What is a life mission?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life mission lately.
I’ve been engrossed in Richard N. Bolles manual for job hunters and career changers, ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’. Richard is famed for his ‘flower exercise’, where he takes the reader through a number of exercises which gets you to reflect on different aspects of life to try to establish what your dream job might be. Petal four asks the reader to think about what their life mission, or purpose is. Our mission could be career related, or it could be something outside of the world of work, such as raising children, voluntary work, or something else entirely.
When I first read through the exercise, I just sat staring at the page. The other exercises in the book had been easy to complete, but this one had me stumped. There I was, at 36 years old, and I had no idea what my life mission might be.
In some ways I guess I’ve always gone with the ‘go with the flow’ approach and therefore I’d never really stopped to think about what my purpose may be. How do you even begin to work this kinda stuff out?
I spent a couple of weeks mulling this over as I continued to read the rest of the book.
I started to think about what I felt most passionate about and what excites me the most.
Up until a couple of days ago, I was still struggling to get my head around my mission. But then it struck me like a lightning bolt. I’ve come to know this feeling well over the last few years, and the feeling is typically too strong to ignore.
Although I was born into a Christian family, my family aren’t particularly religious, but I can’t hide from the fact that over the last 5-6 years I’ve often felt like I’m being guided by some other force. Call it religious, spiritual, weird, whatever you like, but it’s a feeling I can’t ignore.
Two things have really stood out for me over the last few years:
- My passion for writing
- My desire to help people
My passion for writing
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. At primary school I remember being commended for my poems and stories. At secondary school and university, it was my coursework which scored me my highest grades, because it gave me an opportunity to carry out research and then write to my hearts content (within a word limit of course!). After uni, I desperately wanted to become a travel writer. I even wrote an article following a snowboarding trip to Switzerland, and sent it to a snowboarding magazine.
I didn’t have the finances to travel back then, so I quickly abandoned that idea.
However, I never really stopped writing. Whether it was writing letters to family and friends, or more recently moving into the wonderful world of blogging, I just get so much from writing. It allows me to minimise the amount of clutter in my brain, whilst also giving me a voice.
Of course people can still ignore what I have to say in my blog posts, but I’ve started to build up a loyal following, both here on WordPress, and also on social media, which gives me the confidence to keep on writing.
That moves me on nicely to my desire to help others.
My desire to help people
Prior to my trip to India, I had started to consider a career change. I was sure that I wanted to do a job which was more fulfilling. I decided it was time to give something back. The charity sector seemed quite appealing, so I decided to give this some more thought while I was away.
On my last day in Udaipur, I went to see a palm reader. He explained that I have what is called ‘The a Ring of Soloman’, which is a sign of being on Earth to help people and to share wisdom. This seemed to back up my thoughts on finding work within the charity sector
On my return from India, one of my followers contacted me to let me know how much my blog posts had helped him to get through some dark times. My blog had helped him find hope and motivation to change his mindset and to get his life back on track. It was a powerful moment. I’m so grateful my words helped him, and I’m incredibly humbled by the experience. This experience made me start to question whether the help I was able to offer people could be in the form of writing as opposed to, or as well as, working in the charity sector.
A year ago, I wrote a blog post called Dreams. In that post, I wrote about the fact I had recently had an epiphany whilst getting some winter sun in Portugal, about what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t elaborate at the time on what that career might be, but in my heart I knew it was to write. But again, for some reason, other than continuing to write for my blog, I ignored the signs.
With the lightning bolt sensation I experienced just a few days ago, I can no longer ignore this feeling.
Writing is such a broad subject, so I wouldn’t say that discovering my life’s purpose has helped to solve that particular hurdle, but it has at least made my purpose much clearer.
Now it’s time to take action and to start actively looking to fulfil my life’s mission.
Could religion really be behind our life mission?
But before I do, I just want to go back to the religious element I touched upon earlier.
Towards the back of ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’, there is a section which links religion to finding your life’s mission, and it really got me thinking.
What if our life purpose is decided for us before we are even born? What if every hurdle we face, we have to chose from different options, or different paths which in return bring us closer to or further away from our life purpose, dependent on which path we take? What if we are all here for a reason? What if life puts various crossroads in our life to see if we are ready for our next challenge? To decide whether we are ready for our dream career? To see if we are deserving of carrying out our life mission?
I certainly don’t have the answers to these questions, but it is some interesting food for thought.
Have you discovered your life’s purpose? Or your dream career? How did you come to realise what your purpose or your life mission was? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below 😀