Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finding My Purpose

When I realised that I needed some help actually living life instead of just ageing, I turned to self-help books. Everyone of them claimed to be different but in the end they all conjectured that when you knew your life's purpose, everything would fall into place.

Most of them were very vague about exactly how one was suppose to stumble across this knowledge and gave no help on how to find it. The authors proclaimed that when you did, you would 'just know'.
A couple attempted to provide exercises to assist with the discovery, but answering a few random questions seemed to do little to help me to find, what I now believed to be some mystical secret.

I have a self-professed passion for personal finance and so for a while, I went along with that and put all of my energy behind it as best I could.
While I was doing all the right things, and getting some positive energy from successes in this area, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
I still lacked confidence and motivation. I felt as if I had one foot in the door and the other still out.

Surely one's life purpose was not supposed to leave one feeling so uncertain?

Finally I stumbled across 'Escaping Career Prison: Three Keys To Breaking Free And Finding Work You Love' by Amy Van Court. To this date I have yet to finish the book, but the exercise called, The Success Map, was able to lead me directly to the doorway that held my purpose.

In Van Court's words: "All your life the universe has been dropping breadcrumbs disguised as experiences"

To put it simply you write down every memory of success you had in your life; any time you felt confident, happy and fulfilled, and group it into life stages. I did 1-10, 10-20, 20-27.
When you have completed that you highlight key phrases, and then look for any patterns that emerge.

I was sceptical about this exercise but I did it and the patterns were obvious even before I highlighted anything: 80% of my successes were instances were I had written poetry, an essay or a speech and had been recognized by others for my work. The other 20% were academic achievements, where again I was receiving accolades for my outstanding work.

Honestly, this wasn't anything that was a secret to me. I had always wanted to be a writer but my past pains and disappointments had lead abandon that idea. I was now so far removed from the art of the written word that even forum posts or journal entry a were a struggle. I despaired that my writing had lost all of its flavour; my words were devoid of style, passion and authenticity.

When I penned my purpose statement guided by the highlighted phrases, I was faced in black and white with the truth I had been running from for nearly a decade. I yearned to write and I wanted my work to be seen and acknowledged by others.

I instantly felt as if I could step fully through this door and leave being the lukewarm feeling that trying to make purely finance my passion had caused.

I didn't act on this immediately however, as with most truth seeking missions, I was less elated and more sullen than anything else. I withdrew from the process and entered into a state of limbo.

This stage was broken by my bout of viral illness, I was struck down for two weeks, and my vacation to Philadelphia had to be cancelled. Instead of that vacation however I decided I would start writing articles for my personal finance business at the rate of one article every-other day. I also started writing some prose and picked back up writing for my other blog Sadodosah.

This was my in; this habit was the impetus for accepting that writing was my purpose and that writing about finance was secondary to that purpose.

I wish to encourage anyone that has wrestled with the feeling that their life has no meaning to simply be honest with themselves. I made the mistake of trying to hide my true desires from myself. That was a fool's errand and I paid the price by suffering a nearly a decade of emptiness and depression.

However, when I look back, I see what good has come from those dark years; in them I can find endless inspiration for my writing. For what is a writer without a story to tell?

Thank you for being part of my journey and by your act of reading my words, closing the circle and fulfilling my life's purpose.


  1. And, as they say, everything is copy! every experience is raw material for the artist in any medium. So those years might not have been so empty after all.

    1. Very true, maybe as I look back on them with new eyes, I will see how rich they are with raw material.