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How to Discover Your True Life’s Purpose

We all have a unique purpose. Exodus 9:16 says, “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” There is a greater purpose at work than your personal happiness or satisfying ego. Sometimes we resist our purpose because it doesn’t seem convenient or because it won’t look cool on Instagram. But you can’t argue against your purpose. Michael Jordan, although one of the best basketball players of all time, will never do a back flip on ice skates. And I will never dunk a basketball.

Purpose is the difference between a pipe dream and a goal worth all the sacrifice it will take to get it. Purpose is the difference between ego telling you to do something and God telling you to do it. Purpose is the difference between waiting around for your big break and understand what it actually takes to make you a champion. Each of us was put here with a unique and specific purpose, and that purpose will drive us toward our goal if we can determine what it is.

For most people, the answer comes to mind right away. But if you’re having trouble, my guess is that it’s because your purpose is being drowned by the sound of the critics in the back of your mind, telling you that you’re too tall or too short or that you don’t have the background or the training or the pedigree to do what you were made to do. Let me be the first to say that if you were made to do something, none of those qualifications matter. I’m a prime example of this.

Have you seen the popular movie, Rudy, about Notre Dame football player Rudy Ruettiger? It’s an amazing story and another perfect example of what I’m talking about. Rudy was told he was too small to play football, that he was not smart enough, that he’d never make it on the team. At first glance, you might say Rudy’s critics were right. He was too small to play football. He was only five foot six, nearly a foot shorter than some of his teammates, and only 165 pounds. But Rudy wasn’t willing to accept this as his final answer. He knew his purpose was to play Notre Dame football.

So he chipped away at his weakness. Little by little. One by one. He put in the work–more work than most of his teammates–and finally earned his way onto the field. He was never going to be the best player. But that didn’t matter. Nothing was going to stop Rudy from achieving his goal. Not his critics, not his brothers, not his dad, not the other players.

Because the goal wasn’t to become the greatest player of all time. The goal was to prove to himself that with heart and dedication, you can really achieve anything you set out to do. And Rudy proved to all of us that when you know your purpose, there are no limits to what the human spirit can achieve.

Sometimes our purpose is obvious. Michael Phelps was built to be a swimmer. Michael Jordan was built to be a basketball player. Sometime our purpose is less obvious. Was I built to be a skater? Not necessarily. But I wasn’t willing to give up. And neither was Rudy. What we shared was a deep knowledge that nothing could get in the way of achieving our purpose on this planet. If you know your purpose, nothing can stop you, either.

If you don’t know your purpose, here are some questions to ask yourself. What do you love to do? When are you happiest, most excited, and most engaged in what you’re doing? What are you gifted to do? And how can you turn that into something meaningful for your life and for the world?

Some people argue that they don’t have a gift or that the only thing they love to do is sit around and hang out with their friends. My pushback to them is always to dig a little deeper.

Are you naturally good at telling and understanding stories? Pay attention to that. Are you seven feet tall? That’s significant. Are you naturally good with children? That’s a gift. Lean into it. If we can stop for a moment and be quiet, we can hear through the noise of the world and take stock of our natural gifts and capabilities. There, we find our great purpose.

Reprinted (or Adapted) from Finish First: Winning Changes Everything © 2018 by Scott Hamilton. Published by W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.