How to Discover Your Unique Mission
A business cannot function without a mission statement. Neither can you.
Everything in existence has a reason for being, a raison d’etre, a central mission that it — and it alone — has to fulfill and around which all of its energies revolve: the sun’s mission is to shine; the water’s is to hydrate; and the bird’s is to fly. Every creation knows its mission and exists solely to fulfill it.
Every human being also has a mission. But the human is unique: whereas all creations except for humans have been told their specific mission, the human being has to figure it out. Indeed, the human even has the luxury of denying the idea of a mission altogether. It would have been nice if we came with an instruction manual stating our mission. But we weren’t! The fact that we don’t have that luxury tells us that part of the mission is to discover the mission on our own.
A mission statement is not generic but is one that is unique to YOU. Unearthing your own mission is no easy feat. Thankfully, we are given many signs and directions on how to do so.
POPP is an acronym for Personality, Opportunity, People, and Places. These four things are the POPP of your life—they can help you discover and implement your mission. These four dynamics contain a myriad of valuable information.
Therein lies the key to discovering your particular mission: Look closely at your life experiences and you will see patterns emerge that will direct you toward your calling.
You have an inimitable personality. Your characteristics—both innate and cultivated—define your unique nature. The way you think, the way you feel, the way you dress, the way you communicate, the way you look—these are all attributes exclusive to you.
All the details of your temperament and disposition—both the positive and the negative, both your qualities and your weaknesses—are all signposts leading you to your mission. You can bet that your mission includes utilizing your positive attributes while cultivating your negative attributes to refine yourself and the world.
Self-awareness is the first step in mission-awareness; self-discovery is the first step in mission-discovery. Know your own unique personality, and you are a step closer to understanding your mission.
Example: An artist could use his skill to open up people to new ways of looking at life. A sensitive soul must utilize her empathy to give people hope.
You were blessed with particular opportunities. Family and friends provide various connections, which can open up all sorts of opportunities. Education is another source of unique opportunity, as is also the resources you have earned or inherited. Different offers will come your way throughout your life. Your family’s business, a friend’s introduction, even a seemingly “random” encounter may bring you new opportunities.
You have many opportunities, be they professional or personal, earned or inherited. When recognized for what they truly are, these opportunities become fundamental markers to discovering and fulfilling your mission.
Example: A physician can illuminate the Divine Image of global human body by understanding the Divine Image of the individual human body.
If you have a trust fund, trust that it is there for you to change the world.
If you work in a cubicle, you spend a lot of your time at the water cooler. Share a meaningful tidbit at one of your many rehydration breaks and your mission might just bubble to the surface.
The people you have met and will meet in your life—family, friends, co-workers, even so called “random” encounters with strangers—all carry sparks of ignition that can further direct you in discovering your mission.
These people have their strengths and weaknesses. The fact that they are part of your life means that your mission includes dealing with them, even if the relationship may be a challenging one. In addition, you learn lessons from these people, which teach you about your mission. Any one of these people can also be mentors, helping you discover yourself and your calling.
Example: Your mother-in-law may be there to keep you humble.
Your mailman may teach you that you too are delivering some sort of message to some specific address.
The trials of life that your best friend goes through might teach you about your own capacity to help others.
The places you have been—where you live, where you travel to, are part of your POPP. The routes you take add another dimension to your mission’s mapmaking. Each place has its own character and offers unique possibilities. Even a seemingly inconsequential detour, even one that frustrates you, may be an integral part on the path to your mission. Wherever you are is where your mission is.
From the mission’s standpoint, when you find yourself in a certain place, you literally find yourself in that place. And finding yourself in a certain place is also discovering your mission in that place.
Example: If you live in a tiny apartment in an urban building, invite your floor to a monthly meaningful gathering. If you live in a big house in the suburbs, maybe that extra bedroom is waiting for a guest.
Traveling to a country in which the culture is totally different from your own can show you what you truly value and don’t value.
YOU ARE CO-MISSIONED
The first step in accomplishing your mission is to identify what your mission is. Finding your mission is a challenge because you were not born clutching a paper that says, “Your mission is this-and-this.” Animals have it easy—their missions are pre-programmed into them. Yet, you as a human are not just another creation. You were created with a human soul and with the capacity to reason. You maintain a special kind of dignity, the kind that comes with the ability to make choices, which is unique to humans. As a human, you have the unique ability to look at your POPP (your personality, opportunities, people and places) to find out your unique mission. The fact that humans do not come with instruction manuals is a sure sign that finding our missions is part of the journey.
It may take some work to review your POPP. It’s always a good idea to consult with an objective friend who can help you look at these four areas, and see how they define your mission. The more you invest in this discovery, the clearer your results will be.
Once you come to recognize your calling, all your tools and resources will take on a new and focused direction. May you be blessed to discover and embrace your mission and implement it in your daily routines.
In fact, you can say goodbye to your routines, for when you know your mission even the most basic activities are charged with meaning.
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