How to Find Your Purpose When What You Do…Is “Everything”?

How to Find Your Purpose When What You Do…Is “Everything”?

Written by Guest Contributor

Topics: Guest Posts

Hey guys, it’s Emilie.

A quick note before we get on with today’s fantastic guest post.

I tend to shy away from discussions about “purpose.” The word is so often used in a narrow, restrictive, singular sense (i.e. her purpose is to be a pilot, his purpose is to be a playwright, etc.) The conventional understanding of purpose is not very multipotentialite-friendly, so when I hear people talk about “finding your purpose,” I’m always a little wary.

You know what I do believe in though? Meaning.

I think we should all seek out meaningful pursuits and projects in our lives. But that meaning doesn’t all have to derive from one source.

I also believe that there are themes running through our passions–themes that tie our disparate interests and experiences together, guide us when we’re deciding what to pursue next, and provide this meaning. I call these themes our “Whys.”

So yeah, I’m not a fan of the typical discussion around “finding your purpose.” I don’t even really like the word PURPOSE.

However…

Last week, puttypeep Kiki posted a discussion in the Puttytribe forum that I thought was so profound and helpful for multipods. I really liked her interpretation of “purpose.” It’s really similar to what I mean by a “Why.”

The Puttytribe is usually quite private (we want it to be a safe space for multipotentialites) so I reached out to Kiki and asked her if she’d be okay with me sharing her post publicly on the blog. Thankfully, she said yes.

Take it away, Kiki!

**

In response to this post by @EmilieWapnick …

I’d like to share my “one piece of advice” for multipotentialites.

It has to do with finding our “purpose.”

As multipotentialites, we’re constantly expressing and cycling through multiple talents and abilities.

Like a kaleidoscope of potential and possibility.

Some kaleidoscopes turn faster than others. Some turn more slowly. The pattern shifts and changes over time. Over a year…over a day…even moment to moment.

Because of these multiple active potentials, these various interests and abilities, it can sometimes be difficult to identify our higher–or deeper–purpose. Leading some to feel confused or lost.

After all, what are you “here to do” when what you do… is everything?

Here’s my advice. But I’d like to pose it as a question:

What if your purpose is not something you declare, but something you discover? Something that emerges over time?

As multipods, we have multiple talents and abilities, constantly blossoming and developing and expanding. They’re like our superpowers.

But what if our purpose isn’t our abilities? But something above and beyond them? Or something deeper within us?

Just because Superman could fly, that doesn’t mean his purpose was flying.

Likewise, what if our superpowers are just the vehicle to get us to where we’re meant to be? To help us fulfill our higher purpose in the world in a grand and powerful way?

What if our purpose is something even deeper and more intrinsic to who we are?

I mean, it’s in the words.

SUPERPOWERS

S U P E R P O W E R S

S U P E R P O W E R S

P U R P O S E

PURPOSE

Consider this…

I’m still reflecting on this myself…

Even though my “superpowers” are writing, philosophy, art, analytical thought, information design… I think my purpose is creating powerful transformation in people’s lives.

I realize that I’ve felt most alive and excited and plugged in…

…whenever I’ve used writing for this purpose.
…whenever I’ve used philosophy for this purpose.
…whenever I’ve used information design for this purpose.

I love my “superpowers.” They’re a part of me and how I show up in the world. But they take on an entirely different feeling and meaning when I get to use them in this powerful way.

Your Turn

What do you think? Do you consider yourself to have a purpose? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Nkiruka (“Kiki”) is the creator of Bootstrap to Breakthrough, the 4-week adventure coaching program that helps “innovators, dreamers, and badass visionaries” invent a different kind of life beyond the status quo by finding the tiniest actions that have the biggest impact on their life and results. Connect with Kiki on LinkedIn.

Could you use some amazing support + accountability as you build a life around ALL your passions? Learn more about the Puttytribe and join the community on May 1!

28 Comments

  1. Yostina says:

    I agree with you Kiki, the purpose IS NOT talent and skills, it’s meaning and something higher than the tools we use to achieve it like writing, art, design… etc.

    • Carole says:

      As far as I am concerned I think that my purpose is to feed my deep deep needs .
      Everything I do, even the worst , awful acts are done to feed my very deep needs .
      I an actually to find out my very deep needs and Hanks to very powerful danse processes , I can explore my needs closer and closer .
      My body is the only one which knows the way to fulfill my needs ! Certainly not my brain, especially multipotential one !

  2. Rafa says:

    That’s very well said! I tend to lose track of this whenever I dive too deep into something (in fact, I did no later than this week -_-). I’m also like a sponge when it comes to people’s judgement: I internalize this even if I don’t want to. When people tell me to pick one of my talents and make a career out of it, I have goosebumps, but I’m always pleased when people just notice that I’m good at something. Like “Wow! You’re good at drawing!” weighs more than “Wow! Your drawings are awesome, you should totally be an illustrator!” I feel that’s too restrictive. In the video and as you said, talents might just be the transportation, I see them as tools. One might want to make a living out of hammering things, but the more tools you can use, the more things you can create and the more diversified it will be. I don’t know if it makes any sense.

    • Kiki says:

      Hi Rafa!
      Makes total sense :) Superman was “really good at” leaping tall buildings, lifting heavy objects, and flying… but none of these were his purpose. They were *how* he achieved his purpose…. to save lives and watch over the city.

  3. Stella says:

    This is a wonderful article, thank you Kiki! It’s good to play around with the received wisdom of what things like ‘purpose’ mean, and see where we can find resonance with our multitalented selves.

  4. Cindy says:

    “Just because Superman could fly, that doesn’t mean his purpose was flying.” Those words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the reminder that what we CAN do need not be a directive for what we SHOULD do.

    • Kiki says:

      Cindy, thank you for your heartfelt comment… I love thinking of it this way. Feels even more powerful. And liberating. Like: “Flying” is cool… but “saving the world” is AWESOME. (Whatever “saving the world” happens to be for you.)

      ;-)

  5. Kay says:

    Thank you. I have been struggling with the myriad things I can and could do and you focused me back on what I stand for as a human being…pushing boundaries and inspiring change. What and how I do that doesn’t actually matter ?

    • Kiki says:

      Hi Kay… this is awesome. What does pushing boundaries mean for you? What’s the most exciting version of that? (There aren’t really any rules.) One game I like to play is: “Don’t look for clarity, look for excitement.” What opens you up and makes you feel alive? Where does your excitement live?

      xo
      Kiki

  6. K.C. says:

    Great post, as usual! This actually confirms a part of my daily prayers that I changed sometime ago from ‘Thank you Father for showing me what my true passion is (was only writing-now Freedom) and my purpose (was becoming an author-now Self expression i.e. author/writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist) in whatever way I choose that makes me happy and fulfilled, for however long. Thanks Emily and friends for taking the negative stigma away from being a ‘multi-pod’. Keep up the Great work! :)

  7. Melissa B says:

    The following quote sums up what I believe my purpose is or what brings meaning to me in this life.

    “May I become at all times, both now and forever: a protector for those without protection; a guide for those who have lost their way; a ship for those with oceans to cross; a bridge for those with rivers to cross; a sanctuary for those in danger; a lamp for those without light; a place of refuge for those who lack shelter; and a servant to all in need.”
    Shantideva

    Looking at my skills and talents as my superpowers in service to my “purpose” is really awesome! I also like Emilie’s spin on that it being more about what brings meaning to your life instead of what is your purpose.Thanks for your insights Kiki!!

  8. Linda U says:

    I love this site! I am about to be a senior in college and I recently found out that what I thought would be the job I wanted, which was everything I have been working towards has a burn out rate so high that people generally do not stay in that job for more than 3 years. I have so many interests, and I am just attempting to create a different job that incorporates another piece of my passion to make a job that is needed, but is yet to be a position. I made a new group on LinkedIn to try to draw interest to this new position, but it is not taken off as I thought it might. I have the passion to help people with disabilities, especially since I am blind myself, I have so many other things I am passionate about as well. What should I do?

    Blessings,
    Linda U

  9. michelle vogelsang says:

    Ahhh this is pure gold, thanks Kiki :)

  10. Ryan says:

    Wow! Very deep and reflecting, yet easy to digest. I think purpose, and often times passion, are spoken to us. We listen politely but really don’t act upon these words coming from others. I agree that as we move, grow, experience that we discover unique things that make us.

  11. Vivian says:

    You could not have explained it better Nkiru. I am a multipotentialite as well. But even for those that specialise, this will go a long way to help clarify the confusion with purpose and ‘why’ etc. Thank you for this gem.

  12. Jed Pike says:

    You just broke it all down. After delving into multiple interests for a time, one’s goalsbegin to come clear. I think the whole definition of purpose/passion is built on this 1 to 1 ratio: 1 interest/skill/trade to 1 goal. But being a multitalented and multifaceted individual allows one to essentially redefine that ratio. Your post basically extracted the composite ability of the multipoentialite: the ability to channel all the diversity of their minds into a goal or purpose. The experience is surreal when you realize that you have the ability to create a link between disciplines; the ability to channel your abilities.

    • Kiki says:

      Yes!

      Multiple superpowers…

      {e.g. flying, leaping tall buildings in single bound, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive}

      …serving a higher purpose.

  13. Milly says:

    Thank you Kiki! That was exactly what I needed to hear.

    I feel like I keep getting lost down these rabbit holes – pursuing something just because I’m “good at it”. Then I start to lose interest because there’s no sense of purpose at the end of the day. I thought all this time that I needed to change what I was doing – find something new to pursue, but really I need to find my sense of purpose.

    • Kiki says:

      @Milly

      Hi!

      What if instead of trying to “find your sense of purpose”
      …you follow your sense of excitement?

      Almost like a trail of (electromagnetic) bread crumbs?

      What excites you?

      And then… what excites you even more than *that* ?

      Send me an email if you’d like to talk further.
      nnwasokwa@gmail.com

      xo

      Kiki

  14. Jacqueline says:

    Oh Kiki, you got me really thinking!!! Thank you for sharing such a powerful message!

  15. Asha says:

    Love this! I definitely needed to hear this now. In college, I used to root my purpose too deeply into dance and leadership (which were what my extra curriculars revolved in). I strongly believed those two were my calling in life and was what I was meant to do. But right after graduation, I fell into a state of being so lost and confused because I felt like I was losing that sense of purpose, simply because my world was no longer in dance and leadership. Day by day, and in little moments such as this, I’m learning to appreciate opening up to another season of my life that can bring me closer to my purpose <3

Leave a Comment