The Stream of Purpose

In my experience, I’ve noticed people tend to live a relatively binary approach to life. Either we are happy, or we are sad. We’re having fun, or we’re bored. We’re right, or we’re wrong.

We view purpose much the same. Either we are living a life full of purpose, or we are not.

In a recent post, I wrote about purpose as a theme. Purpose is not a vocation; rather, your vocation could be the mission of living what is the theme of your purpose. For instance, if the theme of your overarching purpose is to serve women to live extraordinary lives, you will potentially express your theme through various missions in your life. You will go through seasons of your life (like raising a young family) where the theme of your purpose is still alive and well, but your missions are few and far between. In other words, just because your job isn’t satisfying your purpose, doesn’t mean you still can’t live out your purpose.

Living your purpose is not a binary event. I offer you to view your purpose as a stream--your stream of purpose. Some days, you dip your toe in your purpose. Other days you’re fully immersed. Yes, you can treat the stream of purpose as binary: either you get in, or you don’t get in. That’s still your choice, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can decide to walk in the stream of your purpose for an hour a day. For me, that means getting up in the morning, setting aside an hour to write as I am doing now. As I write, I’m in the stream of my purpose.

You can dip your toe in the stream every day by taking in content that is related to your purpose, such as, reading a blog in the morning. You can walk across its rocky river bed to the other side as you go to work while listening to a podcast that relates to your purpose. Or, you can get in and float for an hour every day as you take one of your direct reports to lunch and pour into them.

Living your purpose isn’t binary. You don’t have to quit your day job to live your purpose. You can choose to dip your toe, wade across, or even get in and float for an hour or two every day. For the mom who wants to serve other women, she leads a women’s bible study, she is in a women’s book club, and she meets with women for lunch throughout the week. She may not be in her stream of purpose all day long (though that’s possible too!), but she is in the stream of her purpose often throughout her week and her day.

For the woman above, her purpose theme is serving women. My purpose theme is connecting people to their True North. What is your purpose theme? And what would it look like for you to dip your toe in, wade across or float in your stream of purpose? What would it look like for you to commit to increasing the amount of time you spend in the stream of your purpose?