The Why Block

This blog post is Part 4 in a 14-part blog series on discovering and living your mission. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.) In the previous blog post, we talked about the importance of finding your “why”, and identifying a core purpose that can guide your life.

Before we get into some of the nuts and bolts for discovering your purpose, I want to talk about one major block that can derail people’s quest to discover their purpose. Everyone faces this block at some point in their life—it is inevitable. Because of that, it is important to be aware of the block and have it in front of you as you navigate through your life and look toward discovering your mission.

Here is the block: letting extraneous stuff get in the way of your core purpose.

Discovering one’s purpose is a deeply personal endeavor. It involves community and connection with others, yes. But no one can tell you what your purpose is. No one can lay out your purpose for you. No one can tell you your “why”. It is something you must ultimately determine for yourself. We are each responsible for crafting the life that we choose to live.

Sometimes other people get in the way of us identifying our “why”. Instead of taking responsibility for outlining our purpose, we might orient our life toward pleasing someone else, such as a family member. Instead of being confident in our purpose, we might crumble under the weight of disapproval. Don’t let someone else’s approval or disapproval take you off course.

Other times, something extraneous inside of us can get in the way of identifying our purpose. I call these the 3 F’s:

  1. Fame: We might enjoy a little success and let it go to our head. Instead of living out our purpose, we get sidetracked and start pursuing fame.
  2. Fashion: Fashions change with each passing day. If we care too much about what is popular, we might get deterred when our purpose isn’t what’s on the front page of the newspaper.
  3. Fortune: Money is seductive. Like the sirens who tempted Odysseus toward destruction, pursuing fortune can take us way off course from our internal purpose.

Don’t let this extraneous stuff get in the way of your core purpose. Be on the lookout for outside voices in your life, especially if they are loud and powerful. Don’t let these outside voices drown out the soft, silent voice inside of you that guides you toward your true purpose. Also, be careful of the 3 F’s: fame, fashion, and fortune. Any time you notice one of these 3 F’s begin to play an important role in your life, be careful! They could be taking you off course and blocking your “why”.

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