When we feel we belong, when we feel we have purpose, we thrive. Not only do we feel more motivated to do our daily tasks, but we are also less likely to get stuck in depression or remain discouraged when various things in life don’t go our way – because the external events don’t take you off course from your purpose.
Even if our set goals don’t work out as planned, we still see the bigger picture – the bigger PURPOSE, because goals aren’t our purpose. Goals are bullet points you put in place that enable to to act on your purpose.
Your purpose is why you are here. Your purpose isn’t limited to one thing either. We can have many purposes in our life. Our purpose(s) aren’t what we “should” do, either, but rather what we feel in the depth of our heart, what we are called to do. And sometimes that isn’t always in line with what we want to do.
One of my purposes in life is to be the best mom I can be to my kids: to make them feel that they belong, to feel that they have a forever home, and to feel that they have an unconditionally loving and supportive family. In order to fulfill that purpose it takes work. I have to do things I don’t want to do, and be patient when I’m reeling inside and exhausted. I have to be a kind, loving, and cooperative co-parent with their father. That brings me to the other purpose: to be the best teammate I can be when working in collaboration with others.
When working on a team, this means I have to be considerate of their needs, wants, feelings, and also be patient and forgiving with them. If they slack off or drop the ball sometimes, I can extend compassion and patience, because I would want to be afforded that same level of patience and forgiveness when I inevitably screw up.
Being a good teammate is a learned skill. We aren’t born with it. It takes practice. In order to fulfill my purpose I have to practice it daily and look for opportunities in how I can apply it in my every day life. When I’m driving, I’m technically “collaborating” and working as a team with other drivers on the road to drive in a manner that does not reject their needs, desires, or safety. To do so I must be the best driver I can be. I should not text and drive, drink and drive, speed, or drive distracted, because to do so prioritizes MY desires over theirs, which is not good teamwork.
But putting others first NEVER means putting myself last. Being a pushover does NOT make a good teammate, because that would mean I’m lying to myself and others, and liars don’t make good teammates. When my teammates are not being a good teammate, I don’t need to hold resentment, because it is MY goal; it is MY purpose to serve as the best teammate, and my purpose may or may not be theirs. There is no “me” in team. It’s “we”. If I am thinking about doing something and my mind goes to, “well, what am I gonna get out of this?” it is best to simply not do whatever it is I was thinking of doing, because to do something in expectation of receiving something is NOT love. It is NOT good teamwork. I do it because it is in me to do it, because I want to do it, because it is action I choose to take (or not) to fulfill my purpose. To give with expectations of getting something in return is just begging to break my team with my bitterness and resentment. In being a great teammate, I know that my goal is not to shove the burden of carrying my emotional baggage onto someone else.
If I want to connect with them, and to share my feelings about their behavior, I know that the way I do that can be the way of a good teammate (loving, compassionate, open-minded, inquisitive, honest, and vulnerable), or like a bad teammate (accusatory, withdrawn, and resentful). Obviously, if I know what my purpose is, I know what I need to do.
Part of being a good teammate is being a good listener because it sends the message: what you have to say matters to me. Not just because I care about you, but because if I can’t understand you or where you’re coming from, I can’t serve my role as a good teammate very effectively. Being a good listener requires that I listen with the intention of understanding; not to judge, or respond, or defend my position.
The list goes on and on about how I can be a good teammate. But the point is, when we focus on our purpose, everything else just seems to make sense. Everything else just seems to “fall into place” just as it should. Every action or event in our life seems to perfectly serve our purpose. Every moment, every micro-moment, and every person that comes in and out of our lives has come to help you fulfill your purpose. Sometimes we think if they are not doing what we want them to do, they are not being a good teammate to us. We think they are trying to prevent us from achieving our goals. But what if we just changed the way we looked at things?
If you try to change the way you view the world, there is never a dull moment! Each opportunity is another grand opportunity for you to challenge yourself, to practice and polish your skills at whatever purpose you have, and become truly successful and fulfilled.
At some level, I guess I always knew what my purpose was. It was just a matter of focusing on myself through workshops, readings, and simple meditations to bring it to the surface and start living it. I applaud you for the strives you are making, as I believe there is nothing more fulfilling than living a purposeful, non-judgmental life.
Thanks Bill. It sure helps me put things into perspective when my over-analytical brain starts taking control! haa
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