I was neck-deep into a mobile game a few years ago when I asked in chat from a member of the team that I was on at that time: “what do you think about life purpose?” His answer surprised me. He said that he was already serving his purpose. I thought that strange since I felt that I had recently accepted a calling to serve mine. Yet, here was someone knowingly being in service just being alive. It got me thinking (a lot) about what being in service to your purpose means.
More recently, I conducted market research to better understand how I can be of service to people who wish to live a more fulfilled life. Even though I had refused the call to adventure, so to speak, to serve in this area, I find that I have been re-directed back to this area time and time again. So, through this market research, it was my hope that it would help me better understand how to support people seeking to be in greater alignment with their life purpose.
What I discovered surprised me. Some people, quite far along in their years, reported not even ever thinking about what their life purpose might be. Others, in mid-life, knew from a young age what they wanted to be and do, and have done so, and plan to continue to do so after they retire from their profession. Others felt they were in service to their purpose, but life happened, and they couldn’t continue in that role that fulfilled them. So, they were trying to find their way back to that.
So then, what does that mean? What does it mean to be in service to your life purpose?
Does that mean from the examples listed above that one gets a gold star and the other a failing grade, and so on? Not that I’m counting.
That said, we often evaluate ourselves against a measuring stick outside of ourselves and assign a passing or failing grade, for whatever strange reasons. Yet, who’s to say that a person is not already in service to their purpose throughout their long life, even if they didn’t specifically sign up to be?
Many articles on the Web talk about finding your purpose, and that’s a valuable and important exercise.
Here though, for today, let’s explore what it means to be in service to your purpose.
#1. Life purpose is not a one-shot deal
As your life unfolds and you go through the different age categories, you show up in service to your purpose in different ways.
One of the friends I interviewed in my initial market research on this topic said to me something along the following lines: “I don’t want to have a long view on what my purpose should be because I don’t want to decide for the 50 or 60 or 70 year old version of myself what my purpose should be. I want that guy to have the freedom to choose what’s best for him then.”
How cool is that?
For me, I’ve opted for a long view, because that’s the way I like to roll. That said, I’ve set up a vision statement that is overarching to help guide my decisions on what I write about when. Essentially, my aim to is brighten up a billion lights (souls). This overarching vision statement allows me to play in different sandboxes, over time. This allows me to weave cohesion into the overall body of work — over time.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I love to write. Music. Fiction. Poetry. Nonfiction. And so much more. I love writing. It’s my happy place. I also love learning and applying the many different forms of writing.
My wish, ever since I left the room of my childhood with a tree growing out in the backyard was to have exactly that. A tree growing outside my window. My writing desk and chair placed near that window overlooking the tree in the backyard.
When we moved into our new place last summer, as part of the separation process my family is currently going through, lo and behold, there is a tree outside my window where I write. I’m satisfied. That’s all I need. Truly.
Getting back to the forms of writing though.
There are so many different ways to make a living at writing. I have stories, poems and music that want to be written. This is in addition to the nonfiction that wants to be written for this project. I also started some travel writing on visiting places of spiritual power.
So, for me, I needed something overarching to guide all the written work. It’s too easy to lose track going down different rabbit holes. For me, anyway.
It’s also a lot of work building an author brand. This is especially true these days in the era of social media and other web platforms to assist you build and promote your author brand.
So yes, writing is important for me.
I also raised five children, was in a long-term marriage with a person with disabilities, and experienced other challenges along the way. These experiences were moments fulfilling my life purpose. As well, I can look back in hindsight and see how the challenging experiences have equipped me for this work helping people be in greater alignment with their life purpose.
So, think about how you living your life experiences. Think about how you might have been you in service to your purpose during that time, even if you didn’t think about it in that way.
In addition, consider how the sum of your life experiences up to this point have equipped you to serve others in similar situations. Think about how your strategies and solutions and so much more might be of value for others now going through similar experiences.
#2. You don’t have to know what your life purpose is to be in service to your life purpose
That person in my market research who had not thought about what her life purpose might be — even though she was far along on her life path — does that mean she was not in service to her life purpose?
Not necessarily so.
One example that strikes me as people who in service to their life purpose and may not always know are the street cooks on those special cooking shows. They are regular people who have devoted a lifetime to cooking for others. I’m not saying chefs, sous-chefs and others in restaurant kitchens around the world don’t fit in this illustration.
For this example though, I’m focusing in on my perception of the work of street cooks.
What strikes me when I watch the street cooks do their cooking is the expression on their faces as they cook. They seem very intent to make every meal a good meal. That’s a lot of meals.
I don’t know about you, but for me, when I cook, it’s hit or miss. If I’m in it and feeling it, it tastes good and there are usually no leftovers. If I’m not into it, and do something quick with little focus and attention, the food is awful and somehow got burned or is dry, and no one wants to eat the food.
The love for food and for people that I see in the faces of those street cooks is something amazing to witness. Every plate counts. Every belly is filled. Every palate is satisfied.
What a gift to humanity! Is my thinking.
Would that not qualify as being in service to their purpose? Cooking street food for forty, fifty or sixty years?
I think so.
So then, what have you been doing for years for the love of it, for the satisfaction of it, that could be a strong indication of you being in service to your purpose, without you even knowing it?
#3. The hard things that you might have lived, or are living right now, might just be setting the foundation for you to live your life purpose in bigger way later on
We all experience our fair share of trials. We all end up living through hard stuff in some way.
On a global level, for example, over the past year (2020), many have had to navigate the difficult things with being on the front lines helping people deal with the various aspects of the pandemic, e.g., people in hospitals, at testing facilities, in old-age homes, in policing, in immigration, in teaching, with food security and so much more.
On a more personal level, for example, we could be fighting our demons to stop using drugs or alcohol. We could be trying to escape a situation with partner abuse, or some other variant of that.
In my view, this is the business of living. It really comes down to deciding how you want to move through the experience alignment with your values and your truth.
In a sense, it seems to me, that we are each other’s teachers.
How does what you lived and experienced be leveraged to teach your brothers and sisters in this big family on earth get through the hard stuff?
How can what you are learning to teach be levelled up to play in a bigger sandbox?
What do I mean by this? For example, a person who has successfully been able to leave prostitution may volunteer to help those stuck in it. How might they play in a bigger sandbox? Perhaps that person then starts and a operates a nonprofit organization raising funds and expanding the reach to help even more people. That’s what I mean by a bigger sandbox.
#4. Think of being in service to your life purpose as moving outward from small to bigger concentric circles
The previous point touches on this but here, I’ll explain in more detail what I mean.
If you think of a stone dropping into a pond, you get the image of ripples of circles moving outward.
At one level, closest to where the stone was dropped is you being in service to your purpose in ways that are closest to you.
For example, if you were orphaned as a baby and landed in a warm loving home, you may decide to adopt children of your own, to give them a warm and loving home.
Now, as the concentric circles ripple out, you may decide to volunteer in an orphanage, or assist to raise funds to help an orphanage.
As the concentric circle keeps moving outward, and you gain more experience and knowledge, you may decide to establish an orphanage, and then five more, for example.
Continuing to follow the concentric circles analogy moving outward, perhaps you decide to partner up with others in service to other areas that are making a positive difference, such as helping animals, clean water, recycling projects and so much more.
Therefore, being in service to your life purpose can expand and be exponential in its impact, as time progresses and you decide to play in bigger and bigger sandboxes, so to speak.
#5. The simplest things that you do can be you being in service to your purpose
You can’t know what words you say or actions you take that might make a huge positive impact on other people.
Sometimes it can be as simple as a kind word. It could be you taking some time to be present with someone going through a difficult passage in their life. It could be as simple as eye contact conveying that you see a person going through a hard time and acknowledging them.
This reminds of the friend I talked about at the beginning of this blog post. His sense of humanitarianism showed up in service to the collective. He would create, contribute and nurture a positive environment for people to hang out in when playing the mobile game. Did he do something similar in his real life? Most likely. It’s hard for me to say. But in the game, he made the game fun to play.
How is that not being in service to one’s purpose? Creating a safe and fun place for people to hang out in as they escape the hardships of their real life for a while? Just saying.
I’m also thinking about the street cooks example I talked about earlier. Cooking the same meals day after day becomes something simple and easy over time. How is providing food for the belly and the palate not also good for the soul?
Quite frankly, I would not be surprised to discover that some of these people might be considered masters in the spiritual realm. Preparing food with love for each and every belly – now, that’s amazing. Even if it appears simple.
#6. There is such a thing as serving your full contract
Shifting back to the earlier point about concentric circles, I have learned in the last year that there is something called choosing to serve your full contract.
What does this mean?
In the studies that I have done to date, the notion that we pre-arrange our experiences before being born makes a lot of sense to me.
I have read a lot stories about people in past-life regressions going in-between lives. I’ve also read a lot of stories about people in near-death experiences. After reading so many of them, there are common threads that show up.
One of those common elements is this notion that we pre-arrange our experiences before we are born. That does not mean that our destiny is carved out for us, because there is always the wild card of free will in play.
Through the choices that we make with our free will, we can decide to avoid being in service to our purpose. We can also choose to be in full contract to our purpose. And then there is everything in between.
Giving intention to be in full contract to your life purpose is scary business. It’s like stepping off the plank of a pirate ship, so to speak. You don’t know if you’ll find land. You’re out of shape so you don’t know if you can swim long enough to find land. You can’t know that a small little fishing boat (or speed boat) is lurking on the other side of the ship to whisk you way.
What is clear is that you are stepping off a plank from something that you know, even if its conditions have been restrictive and limited, into the wide blue ocean. How will you survive? What will you do?
That said, giving that intent is an exhilarating experience.
And anyway, because of free will, if it gets too much, you can always give intent to scale it back. There is no failure, only experience.
That experience gets folded into your insights and perceptions that you can share with others who may find the information helpful for them in their time of need.
#7. It’s completely fine if you do none of the things discussed so far — it’s your life, your free will, your choice
It is your life. Your free will. You’re driving the boat. Whether you realize it or not.
The one thing that made me realize that the law of attraction does in fact work is when I realized that all the bad stuff happening in my life was happening because I worried and feared it. By giving it weight and attention, I allowed for it to enter my life.
The power of this realization opened up a whole new world for me, as it made me understand that if I brought it in, then I can leave it.
My free will.
Patience and persistence are required though.
Just because you decide you want to leave the spaces that you created indirectly through your fears and worries doesn’t mean they leave the next day. It takes time to be replaced by what you will moving forward.
That said, your attitude about how it holds power and sway over you changes dramatically when you decide you’re done living that story.
In a way it’s like binge watching a series. You get hooked into the story. It might be about crime or something else that’s insidious. Some scenes may show up in your dreams or nightmares.
Who’s stopping you from using the remote to change to a comedy series? No one but you.
Choose a different series to binge watch.
Before you know it, you get pulled into that new story world.
Your free will can be leveraged the same way in your day-to-day life. Yes, it might take time. However, your intention to move toward a different story that you start to define in your mind is what makes the difference.
Notice I said move toward, not away from. If your eyes are looking backwards, you can’t leave the old story. If your eyes are looking forward, that old story gets left behind.
When its far enough behind you that you can think about those experiences from a place of peace and forgiveness, this is when you are well positioned to help others get through what you got through.
So, let me ask you, how will you choose to operate your free will?
You are holding the remote control to your life. Your attitude and how you approach the hard stuff is what makes the biggest difference in how you move through and past a particular set of hard stuff.
Curious about what happened to my friend in the mobile game?
Well, he continues to play that game spending a lot of time there. I imagine he continues to create a space where people can have fun and unwind as they unplug from the hard stuff of their day-to-day life for a bit of time.
I decided to pull out of the game to invest my energy here building this project. I was starting to find it odd saying that I was a writer when my writing hours were spent playing. So, I had to realign that sense of discomfort to feel and be true to me, and what I believe is my calling.
I don’t think either one of us is doing better, or something wrong. We’ve simply exercised our free will to show up in the different spheres of our world to be of service to others. We are leveraging different media, our individual styles and leadership skills, and our different interests to be in service to our calling to assist people. We have stepped up to be the best version of ourselves serving as humanitarians in the way that makes the most sense to us at this point in our lives.
How are you showing up in your world serving your purpose? Do you feel or believe that there is more room for you to expand to be in even greater alignment in service to your life purpose?
P.S. Book a free strategy session to assist you on your path to be in greater alignment with your life purpose. The outcomes may surprise. The realm of opportunity and possibility for you may inspire you to expand your reach further than you may have thought possible.