Episode 12: Finding Your Unique Purpose
So many of us worry about finding our ONE grand purpose in this life. We worry that we won’t find it, that we missed it, that maybe we might not even have one. In today’s episode I talk ALL about finding your unique purpose. I teach you about the three kinds of talents and how to discover your purpose in a matter of minutes with my Purpose equation. Tune in! You will NOT want to miss this one!
I’m Hannah Coles and you are listening to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast episode number 12: Finding Your Unique Purpose
Welcome, my friends! Super happy you’re here with me! I love hearing from you each week. It really brings a smile to face to hear that you’re listening and applying and all the changes and successes you’re having in your life because of the podcast and these tools. So amazing. You guys are awesome.
This past weekend our family went out on the lake for the first time this season. We love being out on the water and try to go as often as we can so as it’s starting to warm up we were excited to head out there. The weather was perfect. Super warm, slight breeze but I tell you what, what water was ICE. It hasn’t been warm enough to heat up the lake so I got in a total of one time for about 5 minutes and four and a half minutes of that was trying to figure out how to get back on the boat without getting anymore wet than I was. My husband anchored it as close to the shore as he could but it was super rocky so he couldn’t get too close and in my mastermind I hopped off when it was pretty close so I wasn’t going to get too wet – like ICE my friends, it was was ICE but part of me still hopped that maybe I’d get used to it or find that it wasn’t that bad. No, it was bad. It was freezing but when I hopped off the boat I also moved the boat further away from the shore so then I was staring at the boat like willing it to come back to me. It didn’t work. I got more wet than I intended and screamed loudly because that water is quite the shocker how cold it was!
Do you know who you are?
So a few consistent things that always happens when we go out on these lake days is that one, someone always asks if they can take something home – a rock or several, sticks, living creatures, this time it was a 30ft log that was floating close to shore. Two, my kids always scheme and dream if we can turn our house into an exotic zoo like the house we pass each time we head up. There’s a house with lots of land and all kinds of creatures roaming about freely so inevitably my kids dream about how we can do the same. We can’t. We’re not, I should say. I have enough to take care of as it is. And three, there’s always someone within the first 15-20 minutes of being out on the water that starts belting the, “Who Am I?” song from Moana – you remember the one where she sings, “I AM MOANA” – yep, every time and we love it.
Finding Your Purpose
I actually really love that movie and the themes involved. I love the idea of learning more about who you are, what your purpose is, and how to feel fulfilled. This is also a common theme that pops up in my line of work. As human beings we struggle sometimes to find our place, to know that we belong, and that we have something of value to share and offer with the world. There are a lot of women who worry that they don’t know what their purpose is. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t know if what they’re good at and already doing IS what their purpose is – are they doing it? Is this how it’s supposed to feel? What if I’m just good at this but I’m missing my TRUE life’s purpose?
Some worry that it’s too late for them, that somehow they missed their chance. Others worry that they’ll pick the “wrong” path. They worry that what if there isn’t any real path for them?
Like, who am I to do anything? Or what do I have to offer? Do I really matter? Does the world really need me? I’m not really good at anything, maybe I don’t have a purpose?
This is what I want to focus my message on today. I want to answer all these questions and put your doubts and insecurities here to rest so that you can move forward with faith and certainty that yes, you matter. Yes, you have something to offer (many somethings actually), yes, you have purpose, and yes, the world truly does needs you.
Who Am I In This Huge World?
I know so often it’s easy to think about how we’re just one person in this world of 7.5 billion people and think, do I really matter?
I remember going to southern CA to the science center the first year they brought in the Endeavor space shuttle. It was huge and amazing to see and learn about and while we were there we saw the Hubble documentary in their IMax theater. I was blown away by the footage and just seeing our galaxy and the images that Hubble was able to capture. Looking at the vastness of the universe and the countless stars and how massive each one is in size but from here they look so small. My thoughts drifted to our little planet in this vastness and not just that but our continent, our country, our state, our city, our neighborhood, our home, then me. Comparing it to the whole, It’s easy to feel so very small. Have you ever gone somewhere with a lot of people and thought that each person has their own life, their own homes, their own circle of friends, their own agenda, work, purpose? It’s fascinating to watch and think about but as you look around and see all this, it makes you question how important your role is, who you are, and why you’re here.
You Are Everything
Quoting Dieter F. Uchtdorf he says, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—…This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, but we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast…And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.”
When you’re tempted to feel small, insignificant, or forgettable may I suggest reminding yourself that to God, you are everything. Who you are matters. What you do matters. Let me illustrate this in another light.
The effect of just ONE otter
I recently heard a biologist, Dr. Julianne Grose share this example of the role and purpose of the sea otter. She said, “several studies show that removing the sea otter from its habitat may lead to an increase in sea urchins and a corresponding decrease in kelp beds. This alters wave actions and siltation having dramatic impacts on the species present in the sea habitat…
This inter related nature of life is complex and highly variable as is the individual and essential roles that each life plays…Each (person) has a unique and individual role to play. Each (person) has unique talents and gifts that are not quite the same in any other person.”
Some of you may not think right now that you have something significant to share but I promise you, you do. So how do we find our unique purpose? Do we have just one purpose? How do I know if I’ve found it?
Is there really just ONE grand purpose?
First, I want to say that there is a common misconception that we believe this idea that you only have ONE purpose. That it’s this ONE higher calling. I think we’re conditioned to believe this. In books and movies, stories even from true people in history we spotlight their ONE big purpose – it’d be too complicated a story if we tried adding in more so we get used to this idea that there’s ONE grand role that we have to play and when there’s just ONE it brings up a lot of scarcity, fear, and worry. We’re afraid that we’re either going to miss it, miss out on that chance, maybe you feel too old or we didn’t jump on that one opportunity that one time or whatever it is so sometimes we fear that we’ve lost it. Sometimes it’s that we just haven’t found it yet and we’re waiting for that one divine day when it’s going to be dropped in our laps.
Your purpose isn’t just something fickle that you lose or have to wait for that magical day when it’ll be given to you. We are given many talents and gifts and it’s the combination of these that create or build our purpose or purposes. You are not confined to just one purpose. In our lives the unique talents, gifts, and roles we play contribute to MANY life’s purposes. It’s not just one. You don’t have ONE singular thing you were meant to do. You have MANY.
Let me branch off here for one moment and explain what a purpose is. The definition of purpose is:
the reason for which something is created or for which something exists.
Finding what that reason is, is the combination of who you are and everything you’re becoming that helps you build and articulate your purpose, your reasons for being here.
I want to share a really simple formula to discovering your life’s purpose (s). It’s easy to remember so you can check yourself to see if you are indeed fulfilling, creating, developing, building on your life’s purpose. This is the gauge you can use to know if you’ve found it – one of them anyway. It’s called the Purpose Equation adapted from Derrik Drakeford
It looks like this:
Your Talents + What you’re Passionate about divided by the alleviation of Pain = Your Purpose
So Talents plus Passion divided by Pain equals your purpose. Let me explain,
Your unique talents and gifts – whatever those are specifically for you plus something that you’re passionate about can be added together to help alleviate someone else’s pain this can be identified as your purpose.
As A Mother
One of my life’s purpose’s is that I’m a mother. I have four children that I homeschool. It’s not easy. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling when I let it be. The way that I mother and teach my children is unique and special to me. It’s very different than other families and mothers. My gifts and talents are used daily in this endeavor. I’m passionate about helping my children to thrive. I love creating content and finding ideas for how to best serve each one of my kids and through my talents and this passion I help alleviate and sometimes prevent pain for them.
I will point that taking pain away isn’t the sole goal. I believe pain is necessary and part of our mortal journey but I also believe that we’re able to learn from others and help and be helped by others to alleviate some unnecessary pain. If it’s necessary pain, Heavenly Father will certainly make sure we experience it.
Many mothers, especially those with young children might not feel like what they’re doing is their purpose. It might not feel fulfilling. It’s so often a very thankless job and a demanding one. It doesn’t feel like what you’d define as passion but I assure you, you are invested in their lives, the fact that you wake up everyday and think of them, look for ways to serve them, and use your uniqueness to help them, teach them, care for them so that they might be taken care of – hence alleviating their pain. All of this is very definition of purpose.
What Is Passion? What is Fulfillment?
Don’t fret, this is not your only purpose in this life. But I believe it’s one of the most Nobel and divine purposes. So take heart mothers everywhere – you’re doing a good job. A lot of what I hear is, it’s not fulfilling. It doesn’t feel like PASSION. But what is fulfillment? What is passion?
Both are feelings. Passion and fulfillment isn’t something you find or GET. It’s a feeling – It doesn’t come from outside sources. It comes from your thoughts and what you’re thinking about motherhood. It comes from what you’re thinking about what you’re doing. If you think, this is terrible and a waste of my time – whether that’s dishes, cleaning, changing diapers, or settling toddler disputes (or teenage disputes) you’re not going to create fulfillment. You’re going to create dread, frustration, resentment, lack of fulfillment. If you want to feel fulfilled in every area of your life you need to be hyper aware of what you’re thinking about it.
It’s easier to feel fulfillment when you’re being recognized for your work. I have an amazing friend who is just incredible at her work profession. She is also a mother to young children. She used to say that she felt more fulfilled at work than she did at home and I think many people do because you’re getting recognized. You’re talking to other adults. People are more likely to validate you. But part of what’s so Nobel and divine in motherhood is the act of learning how to feel fulfilled without outside validation. It’s learning to create that from within. To recognize how hard you’re working, how many hours you put into doing something for your family and how often you learn to validate and thank yourself.
The Power of Selfives
We love giving ourselves selfives at our house – not selfies although my younger kids love selfies too – selfives are high fives you give yourself for recognizing something that you did, thought, felt, or created. It’s learning to validate yourself so you don’t need others to do that for you. Learning to do this for yourself can also be one of your purposes in life.
Think about it: Talents (whatever you’re doing/thinking) plus your passion (for loving yourself and your family) divided by pain (alleviating some of your own pain and frustration) = purpose.
Part of fulfillment and finding your purpose is to learn to love, validate, and recognize the good in you and that you do in the world. Learn to give yourself selfives! It’s really fun and hard to be upset when you’re high fiving yourself. Try it! It’s so fun.
We have MANY Purposes
We have many specific purposes in our lives and it’s our job to build, create, and discover what that looks for us. Just like the otter and if you took just one otter out of the habitat it would have a drastic effect on it’s ecological environment. We too have divine and specific purposes for our world and in the lives of so many (including our own). You never know who you’re touching and reaching out to.
Why Rubin Carter?
I really love the movie, The Hurricane which we bought edited about the story and experience of the prize boxer, Rubin Carter, nicknamed, “The Hurricane”. In this film, Rubin at the height of his career was wrongly convicted of a serious crime and was sentenced to life in prison.
The film then shows this young teenage boy, Lesra Martin years later who was struggling to read and succeed academically and in life being taken under the wings of this Canadian foster family. At one point they take Lesra to this book fair and he stumbles upon the autobiography of Rubin Carter and takes an interest in him.
He convinces his foster family to look into his case and see if they can appeal to the court. After I think it was eight years of trying to clear his name and many stumbling blocks and obstacles along the way he is finally freed and he summed up his experience by saying, “Hate got me into this place, love got me out.”
I don’t know how factual the movie is other than it’s based on a true story but I will say the characters in the film are inspiring and it shows how interlinked our lives are. That this young man would find a book written by Rubin while he was already suffering in prison and because of his passion for helping Rubin and his talents for encouraging, inspiring, and ultimately convincing his foster family to help Rubin alleviated decades and decades of more pain and tribulation by helping him build a case to free him from prison.
Talents + Passion divided by Pain = Purpose.
At the end of the film it said that Rubin Carter then went on to establish a group in defense of the wrongly convicted to help others avoid the same mistreatment.
Life’s Experiences help us discover our purpose
This brings me to my next point with creating and building our purposes. Rubin Carter would never have created this group or fought for others that were wrong accused had it not been for his life’s experiences. Sometimes we find our passion just by living and trying new things.
I love, love, love teaching. It’s a talent and gift that I have that it comes very naturally to me. I knew from a young age that I loved teaching kids. In girl scouts I was always leading, teaching, organizing activities and such for other kids and I loved it. I had a passion and talent for it. In my last ward about a decade ago at least, I was asked to teach in relief society where the women meet. It was the Christmas lesson so I hesitantly agreed thinking it would be fine. But inside I was kind of terrified. I didn’t know how to teach adults. I was afraid that they’d disagree with me, that they’d be opinionated, or think that I didn’t know what I was talking about – you know, all those doubts and insecurities played out.
So Sunday came and everything that I had thought about and prepared during the week just left my mind. I was standing up there with a room full of curious albeit smiling faces and I didn’t know what to say. I had the manual in front of me and I had highlighted several things but it was like I couldn’t read. I just was a deer caught in headlights. I somehow made it through and did my best to bolt out of the building as fast as possible but no joke as my hand is on the door handle and I’m one step from freedom and relief from my embarrassment the bishop stops me and asks if he could talk to me for a minute. I reluctantly agreed and went to chat with him.
Failure and Trying Again
The first thing he asked was, “How was relief society today?” I think I replied with, “I’m just glad it’s over” to which he frowned at for a moment and then smiled and said, “We have a calling for you. We’d like you to be a relief society teacher”. I was like, “what?! Are you kidding me? This was awful and embarrassing and oh my goodness.” He just smiled ever so kindly and said, “you belong there.” I accepted the calling and taught for many, many years in fact, from that first painful experience I haven’t stopped teaching adults. I love teaching adults. I love teaching in general but I wouldn’t have known that without an opportunity to try it out, to fail, to try again and to succeed. Teaching became a passion for me. I did have a talent in it although it took some time to develop to the point that where I was comfortable. This became one of my life’s purposes.
Get help! Ask Questions!
If you’re unsure at what you’re passionate about, what talents you might have I invite you to be curious, to dream, to try a lot of new things, and to ask yourself a lot of questions to get to know yourself better, to discover talents, passions, and life’s purposes that you might not be aware of yet.
One of my favorite things to do is to ask myself questions. I have a worksheet that I’ll include as a temporary freebie to my email subscribers that will help you discover things about yourself. Things that could be a new passion and purpose for you. So after this episode make sure you head over to the website www.thecatalystcoaching.com and subscribe to get your freebies. Some of the questions include:
What gives you energy?
What do you love to do?
What comes easily to you?
If I had the money I would…
I secretly think I’d be good at…
If I could have any job I would…
If time weren’t an issue, I would…
Three kinds of talents – Do I have any?
What are my doing talents? (these talents include things that you DO – dancing, baking, singing – these are showy talents)
What are my feeling talents? (these talents aren’t seen by all. These talents could include loving, I’ve known people that have a talent for loving others easily – I believe Mother Teresa had this talent and developed it in abundance. It could include empathy, noticing when others are left out. It could be that you’re forgiving, or naturally curious.)
What are you thinking talents? (some of these might include problem solving, organizing, academics, reading. These talents aren’t as showy as the doing talents but they are talents nonetheless)
We have been given so many talents and gifts. We block or limit our talents by putting boundaries or expectations on our talents. We compare ourselves to others and see they’re doing talents and it’s tempting to think that we’re not talented. It’s tempting to buy into the thought that somehow you were skipped over when the talents were being handed out. But when you stop and think about these three areas of talents I’m betting you’ll discover that you have way more gifts and talents than you originally thought.
Questions = Self Discovery
I love asking myself and my clients these and more questions. Questions open you up to self discovery and personal revelation. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can get that freebie and start learning and discovering more gifts and talents that you have and maybe some areas you want to explore that might be one of your life’s purposes.
Allow yourself to dream. Give yourself permission explore what you might be good at, what you might THRIVE at, what that little voice inside is whispering to you to try. And how do you know if it’s God’s will that you do that? Remember, in Moroni chapter 7 we read: 12 Wherefore, all things which are agood cometh of God.
It starts with the spark. The thought, the impression, the prompting that this is something you should explore. Then always pray and ask for confirmation that this is the BEST use of your time. There are many GOOD things that I’d love to be doing and I believe I will do them all someday but I also know that there are things that are the BEST use of my time, energy, talents, and passion right now. That someone needs me right now and for that. I invite personal revelation in. I pray and counsel with God. Note, it’s counseling – talking, a conversation – not, “just tell me what to do” – its a discussion. So explore, discuss, and then go and do. Courage dear heart! (C.S. Lewis)
You didn’t “miss” your purpose
One of my friends went and saw a play and she left feeling a little sad because she had this ache and thought that secretly she believed she’d be good at acting but then she talked herself out of it because she was too old (and she’s not old by the way) but this how we miss opportunities to discover something about ourselves. Maybe something you’d love. Maybe something you’d be good at. Maybe something you could be passionate about. And maybe something you could help alleviate the pain of others with.
I recently read an article about Helen Slayton- Hughes. She did start acting Hollywood until her 70’s. She moved to LA when she was 70 to START her acting career on television.
It’s not too late, ever. If you have that little tug inside it’s there for a reason. Why not explore it? If you counsel with God and find that it’s just not your season to do that, don’t despair – Just tell yourself you have an abundance of time to fulfill that for yourself. It’s not saying NO to it. It’s just saying, not yet. But it still keeps that spark lit.
Get the freebie to help you out!
This week download that list of questions and allow yourself to think, explore, dream and maybe plan how to test them out. We have ONE mortal life. Why not make the most of it? Don’t limit yourself. Explore. Try new things. Learn new things about yourself.
Audrey Hepburn grew up thinking she’d be a prima ballerina. She planned her life for that. She wasn’t accepted into the elite school and company she auditioned for. She was told she wasn’t going to ever be a ballerina. So she turned to stage dancing, which led to acting, which one could easily have said, she had found her purpose and she had. But that wasn’t it. She spent so many years helping and giving aid to many humanitarian efforts.
We don’t have to know everything now. It doesn’t have to be this one time thing, This ONE thing is my purpose. I’m good at it, it must be what I’m here to do. We have MANY purposes. We create passion, fulfillment, and satisfaction by what we think about what we’re doing. Then when we combine our specific and unique talents with that passion to help others and alleviate pain and suffering, that all equals purpose.
CREATE SOMETHING NEW
Spend some time creating, building, and discovering your many purposes here on earth. I love this quote from Morgan Nichols,
“Perhaps the reason why ‘your thing’ hasn’t quite come together like everyone else is because all along, you were meant to create something new. You were meant to do something original that nothing else could be compared to.”
Create something. Discover something new for you. Spend time with it. Think about it. Get excited about it. Combine your natural and unique talents with that passion and bring it into the world to share with others, helping them, lifting them, bringing light to them – alleviating some of their pain and feel proud that you are fulfilling one of your life’s purposes that ONLY you could bring about.
Okay, all I love talking to you. I love that this is one of my life’s purposes. I have such a passion for this work, for these tools, for the value that I offer to you as a coach. There isn’t anything else like it. I invite you to come work with me. Set up a consult call to get a taste of how amazing this work is and how it will help you up level your life so you can create lasting happiness, joy, confidence, and fulfillment into your lives. It’s transformative. Come discover who you could be with a coach – it’ll blow your mind.
Until next week my friends! Have a great week dreaming!
Want the FREEBIE??? Subscribe HERE: www.thecatalystcoaching.com
Notes and Sources:
You Matter to Him – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Finding Your Purpose – Dr. Jilianne Grose