Purpose has become a loaded word.
A lot of the writing and advice about finding your purpose gives you so many things to do: complete this exercise, make this list, seek this project.
What I’ve discovered is that people are just exhausted from doing more things and not getting the results. When it comes to finding—and more importantly living into—your purpose, you’ll need to focus on less DOING, more BEING.
It’s easy to start with do. In the world we live in today, there’s no shortage of tasks, committees and projects to choose from. On top of that, there are so many books, articles and podcasts out there (like this one), pulling us in different directions of doing. We think if we do all of these things now, we can be something else later.
I am finding that is not the case. More and more adults are reaching the ages of 60 and 70 years of age, and they’re realizing: I never became the person I thought I would be after doing all of those things.
I’ve had to learn this lesson myself. As a father, I’ve realized my success as a parent is just as much about me being with my children as it is doing things for them. Being present in a conversation, for example, will lead to more purposeful parenting than reaching into my pockets.
The same is true in business. If you want to build a meaningful career that will stretch far into the future, you’ll need to flip the script and look inward before you turn outward.
Start with be. It starts with getting quiet and assessing: Who am I as a being? What does it feel like to be me in the micro moments of life? What is left when you strip away the titles and social constructs that define my understanding of myself?
Be together. Embed yourself in a circle of friends and family who get you, celebrate you and honor your journey. So often, we fail to stop and acknowledge the sweetness of simply being with others who lift us up and enrich our lives. Who you decide to be with on a regular basis will shape you to your core, so seek other beings who want to be more, and do less.
Be open. When it comes to living with purpose, you need a surround sound of feedback. It’s not all about meditation and collaboration. You’ll also want to find “no” people who will push against the grain, go the opposite way and stretch your thinking. Be open to the feedback that doesn’t make you feel good, but it will make you better.
Fulfilling your purpose isn’t about crafting the perfect sentence that reflects your values or goals. It’s about getting connected to what is truly meaningful to you and letting that guide everything you do.
Seek being before doing—not the other way around.
Author Simon T. Bailey