I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose lately. Not only of finding it, but living it. Of the hard choices and sacrifices made to pursuit it. All of the bright shiny objects that try to distract us from it. And the meaning of it when we consider all of the other priorities in our lives that may have to be reshuffled to make our purpose possible.
Realizing the full power of our purpose requires taking many small steps in a big direction. I think it might be the only way to find and pursue our purpose: one deliberate action at a time. Sometimes a decision opportunity occurs at a crossroads. Sometimes we have to make the choice to keep going through a dark time because we believe so strongly in the light ahead. We might feel like giving up, and for a time we may actually just put our purpose on hold.
The big leaps toward our goals are one in a million. They’re fun to take. Everyone loves a good sprint toward something we really want. Purpose rarely works that way. The road is often slow and steep. We have to learn a lot along the way. We get lost and turned around and confused. We fail and we try again. Those are the times we take a seat, close our eyes, and regroup. Why did you start? What did you hope to find? What have you learned? And why does it matter?
Maybe you’re in the midst of these questions. I am, too. It’s not an easy place to be. What I’m doing now is living the questions, one at a time. I’m remembering what mattered to me most when I first started my career, ironically in Washington, D.C. I’m remembering what I hoped to find all those years ago and everything I’ve learned along the way. I’ve always known why it mattered; I just needed to remind myself.
Taking this journey is like taking a trip back in time, a journey home. I feel like my life is coming full circle in a place that’s I’ve been meant to be all along. And that feels damn good. In those dark moments when I’m questioning everything (usually at 3am when I can’t sleep), that’s the idea I hold onto. I’m right where I need to be right now, and someday soon it’s all going to make perfect sense.