Stories: My Way to My Purpose
BY: Joanne Trina Moreno • Dec 16, 2019
To be a “ray of light,” one person at a time
This is my working Purpose to date. I was able to come up with this purpose statement, through the stories that I recounted to a group of people.
Stories… that is where I have found “home.” I have always made use of stories, as my anchor to both my personal and professional life. It took me quite a while, to realize this. Maybe it is like that when you do your thing like it is your second nature.
To illustrate, allow me to present to you about how I made use of stories in my life. I have been a preschool teacher for a long time. I have made use of a number of stories to teach, to entertain, to emphasize a value or just as part of the conversation. I am now proud to say that I have shown such creativity in doing so. I dress up, I use technology, I roleplay, I draw, and I have made use of a number of other tools in telling such stories. You see, storytelling is not just about storybooks. It is about creating a new world and novel ideas.
Seven years ago, I gave birth to a little princess, named Purple. I have not just used stories for the reasons I mentioned earlier, but have made use of stories to do more… to threaten, to scare, to show my deepest love, among others. I have indeed extensively expressed my creativity again, through stories, as a mother.
As I moved on with my career, I have also seen myself making use of stories. As a psychologist, I use it in therapy, in assessments and in interviewing clients and their family members. I have immersed myself in working with children and teens in shelters, as both a resident and volunteer psychologist. I share and listen to stories of house and shelter staff as well. It was and still is, my way to connect with them.
Interestingly, stories have also gained “popularity” in the corporate world. I have been fortunate enough to be part of a series of workshops, wherein stories take a major part in crafting the “purpose” of an individual. This further validates that yes, the use of stories is all-encompassing. It does not choose social class, age, or any category that we wish to label ourselves.
So how do we come up with this “purpose” through the stories that we tell? How can something that can supposedly be very spontaneous, turn into a “guiding principle” for an individual? Allow me to indulge you with the following insights:
1.Our Purpose is greatly anchored on our childhood dreams.
A lot of our hopes and dreams may be traced back to our wishes when we were young. What were the things that you loved doing? Who were the people you enjoyed doing this with? What did you want to become? These are just some of the questions that may cover your “childhood stories.” It will not be surprising, however, that some of us, if not most, are really far from what we “used to” want to be. But it would be worth your time, to look at the trend of your story. It does not need to be the exact profession or craft, but may have something to do with particular activities that point to what you are currently doing. Aside from that, it would also help to look at your current interests and hobbies. Do they somehow align, with your childhood dreams? Do you see glaring patterns? These are questions that could help you as you craft your purpose.
Aside from the content of your childhood stories, be aware of how you feel, as you recount your childhood memories. It could be both positive and negative, yes, but somehow, it allows the “child” in us to come out. It is also an opportunity to look at how our childhood has molded us, into who we are now. And such awareness, is such a significant hold, with how we intend to continue with our Purpose.
2. Our strengths that come out during adversities are strong building blocks for our Purpose.
We all have our own stories of challenges. We bring them with us, whether told or untold. As we narrate these stories, however, we will have an opportunity to see ourselves in a different light. Why? Because we see ourselves as the main character, who has undergone such battles. Of course, it would have been difficult to see it like this, during those particular times. But as we tell these stories, we could see how we created solutions to predicaments or how we continue to overcome these obstacles. Nevertheless, it gives us a clearer picture of ourselves, as we identify our strong points. It is through this way, that we are able to identify our vigour…through the endeavours that we partake. We may consider these strengths as futile at the moment, but as we continue with our story, it will allow us to realize that yes, we did pull through after all. And yes, we have these strengths that we could now consider as strong foundation to our Purpose.
3. Tell your story – have an audience.
Telling our stories, in itself, is a helpful process as we draft our Purpose. There are a number of ways that we may do so. The advent of technology has given us a number of platforms to storytell. It is important, however, that the venue has an audience with a non-judgmental orientation. It is a challenging pre-requisite, but it is possible. By allowing yourself to be heard, you will also have the opportunity to hear others’ perspectives based on your narrated story. The questions that the audience will ask, may possibly allow us to see things differently too. It will help paint a picture that we ma have possible ignored or considered, or maybe we were just unaware of such. Therefore, there is value in telling our stories, as we continue to draft our Purpose.
4. Just like our chronological age, our Purpose takes on a developmental trajectory.
Our Purpose may vary across time, as we continue to live our stories. We are not bound by a single Purpose, as it may take a different course. Since we construct our Purpose based on the stories that we continue construct, our stories may also follow suit. A new mother’s Purpose may take on a new direction. It does not discount, however, the other aspects of her life. In fact, she may extend such new found purpose to her professional life. Therefore, one should not be wary that his/her Purpose will be taking on another course. It is just validation as well, that changes and development is a natural human course.
5. Our Purpose is very personal… just like our stories.
No one can dictate our Purpose for us. It is a personal decision and commitment. It is bred from our personal stories that we have slowly built on as we live our lives each day. It is empowering. It must be clear then, that it is also up to us, with how we live up to it. We owe it to ourselves, with how we continue to live our Purpose in the different aspects of our lives. It is then imperative, that we revert back to our Purpose, when things go wayward. It may come in the form of a loss of a loved one, heartbreak, or an expected promotion that has been set aside. Our Purpose may be blurry during such times, but a strongly grounded Purpose will eventually pull us right “back on track.”
These were the realizations that I was able to gather, as I listened to stories of people, with the goal of “refining” their Purposes. It allowed me to have an overview about how stories could be a necessary ingredient as we cook up our “life compass.” The experiences varied. Some were able to draft their Purpose easily, while some took them days, some weeks, and some are still drafting it until now. What’s important is that, people have been made aware of the value of having a clear Purpose… and this may be crafted through the stories that they construct.