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Purpose on Our Steering Wheel

To most of us purpose might seem abstract and something we might see in inspirational posters and hear in motivational speeches. Finding our purpose may commonly mean that we know what we are meant to do on the path laid before us, and to keep following that vision with unwavering commitment. However, there can be much more to defining purpose.

Similar to happiness, purpose is not a destination, but a journey and practice. Purpose is an ongoing process that we create, and not something we seek. It is something we find within ourselves, recognize and cultivate rather than wait for it to come our way. Regardless of our situation, when we are willing to explore our priorities and try to become the person we want to be, we derive purpose.

Accommodating our skills and interests into our identity can be key to pursuing purpose. While purpose can feel like an exciting adventure for young people who might try interesting courses in college or hobbies, purpose can be relevant for adults, especially during a time like this. Cultivating purpose adds meaning and colour to even the most menial and ordinary activities in a day. This sort of engagement grounds our identity in the things that we value.

Over time our priorities can change which impacts shifts in our purpose. We face transitions, whether it is adjusting to online school or transitioning back to in-person activities, adjusting schedules and careers or going through life events such as an illness, divorce or even shifting into a new neighborhood. During these times we may need to reflect and reprioritize our needs. Having purpose attached to our individual needs can support us in handling the change that is before us.

Here are some ways in which we can recognize and acknowledge our purpose: 

Reading: Selecting a book, an author or an interesting topic to explore can open the door to finding something that resonates within us. Joining a book club, or finding a friend to read with can help you stay with the habit.

Gratitude Journaling: This can be at the start or the end of the day. Keeping a gratitude journal where we can note down all the things we are grateful for each day/week can help us stay focussed on the good. This process also helps free or evacuate difficult feelings or thoughts.

Building relationships: Social support helps us thrive during stressful times. Connections build and reflect our identity. Sharing our story with significant others can give us a sense of belonging and can remind us of our own purpose.


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