As an artist, there may be something you’re missing that’s completely derailing your creative efforts. But it’s not a lack of time, money, or talent. It’s not even a lack of the right platform or the right friends. It comes down to a lack of purpose.
The most powerful creative tool at your disposal is knowing your life purpose. Your life purpose gives you direction. It helps you to say “yes” to the right things and “no” to the wrong ones. Knowing your purpose can give you more peace, joy, and satisfaction than almost anything else.
But how do you discover it?
It’s a Process, Not a Moment
There is a popular notion that we discover our life purpose in an instant. It’s easy to believe that if you just meet the right person, read the right book, or have the right experience that it will all click in a single instant.
But it’s a rare person who has a life-changing moment of insight like this. Most of us discover our purpose over a period of time. We figure out who we are through the process of trial and error, failure and success. It’s not a moment in time, but rather thousands of moments over time, that help us refine a vision and purpose for our lives.
As you create, serve, and connect with others, you begin to have a clearer sense about what you were born to do, and why you were born to do it.
Think of your life purpose as a statue carved from a slab of priceless marble. With every failure and success, every creative endeavor, every new experience, a little piece of the marble is chipped away until nothing is left but a unique, beautiful creation.
My Life Purpose
It took me quite a while to be able to articulate my life purpose. It involved a lot of dead ends and wrong turns, but also triumphs and successes.
Here’s my life purpose:
I help people unlock their God-given creative potential.
That probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but it means a great deal to me. It gives me direction, focus, and energy. Just as important, it helps me say “no” to things that don’t align with my purpose. It’s a great thing to know who you are . . . and who you’re not.
If you haven’t given this much thought before, here are a few questions to spur your thinking. Think of these questions as chisels that chip away the excess and show you the true person inside.
- What are your creative gifts? What are your talents, skills, and abilities?
- What do you enjoy doing? When you have a day off or a week of vacation, how do you spend your time?
- If money were not a factor, what kind of job would you have? How would you spend your time at work? Have you ever said, “I’ve always wanted to be a _______”?
- What kind of books do you read? This points to how you think and what your mind is drawn to.
- What is your favorite movie? Think about the story and the themes. Why does it resonate with your heart?
- What times in your life have been the happiest? What were you doing? Whom were you with? Why do these memories bring you so much joy?
- What makes you cry? What breaks your heart? What problems, situations, or injustices in the world upset you?
- What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel free? When do you feel like you’re doing what you’re born to do?
- What are you known for? What is your expertise? What do others complement you for? When others ask you for advice, what topics do they usually discuss?
- Who are your heroes? What qualities do they possess? Why do you think you are drawn to them?
These kinds of questions will help you get to the heart of who you really are and what you were born to do. Don’t overanalyze your answers or think about them too much. The questions are just designed to give you a basic snapshot of your heart and soul as an artist.
Frederick Buechner describes a person’s calling like this: “We should go with our lives where we most need to go and where we are most needed.”
Where do you need to go? What are your talents, experiences, personality, creative gifts, and other trustworthy people trying to tell you? Where can you make the biggest impact with you art?
Have you discovered your life purpose? How did you go about discovering it?