What is Your Purpose?

How many times have you read or been told, “You need to find your passion?” 

We have all heard someone say something similar and it is true, but I think it is more important to discover your purpose.  When I was 18 I was passionate about personal training, then at 24 it was teaching, and at 27 it was helping orphans in Haiti. 

My passions changed but my purpose always remained the same – helping people.  I have always felt called to help people whether it was in the gym, a classroom, Haiti, or now with businesses.  If you want to maximize your potential, then you need to find your purpose and realize your passions will change over time.  To better understand my purpose, here is a short story . . .

It was a late afternoon in Gonaives, Haiti.  I was leading a summer internship with a non-profit, Coreluv International. Jake, the director of operations in Haiti who oversees Coreluv’s orphanage and guesthouse asked me to take the trash from the guesthouse to the dump.  I said yes, and had my life changed.  With help from some of the teenage Haitian boys that work with Coreluv, we loaded up the trash in the Coreluv truck and started to drive out of the city.  This was my eighth trip to Haiti, but this was my first time taking the trash to the dump.  I was having fun with the boys as we were joking and listening to music.  They directed me down the road and I cautiously drove through the local market until we hit the main road out of town toward the dump. 

The view was spectacular as in front of me was the Caribbean Sea and behind me was Gonaives.  As we approached the dump I slowed down to make a left turn off the main road.  To my right was a shanty town, one of hundreds I have seen during my travels to Haiti.  Kids started to run towards the truck which is a common occurrence when a blan (white person) approaches.  I was used to kids running towards the truck and continued to slowly drive.  We made it to the “dump” which was an open dirt field off the main road. 

When the kids arrived to the truck they did not come to me to ask for anything, but instead leaped into the back and started to unload the trash.  They threw the bags over the side of the truck and then immediately tore into the trash bags looking for food, clothes, or anything they could sell.  My heart sank and tears begin to swell in my eyes.  I have witnessed heart-breaking events in Haiti, but this did something different.  I was spiritually and emotionally wrecked.  In an instant everything made sense, the local shanty town “survived” off the dump, kids came anytime trash arrived in the hopes of some resources or food.  We quickly left as it was not the safest place to be for an extended period of time, and drove away in silence.

That experience eventually led me to start my own consulting company, Elisha Consulting, in order to assist non-profit and for-profit organizations.  My purpose has always been to help others, and the above story helped me re-focus my life and magnify my purpose as I was too concerned with my passions which seemed to change each year.  Have you ever asked yourself, what is your purpose?  Go beyond your passions and really take some time to understand your purpose, what experience has revealed your purpose and how will you fulfill that purpose?