When I was a small child I remember saying to my mother in earnest, ‘I don’t know what God wants me to do.’ A teacher must have told a story from the bible which I took to heart. I would have been about seven-years-old. I remember clearly being anxious that I had an important purpose in life but could not recall what it was. My mother made light of my remark as she tucked me up in bed, but that thought stayed with me.
Finding our life-purpose sounds terribly grand and noble, but all it means is discovering who we are meant to be. We each have a unique combination of attributes. The way that we see the world. Our life experience. Talents, knowledge, and networks. Like the seed of a plant, our DNA has within it all that we need to become our unique self.
Imagine your life like a story. There are clues dropped like breadcrumbs; you are not the reader but the protagonist of this story. Have you ever visited a place and had an aha moment as though you recognise its significance? This has happened to me throughout my life, whether it is a place of work or somewhere that I will one day live. The relevance of that spark is not obvious at the time but later when I find myself back there, I realise why I felt a connection. Maybe the same is true of the people that we meet.
Following on with the analogy of our life being like a story, I want to share with you another observation. I believe that when we get to the end of our life and look back, it all makes sense. How we got to where we needed to be. Why things happened as they did. If you are going through a dark period in your life, turn the pages knowing that all will be well.
But I digress. There are other signs for us to follow. When I am deciding whether a job is right for me, I ask myself, does the prospect of this job make my heart sink or sing? I apply this to any big decisions. Trust your heart. When your heart soars you are on the right track.
I was recently asked to address a conference of public sector workers on my transition from working in health and social care to becoming a full-time author. I am sharing with you an extract from my presentation, as these words clarified for me the values that have shaped my life.
My life purpose has been one of championing and enabling people who feel disadvantaged. I spent my career trying to improve people’s experience of care. I chaired boards, wrote national reports, talked with ministers, and in recent years wrote many Safeguarding adult reviews and domestic homicide reviews. My head and heart are filled with the stories of people who have experienced and, in many cases, overcome adversity. In my local and national reports, I strived to give a voice to those people.
Now I am a full-time author my purpose has not changed. In fact, I feel compelled to release those voices. To give them life and to write them a happy ending. They are still clamouring to be heard and unless I get them down on paper, they will continue to hound me. I don’t write to try and change the world, or to deliver a message. I write because it brings me joy. I hope that the immense pleasure I get from writing my novels is experienced in some way by the reader. If in reading about my protagonists’ lives, I stir some empathy or shine a bit of light that brings hope then I am grateful.
I have often said in my blogs that a seed is sown in our hearts by our creator for us to nurture to fruition. Like the sap which rises in plants as they prepare for growth in the spring, the idea becomes a passion and drives us on a path to succeed and fulfil our dream/goal. Noticing this energy, what excites us and makes us happy helps us to find direction and purpose.
Do what you love, because that is what you will be good at, and in turn, you will be successful.
At seven years old I recognised the importance of finding my purpose in life, even if I did not know what it meant. Every one of us is unique. We each have a valuable contribution to make. Do not compare your path to anyone else’s. Follow your heart and believe in yourself because you are awesome.