Allow Your Purpose To Be Different Than You Planned


By Kate Kole

At 14, I imagined that I’d someday be a sports reporter.

By 16, I dreamed I’d own a bakery.

And by 18, I decided I’d become a counselor.

At 30, I’m technically none of those things. That fact threw me off-kilter more than a few times over the last decade. I spent many restless moments struggling with the feeling that I hadn’t quite achieved what I once envisioned I would. I’ve compared myself, questioned my choices, doubted my potential, and ultimately, I’ve lacked the clarity I’ve longed for when those familiar, nagging, unsettling middle of the night questions have popped into my mind: What’s my purpose? Why am I here? What’s my role in this world? Where do I fit? Who am I supposed to become?

The truth is, I don’t always know. And those initial questions often lead to a handful of other ones: Am I doing enough? Is yoga enough? Is fitness enough? Is writing enough? Am I good at what I do? Should I be doing something more?

After a lot (some may argue too much) reflection, I’ve come to believe this: knowing the answers to all those questions isn’t necessary in order for me to act meaningfully, show up lovingly, listen generously, speak compassionately, and live a life of value.

The solution to my state of wondering if my life is one of purpose isn’t necessarily to be more, it’s simply to fully be.

And the beauty in that discovery is that I can do that as I am, right now, regardless of the fact that I haven’t yet “made it” as an on-air personality, pastry chef, or psychologist. I can do that as a girl who still loves talking about sports, finds joy in baking, and feels fulfilled while helping others, regardless of the job title on her business cards. (Just kidding, I don’t even have business cards).

I can do it the same way that my sister does, as she sends me little care packages “just because”, or as she tosses on a volunteer coach t-shirt, with soccer balls in one arm and juice boxes in the other.

I can do it the same way that my husband does as he texts me at lunchtime to ask how my day is going or as he offers to go pick up the ice cream I’m craving at night.

I can do it the same way that my best friends do as they remember important moments in my life and take the time out of their schedules to check in on mine.

Perhaps what I need more than a designated purpose is intentional presence. To notice when people need help, to offer encouragement, to extend compassion, to practice contentment. Maybe what I’ve gotten distracted, down, and lost looking for out there isn’t really out there to be found. It’s here. Now. Within me. In front of me. Around me. Just waiting for me to open my eyes to see it, my ears to hear it, my heart to feel it, and my hands to serve it.

It’s in you too, ingrained in your existence. Embedded in who you are as a human being. Present in the smile you extend to strangers, and the thoughtfulness you carry into your relationships. In the moments witnessed by the world, and in those that no one else sees.

The reality is, our purpose isn’t always what we think it will be. It’s bigger than that. It’s transcends our jobs as they shift and evolve. It exists even as plans change and life happens. It’s not contingent on any one thing we’ll ever do, accomplish, or become. And the sooner we figure out that it’s not something we have to go out in the world and get, the sooner we can start making a difference as we are right now.

{featured image via pexels}

One thought on “Allow Your Purpose To Be Different Than You Planned

  1. #themaskwriter says:

    this is such a wonderful post! thank you for sharing your thoughts, sometimes i feel lost because i don’t have the job title i think i’d have by now. and this is a reminder that it’s ok.


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