Personal purpose is so much more than a tool to promote oneself. It is personal, which means it is built brick by brick from the very real, very personal parts of your life’s story. It has threads to weave and dots to connect between the challenges you’ve faced, the pain you’ve endured, and the beauty you’ve excavated from the ashes.
The reality is that our professional lives are hungry for meaning. We want to work and make a difference in what we do every day. But how do we know what it is we are truly contributing to the world? How can say with absolute clarity what our purpose is, what we are meant to give back?
The best way to know for sure is to know your story. To know the shape of your narrative—how you moved from seeing yourself as one way, to seeing yourself as the person you are today, and all the little fissures and fractures in between.
Writer Natalie Goldberg gives perhaps the best advice for finding your story: “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
How many times have we resisted the act of being split open? How many times have we worn the mask, hid our feelings, or pushed down the pain? How many times have we tried to forget what happened to us, placed our story on a shelf, and kept moving forward full-steam without a glance backward? How many of us have kept our failures and fears in the dark because to bring them into the light might shatter our image of ourselves? How many of us have stood on the sidelines, too afraid to get hurt that we never try in the first place?
And yet, to uncover and articulate our purpose is to be willing to be split open. Because all of life carries moments that fracture us, and allow our courage and our grace to stitch us back together again.
Maybe you are resisting revealing your true personal purpose because your story is hard, or maybe because your story is full of blessing. Maybe you feel shame, or fear, or any other combination of difficult emotions. But the willingness to try to find it far outweighs the feeling. To be split open is to live fully, live vulnerably, live truthfully to who you are and who you are becoming. To live.
by Kelsey Schurer, RTC Story Coach