As he stood before Pilate, Jesus made a powerful declaration:
For this I was born, and for this I came into the world… (John 18:37)
That’s a clear-headed statement by a man who knew where he was going and what he wanted to do. In making this declaration, Jesus clearly and confidently asserted that his whole life had been preparation for this moment. This moment was the climax toward which his entire life had been building. In offering this bold assertion, Jesus demonstrated that he not only knew who he was but why was. He had a firm grasp on his “this.”
Isn’t this something we all want? Don’t we want to know why are? Don’t we want to find our “this”? An executive coach surveyed her clients about their goals and aspirations. Right at the top of the list was an expressed desire to find an overarching sense of purpose. Beyond making a living, her clients expressed a deep desire to make a life, a life that added up to something significant. They wanted to find their “this.” I bet you do, too.
In that light, let me offer a few suggestions on how you can find your “this.”
To find your “this” it’s imperative that you uncover the things that make you “you.” What sets you apart from others? What makes you unique? This exercise requires an honest appraisal of our strengths and gifts and owning what we find. Most of us can generate a long list of our deficiencies, and it’s important we come to terms with those. Nevertheless, finding your “this” demands that you identify your strengths and claim them. Your “this” grows out of your gifts and capabilities. Your “this” requires living into your strengths more than trying to fix your shortcomings. In that vein, knowing what you can do is far more important than knowing what you can’t do.
Paying attention to what gives you delight and jazzes your soul will also clue you in to your “this.” Where do you find your deepest sense of satisfaction? What makes you glad to be alive? What do you do that results in an emotional payoff? You were meant for something, and when your life aligns with what you’re made for, there’s joy, delight, satisfaction, and fulfillment. When you do something that brings that sense of joy and delight, your life is speaking to you. In the words of Parker Palmer, the Quaker activist and author, at that moment your life is “telling you what it wants to do with you.”
Finally, experiment! Finding your “this” is a process of discovery and development. In that light, finding your “this” is like trying on clothes. You pick something off the rack. You take a look in the mirror, and say, “Nope! Too baggy. Too tight. Not me.” Eventually you grab something, try it on, and it fits. It feels good, and you look good in it. That’s how you find your “this”: by trying on different things. This trial and error process isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary.
Nothing is more important that finding your “this.” So, try out the suggestions here. Talk to others who demonstrate that they know the why of their lives, and ask them how they got there. Do everything you can to find your “this.” And, when you find your “this” give yourself to it wholeheartedly. That way, when you come to the end of your days, you’ll be able to declare with great satisfaction, “For this I was born” and you will leave this world better than you found it.