060 – Discover Your Purpose at the Intersection of Passion, Proficiency, & Pain

How to Discover Your Purpose

Discover your purpose and the value you are to contribute to the world. In this episode we discuss your purpose zone discovered at the intersection of passion, proficiency, and the pain in the world you are compelled to resolve. 

Discover Your Purpose at the Intersection of Passion, Proficiency, & Pain

Sooner or later we have to discern and act upon the reason we are in this world. I’ve seen a lot of people search their entire lives and never really come to the place where they had insight into why they are here.

We want to fulfill our purpose and we hope our purpose matters. How do we know our sweet spot? How do we know what we were created to do, at least in this season of our lives—because seasons do change? How do we step into our zone?

There are three things that converge to identify our zone, our sweet spot, our purpose; they are, our passions, our proficiencies, and the pain or problems in the world we feel called to solve.

How to discover your purpose

The place where the three circles overlap, or converge is our purpose zone.

What’s Your Passion?

Unapologetically, “passion” is one of my catch words. I will admit it, my life’s calling is challenging, inspiring, helping, and prompting people to discover their passion, their purpose, their “why” in the context of God’s design for their lives. I am pumped up about being a step-ladder, a mentor, a coach, and a resource for leaders, particularly younger leaders, who feel a sense of God’s destiny on their lives and they want to identify, understand, prepare for, and step into their purpose zone.

Passion is your ignition. Passion, we believe, comes most perfectly from the Presence of God, our time spent in relationship with God through prayer, listening, journaling, and growing. Passion is a powerful motivator.

Passion is what we care about. It stirs us to our core. It challenges us. We can have many passions in life, some of them are just for fun, some of them calm us down and give us rest, but some of them are a fire in our belly that propel us into the fulfillment of our purpose.

I am passionate, at differing degrees, about a lot of things. I’m passionate about taking a day off and resting and recalibrating. I’m slightly passionate about the guitar and ukulele to a bit lesser degree. I’m passionate about a lot of things in life.

So, what’s the passion that matters to our purpose?

Every passion is a clue as to why we were created, but some passions are more central to why we draw air into our lungs several times a minute. The passions that are most important to our purpose are those that converge with our proficiency and with a pain point or a problem.

A passion is something we feel drawn to do, a proficiency is something we are good at, and a pain point or a problem is something that begs solving.

What’s Your Proficiency?

Again, I have a lot of passions, but I am not proficient at all of them. I mentioned that I love playing the Ukulele, but I promise, I will not change the world or have much influence through playing the Uke. I am not proficient enough and I am not passionate enough to press much beyond where I am. It is for my own enjoyment.

I’ve spent a good part of my lifetime developing certain proficiencies. Writing, resourcing, speaking, listening to the heart of God, coaching, mentoring, leadership development, organizational development, systems, structures, paths, etc. I am a gifted prophetic strategist. I smiled when I wrote that, because I have a hard time admitting what I’m good at, but I think I am. I do not really see where the Uke intersects with any of those strengths.

Sometimes, when your “why” is big enough, it drives you to develop proficiencies. That’s what’s happened to me. I was so passionate about some things that I pushed to get better at them.

One of the gifts my dad gave me was this one thought, “The first guy to do something didn’t know what he was doing either.” In other words, if anyone else can learn to do something, if I want to learn it bad enough, I can learn it too.

To develop proficiencies…

…you’ve got to try,

…you’ve got to push,

…you’ve got to immerse yourself for a period of time.

One shortcoming of some leaders is having a deep desire to to accomplish something, but an unwillingness to pay the price to learn the associated skills. A worse leadership shortcoming is taking short cuts, learning just enough to get by, and thinking they know more than they do.

Where do your passions and proficiencies intersect?

What’s Your Problem?

… or at least one you feel passionate to try to solve.

Being a world changer requires a problem. What’s the problem to which you are called to respond? A life “purpose” means you were put here to solve a problem. What’s the problem? It could be that there’s not enough color or music in the world and you are called to solve that problem. It could be that the problem you see is lives in need of transformation.

A problem I came to feel passionate about was watching good people genuinely called to make a difference in the world struggle in putting a plan together to get from point “A” to point “B.” Sometimes they needed a resource, they needed a coach, they needed encouragement, they needed a path. That’s the problem I feel called to address, to help leaders fulfill their passions.

Several years ago I joined a Master’s Degree program at Regent University to gain a Masters of Organizational Leadership with a 15 hour graduate level emphasis on coaching. Why? I had a passion, I saw a problem, and I needed more proficiency to effectively bring solutions to that problem.

What’s the problem you feel called to solve? The better you articulate that problem the better you will be at fulfilling your purpose in being a catalyst for solving the problem. It’s a calling.

You see, I believe you were born to contribute to the betterment of someone’s life. How? For me it was a decades long journey of refining my understanding of why I am on this planet. There are a lot of applications for my strengths and a lot of ways I can fulfill my purpose, and I trust God to lead me into the very best ways, methods, and contexts in which he wants us to fulfill that purpose.

I finally figured out why God put me here, and I found out by observing my passions, by developing proficiencies, and connecting those things to a problem, or a pain point I could solve.

Calibration Tools… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead

  1. List your passions. What are the things you love and are passionate about? Obviously there will be some things on the list, like maybe chocolate or coffee, that don’t apply, but don’t be too quick to dismiss something you love as being outside the realm of convergence.
  2. What are your proficiencies? List your skills, your training, things you’ve taught yourself. What are you really good at that could add value to someone else? Again, don’t be too quick to dismiss skills that don’t seem to immediately converge because they might when you take a step back and look at them.
  3. What needs in the world move you to your core? It could be an injustice, someone’s pain point, or just something you feel passionately called to solve. List out the things that move you. We all have a lot of things for which we’d like to be a part of the solution.
  4. Prayerfully place your lists before yourself and look at them. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you as you look at those lists. You may want to rate the items, you may want to star or circle the ones that move you the most.
  5. Look for convergence. Look for alignment. Look for opportunities where your passion, proficiency, and a problem for which you care deeply converge and align.
  6. Know this will be a work in progress. Identifying your sweet spots is just a first step in discovering your Purpose Zone.

Finally…

You will find your purpose zone where passion, proficiency, and problem come together. You have a lot of things that you love, but you aren’t good at all of them, at least yet. You have some proficiencies that have nothing to do with the core of your purpose (I’m pretty good at laying ceramic tile, but it’s not my core). There are a lot of problems you will never touch, you aren’t supposed to touch them, they belong to someone else, you are not the savior, you cannot fix everything.

Where your passions, your proficiency, and the problems you see and are passionate to solve come together, that will give you insight into your purpose zone.

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