Finding purpose in the process, rather than purpose in the product…. WHEW! That’s a tough one, am I right? I think we’ve all been there (on the struggle bus with this that is). Everywhere I look, people are striving for an arriving, that seems to always fall a little short.
So what does it mean?
Finding purpose in our process, rather than our product, means that we can be on the search for contentment, joy, peace, and growth right where we are. It means we no longer seek our value from the end results, and instead learn to value the growth and transformation that happens along the way. It means letting go of the expectations that achieving some sort of end goal is going to mean you have “arrived.”
Not to break your heart, or burst your bubble, but we never truly “arrive.” We always think we do, only to get there and realize there is still SO MUCH MORE arriving to do. I heard it said well last night while I was at a panel of mental health professionals that “we are always becoming, we have never become, but always becoming.” And guess what?! – It is so true! We truly are always becoming, and always arriving. Once we meet the goal set before us, there is still work to be done on the back end, and I think we often forget this.
Keep going, keep growing!
Once we lose the weight, we’ve got to maintain that physique. Once we start the business, we have to keep it running. Once we get married, we have to continue learning how to love our partner well. Once we become fully licensed, we have to continue educating ourselves. Once we book the trip, we have to go. It is all growth. It is all progress. But that’s just it – it doesn’t end.
Creating goals, creating vision is really great. In fact, in most cases, necessary to help us grow. However, it’s the expectations and values we place on those goals that makes all the difference. White knuckling our way to a supposed finish line does not allow us the time and space to really live with true joy and contentment in the parts of the process it takes to get us there.
How do we do this?
So how do we do this? How do we find purpose in our process, rather than equating our purpose to our product?
Well, I think we’ve really got to build a solid awareness around it first. First, you have to be able to acknowledge to yourself that you are putting your hope and worth in some sort of end result, rather than allowing the process to be the growth. Once you can acknowledge this, then you can move forward.
How do you move forward? You begin to add self-evaluation into a routine part of your week, month, and year. Self-evaluation is the tool that brings you back to the perspective that helps you live in your process rather than your product. Self-evaluation can look like creates scales for yourself, it can look like simply journaling, it can be asking a friend to hold you accountable, etc. The point is, it will look different for everyone. This is YOUR PROCESS, not your neighbor’s.
Once you self-evaluate, you’ve got to create some sort of plan of action for yourself. Maybe this looks like saying a little prayer, or mantra, to get you re-focused. Maybe this looks like creating space for rest. Maybe it looks like creating space for your creativity. Maybe it looks like changing those goals, or creating more step by step goals that align with your values rather than huge over-arching goals that force you to compromise on your values for the sake of a goal. Most importantly of all though, is that it takes a sense of doing SOMETHING about it.
If we constantly move through life only striving after some end result, we may find ourselves waking up only to realize that we aren’t actually satisfied with that thing anyway. So ask yourself, are you finding purpose in your process or are you equating your purpose to the product?
If it’s the latter maybe it’s time to bring awareness, self-evaluate, and lean into the here and now.
If you need support with this, please reach out. Find a therapist, find your tribe, find the people who care and want to live in this here and now with you.
LCSW, CPT, RYT200