Life’s Purpose

George was an indifferent student.  He had gone to college hoping to find a career, but he really wasn’t interested in any of his courses.  When George returned home in the summer, he didn’t expect to return to college.  But all that changed when the father of George’s best friend died.  His friend was a Little League baseball coach and asked George to substitute for him while he dealt with the loss of his father.  George agreed.  While George had played baseball, he was never very good.

But life sometimes takes unusual twists.  George was a natural coach.  The players responded to him very well and began to achieve at a much higher level than before.  And George found something he could be excited about.  He returned to college with a purpose and a serious interest in working with youth.

Fifty years later, George was a legendary coach.  No one had ever coached so many state championships.  It didn’t matter the sport or whether it was a male or female team.  But more important were the careers of his former players.  George could point to a number of players who had become leaders in their chosen profession.  He had fond memories of where they were when he started coaching them, and how far they had come.

Finding one’s life purpose is not something you can put on a schedule or plan.  It just happens.  But you have to be alert to possibilities as they arise and venture beyond your comfort zone.  Your life’s purpose will be very surprising to you and quite different than what you might have imagined.

As we are confronted with a different world arising from the COVID-19 virus, maybe it is a good time to reflect on our life’s purpose.  New opportunities may arise as the world adjusts to new realities.  Finding a more meaningful life’s purpose may be an antidote to any doubts we may have about how we best use our talent.

Having a life’s purpose can change everything.  For George, he went from being an indifferent student to the top in his class.  In effect, having a life purpose refocuses your work to a passion.  And that passion drives you in excelling at everything you do.

Finding your life’s purpose is a singular pursuit.  It’s not something that others can find for you.  However, those who know you well can hint at directions you might pursue.  The reality is that many will find their life’s purpose as a matter of fate, just as George did.

When you talk with people at the end of a career, it’s striking how many of them had successful careers but never had a life’s purpose.  Why might that be?  How might we help people reduce the barriers that keep them from finding their life’s purpose?  Or accepting a life purpose they might never have visualized?

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“True happiness…is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”  – Helen Keller

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