Are you marching to your music or someone else’s? If you are marching to the beat of someone else’s drum, I recommend that you find your own beat. Did you know that the word vocation stems from the Latin word vocatio, meaning “summons”? Look deep within, and consider whether what you are doing is in harmony with what you truly, intuitively enjoy. Are you doing something because a parent or someone else told you to do it, or because others in your family have done it? If so, and if it gives you a great degree of pleasure, that is good. On the other hand, if you do not enjoy your vocation, your life will be more fruitful and enjoyable if you discover what your purpose is and incorporate it into your life, even if it is as your avocation. It can be done one step at a time.
How do you discover your purpose? Just ask yourself this question: what are you passionate about? In fact, the connection between your purpose and your deepest passions is the basis for that well-known quote from Joseph Campbell: “Follow your bliss”. Life is meant to be enjoyed; do something that makes your heart sing. Follow your passion, your desires; do not give up! Many of us give up just as we are about to reap the rewards of our efforts. It could be just around the corner.
For those of you that know exactly what makes you happy – what truly causes the deepest joy to reverberate deep within you – your path might become clear for you rather easily with that connection to purpose. And that’s wonderful, as your life’s loves are probably things that you know you’ve aligned so closely to throughout the cycles of your life. What a blessing that is!
For many others, however, it’s not such an easy question to answer… and, unfortunately, that unease can cause many people to harbor even more fear and self-doubt. The question itself seems straightforward enough to us: What are we truly passionate about? That the answer isn’t as straightforward as the question shouldn’t worry you; it should just compel you to give it more time for thought and reflection. That uncertainty doesn’t mean you don’t have the spiritual grounding or vibratory wherewithal to accomplish your purpose (and your bliss), and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re any further from achieving your highest potential than those who know without hesitation where their passions – and purpose – inherently lie. In fact, it is fully possible that such uncertainty is part of the path you are meant to be on, for its questioning might be there to serve as a crucial impetus for recreating your life’s blueprint.
Consider, for example, the following quotation:
I begin to think that I have a genius for working like an ox over totally irrelevant subjects. … I am filled with an excruciating sense of never having gotten anywhere—but when I sit down and try to discover where it is I want to get, I’m at a loss. – January 1932 journal entry, Joseph Campbell
Yes, that is the same Joseph Campbell who would soon learn how to follow his bliss! In the earliest stages of his inner (and outer) seeking, the passionate urges and depths of feeling that he felt caused him to feel restless and doubtful. He was driven by an unseen force of passion and fire, but in order to identify what those passions were – and what his life purpose truly was – he had to seek deeply within, to explore those hazy nooks and crannies that aren’t always easy to get to, much less master. But you just have to turn in the right direction, beginning your journey right where you are. Remember, as I said before, that you can take this one step at a time.
I discovered my purpose by employing both the left and right hemispheres of my brain. First I created the following lists, then I used my intuition to sense what felt right.
These lists can all be created all on the same day, one day at a time, one week at a time or any way that resonates with you. I created each list daily for a week then moved on to the next one, except for the lists for accomplishments, challenges, what I’ve always wanted to do, and clues from the past. Please do what feels right for you. For most of them, I listed twenty items (it was more difficult to come up with something after the first ten or so), but work with this any way you like.
#1 YOUR STRENGTHS
What are your strengths? We all have them. What are yours? Think about what you are good at, even the simple things, like being a good listener, being a good driver, having a good sense of humor. What are your strengths?
Make a list of your strengths. Stretch yourself; when you think you are done, find some more. You can start with, “One of my strengths is…” and complete the sentence.
#2 WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO
What do you love to do? What brings you a great degree of pleasure when you’re doing it? What do you have a passion for?
Make a list of what you love to do. “I love to…”
#3 YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
What have you been successful at? What have you accomplished so far in life?
Make a list of your accomplishments. This is an ongoing list that you can add to and review periodically.
#4 WHAT YOU ENJOY DOING
What do you enjoy doing? Is it dancing? Is it gardening? Is it traveling? List what you enjoy doing. Many and perhaps all of these will be the same as what you love to do, and you may come up with a few more.
Make a list what you enjoy doing. “I enjoy…”
#5 KNOW WHAT YOUR INTERESTS ARE
What are you interested in? Compile a list of your interests.
Make a list of your interests. “One of my interests is…”
#6 WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT
What are you good at? You don’t have to be an expert, but what are you good at? Write a list of what you are good at.
List what you are good at. “I am good at…” or “I am a good…”
#7 WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO
What have you always wanted to do? What have you recently decided that you want to do?
List what you want to do. This is an ongoing list that you can add to and review periodically.
#8 WHAT YOUR CHALLENGES ARE, AND HAVE BEEN
What have been your challenges in life? What challenges have you overcome? Compile a list of your challenges: challenges that you’ve overcome and challenges you are still experiencing. In many cases, our challenges are an indication of our mission in this lifetime. It is through trials that we gain wisdom, and because of the wisdom gained we have the ability to help others, especially people who are experiencing a similar challenge.
List your challenges.
#9 THE CLUES FROM YOUR PAST
If you look back over your life, you will find clues to your life purpose. Think back and compile a list of things that come to mind.
I’ll give you some examples that I came up with when I did this. It turned out that my life purpose is to teach. As I looked back to the past, this is what I discovered:
Years ago, while I was on vacation, in a gift shop I saw a small basket full of stones on a glass shelf. I picked one up, turned it over, and “teacher” was etched in the stone.
I taught the martial arts for years, when I was in my twenties and thirties.
When I worked in the corporate world, I enjoyed mentoring people and speaking in front of groups.
When I would learn a new healing modality, I would always share what I had learned with friends.
As I thought back to aptitude tests I took in college and from a book I had read, one of the things that came up was “corporate trainer.”
I was in an intensive 5-day workshop in 2007 where I received a brief message from Archangel Michael via the teacher. I was told that “my contract is very clear.” I was befuddled by that cryptic message, so I asked the man who delivered it if we could talk later, so I could get some clarification. He told me that I had agreed to come here to be a teacher.
As I looked back on all of these clues from my past, and there are more, I was amazed that it had taken me so long to figure out what my purpose is – it seems so obvious now.
Create a list of times from your past that resonate with you – clues from your past.
#10 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Now that you have created your lists, it’s time to find things that resonate with you the most. Look over your lists and determine what came up the most and which ones felt best to you as you were writing them down. What feels best to you as you read it? From those three you can narrow it down to one by visualizing, feeling or sensing yourself doing it, finding the one that feels the best.
Spend some time to determine what makes your heart sing and start taking action on the ideas that come to you. A great way to get started is to research the topic on the internet or at your local library. Another is to interview others who are doing the same thing or reading autobiographies of people who have done what you would like to do.
The answers are within you. You can do this on your own. You came here with a purpose (actually more than one). I hope that this method has given you the tools to discover what your purpose is, as it has me and others.
- Discover what your passion is, and where your talents lie – what you love to do.
- Determine what you want to do and set your intention.
- Pay attention for guidance/ intuition/ ideas and insights (keep a note pad or hand recorder handy, especially by your bed and in the car), so you can record the guidance as you receive it. Ideas will start coming to you.
- Take action. This is a big one, but the steps you take can be small ones.
- Track your results. Keep a journal or log.
- Celebrate your successes and your failures. Successes feel wonderful, but when we don’t make the right decision, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn and gain wisdom. I have made my share of mistakes, but I don’t consider it a failure unless I don’t learn from it.
We all came here to contribute, and our contribution makes a difference. Your life purpose will be something that you love to do and will give you a great degree of pleasure.
Be joyful, embrace life and thrive!
Source: Joseph Campbell
Sources: Vocation – Latin, vocatio, summons