Uncovering Your Purpose (Part 2)

This blog is a long time coming. I wrote Part 1 in September of 2020 thinking Part 2 would be written in the next few weeks or months. We’re now in May of 2023 and this is finally being written.

So what took so long? Well, let’s recap first.

In Part 1 of Uncovering Your Purpose, I shared these 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Make Time
  • Step 2: Write It Out
  • Steph 3: Determine Your Values
  • Step 4: Look for Patterns
  • Step 5: Practice Patience + Ask Why

Two years later, these still rings true. These are the exact 5 first things I’d do if I was trying to uncover my purpose. They take time – likely weeks or months, potentially longer.

The reason this second post came out so long after the first was that I was spending figuring out the next steps and working through them. You’ll find those below.

Step 6: Reflect

Look back at the answers you had for your questions for step 1. Do they all still ring true? Would you answer any of them differently? What about your values? Do all those same words represent how you make decisions and what you prioritize or is there a better way to encompass them? Are there different patterns you noticed this time going through them that you may have overlooked initially?

Step 7 : Write a Why Statement

In step 4 you looked for patterns based what you were passionate about, your strengths, the legacy you want to leave, as well as your values. Your why statement will be the one sentence that ties that together in a way that’s unique to you. It will be simple, clear, actionable, focused on others, and in a positive tone. Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why” shares that a why statement should be formatted in this way – “To….. so that…..”. The “To” is what actions you take. And then the “so that”is the result of those actions or the long term impact.

Simon’s personal why statement is “To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change the world.” Your why statement will not look like his. It will be uniquely oriented to you and your life. I encourage you to take a piece of paper or an online document and begin drafting your statement. Your first draft isn’t your final draft. Keep tweaking it 6, 7, 8+ times until you start to feel good about it. Then sit with it for a bit – maybe days, weeks, or months. What still needs tweaked? Is there an area that feels off or not fully representative of you? Keep adjusting it.

Step 8: Ask Others for Feedback

Share what you’ve uncovered so far with a close friend, family member, partner, or colleague (or a few of each!). You can share the answers to your questions on what you’re uniquely good at, what gets you excited, what makes you cry. Share your values and ask if they would have identified those same values for you or if any seemed to be missing. Share your “why” statement with them. Do they feel like it sounds like you and what you contribute? Find trusted people close to you to share this with so they can help you create even more clarity around what you’ve uncovered so far.

Step 9: Revisit & Refine

Once you feel like you’ve got a pretty good working statement, continue to revisit it and refine it as necessary. While I know my personal why, I don’t know that my “To…. so that….” sentence is fully completed. I’m closer, but not fully there. The wonderful news is I still live in my purpose regardless of the sentence. I was already doing these things anyway, so not having a completed sentence isn’t stopping me from continuing with those actions and results.

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