Purpose Surfing – the difference between filling time and seizing the day

We live in a time where there is a mantra to find your purpose, live your purpose…

Yet some of us may spend a life trying to figure out what our purpose is. This is not always because we don’t know…sometimes our purpose is not revealed to us until a very particular time. Or often times it takes years of unlearning, of shifting below the should, have to’s, you cannot do that’s….to get to our purpose. The place where finally we can give ourselves the full permission to say YES…this is it.

In the mean time we may find ourselves purpose surfing…which is how I have lived much of my life…

Maybe this…no…not that….

Maybe this…no…not that..

Repeat…and repeat…and repeat.

Nothing wrong with this, for each experience brings us more clarity about what is and is not a fit for us.

Yet there is also a deep frustration that comes with purpose surfing. My father knew his purpose before he was a teenager…his whole life was a clear path and direction…or so it seemed to me.

I lurched from purpose to purpose…hoping…hoping…that this would be it. Perhaps part of this hope was also connected to a belief that on finding my purpose I would also get the ‘lights, camera, action”…flamboyant success..the fame and fortune.

With the wisdom of age, we can look back on our life and identify that even what looked like being off purpose, was in some way…on purpose. That anything that did not look like fame and fortune didn’t mean I was not living my purpose….

We also get to that place where finally we say…screw it…I don’t care what anyone thinks…what the rules are…where the constraints are supposed to be….this is what I am going to do ..so either come with me or get out of the way…

The  danger of purpose surfing is when we really don’t have a high commitment to what we are doing. When we are ‘filling time.’ I‘ll ride this wave all the way to the beach, and then take the next wave…because I don’t know what else to do. While we may accidentally and seemingly randomly find our purpose this way…we know the difference between filling time and seizing the day.

To really embrace our intention to live on purpose is a high commitment, requiring deep alignment between our skills, our passions, our work, our desires.

When someone is living a life of authentic purpose they transmit an energy about them that transcends words.

I propose that most often this kind of purpose and alignment is available to us earlier in our lives that we think. To really connect with this though requires some rigorous self inquiry, which few people are interested in engaging in.

What do you think?

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Photo credit: Steve Corey via CompfightCreative Commons License

PS. This blog title was inspired by my conversation today with Robb Smith for the podcast episode Friday 3rd October 2014.

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