conversation that may have seemed minimal to you meant the world to someone else. It’s knowing that even the smallest gesture of kindness goes a long way. It means that someone out there knows that they have one additional person in their corner. Its showing others what it means to pay it forward and give back in hopes that they pass it along and give back to others. It’s knowing that we all leave impact on this world in different ways.

And that, my friends, is purpose.

purpose

How do you plan to use your gift today?

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