I was talking with a dear friend and former client the other day, who was questioning whether she should persist in an activity, because it was frustrating, had intermittent periods of success and caused her to question herself. Have you ever had this happen to you, and maybe felt a strong desire to quit?? I wouldn't have blamed you, and yet...purpose demands that we go through hard times on our road to fulfilling it...why is that?!?
I liken the process to a Blacksmith and a raw bar of iron. If we are the iron that the blacksmith is going to forge into a shining and strong sword, then you know what we must go through, right? We must be shoved into a bucket of hot coals, then just as we breathe a breath of fresh air, we are pounded between a hammer and an anvil to form our shape. Once we start to cool, it's back into the hot coals! Doesn't sound fun, right? I mean, who would sign up for that willingly?!
And yet, to pursue our purpose, if that is what we really want to do, then that is EXACTLY what we are signing up for - a continuous forging that forms us into shining and sharp swords.
When we study our purpose, it's like sitting in the hot coals: it's a period of heavy self-evaluation that can sometimes be so confusing, and yet so intense.
When we start to make the changes in our lives requisite for a fuller expression of what we're learning our purpose to be, it's like the pounding between the hammer and the anvil. Tom Rath, in StrengthsFinder 2.0 says that we are born with raw talent (raw iron), and we need time and experience to perfect our talent into true strength.
And the cycle continues: it's back into the bucket of hot coals, because the changes we implement cause us to learn more about our purpose, which then requires more change, and on and on, for the rest of our lives!
Interestingly enough, I read an article on sword making by blacksmith Steve De Long who says that the unique "mixture of hard steel and soft iron makes for a resilient weapon that can withstand the shock of battle without bending or breaking and hold a keen edge." But this doesn't happen until that raw bar of iron goes through the process multiple times!
If you're going to go to the trouble of pursuing your purpose, wouldn't you like to embody the kind of resilience that would allow you to "withstand the shock of battle without bending or breaking and hold a keen edge"?
Personally, it's why I've kept at the very difficult task for the last 10 years. I've experienced marginal success, I've been on Food Stamps and I've lost my house, and yet...I am so much stronger than I was 10 years ago. I've experienced amazing progress in my mental discipline, and I now feel ready to take on the number of people I want to help, because of all that I've been through.
What have you been through lately that could help others? That might be a clue to your purpose. Despite all I've been through, I would do it all over again to have these kinds of results: to "withstand the shock of battle without bending or breaking and hold a keen edge."
Have a great life, by giving great value through discovering and living your purpose.
If you want some help in doing so, check out my Udemy course here: Find Your Purpose; Transform Your Career