An easy tell regarding how well we understand the idea of Soul Purpose is to look at the disconnect that we have between a role that someone plays in life (mom, dad, accountant, police office etc.) and how that relates to their actual purpose. Roles are not purpose and purpose is not one specific role. We see this mistake made constantly and it is most prominently on display in the world of professional sports.
I started thinking about this when I heard that Chris Chelios (NHL superstar, future hall-of-famer) was going to play minor league hockey for the AHL's Chicago Wolves at the tender age of 47. Chris played 28 games last year in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings. I do understand that part of Chris' reason for still playing is that he loves the game. The other reason is that I think that Chris (like a lot of athletes) let the sport that they compete in define them as individuals. Hi, I'm Chris, the hockey player. In reality Chris is much more than that.
I define Soul Purpose as being similar to a companies mission statement except that as souls, we answer to a higher power than a board room. It is similar in that it is the overall mission with which we can live our life. A company has several different roles that people play to carry out the mission of the company. The same is true for us as individuals, we can play many different roles to express our purpose as well.
When we look at people we know,we make the mistake of defining them and ourselves for the role that is played. We look at someone who is good at being a mom or good at being an accountant and then say that they were “born to do that”. Being a mom/dad or an accountant is not a Soul Purpose. These activities are just roles that allow us to express our gifts and talents to the world.
Look at other athletes outside of sports.
Magic Johnson- Successful business leader. See any similarities between his leadership today and leadership with the Lakers?
Troy Aikman- Great quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and now a successful football analyst for Fox. Any similarities? A quarterback needs great awareness and vision. These are some of the same skills that Troy uses to be a great analyst.
Let's look at Michael Jordan. Here's an example of someone who has really struggled (in my opinion) to make a significant impact outside of basketball. I believe it's because Michael can't get past seeing himself as a basketball player. His recent hall of fame induction speech is proof of that. It's the most painful speech to listen by anyone who has achieved at a high level.
Take some time and think about what your purpose is and the different ways that your purpose can be expressed. I have a ton of respect for Chris Chelios and how he played hockey but when you can no longer compete at the highest level, it's time to move forward and discover some things about yourself that may surprise you. The same goes for the individuals who stay at a job just to collect a pay check or limit what they can do in life based on their perceived limitations. Move beyond that thinking and understand that discovering and living your Soul Purpose opens up your life to many different opportunities and roles to achieve success.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.