Living on Purpose: Curiosity Required Now


“Purpose almost never lies behind the doors marked, “Be Practical,” “Get Real,” or “Nothing to Fear.” The Universe, aka Mike Dooley

Just because you’re living a purpose-directed life doesn’t mean that you always know what’s next or where you’re going.

I learned a while back, in my slightly-nomadic evolutionary life, that living on purpose isn’t a path that someone would choose if they were looking for traditional success. Not that you can’t have it all, but you don’t go looking in the usual places for the kinds of internal joy and external impact that arise from a life of purpose.

On the Road Again


Not that I would expect this of anyone else, but I’m “on the road” again. After the long drought of connection during the pandemic, and some very clear guidance that it was time to explore where next, I left the San Francisco Bay Area and am currently visiting family near Austin, TX (yes, I’m native-born and no, not the gun-toting type.)

So far so good. My cats are becoming veteran travelers. After one week I haven’t overstayed my welcome. There’s a bountiful blessing in being in proximity with people you love that has evaded some of us in the pandemic. Sharing home-cooked meals and long hugs is my favorite new pastime.

It’s been more than 7 years since I arrived in the Bay, having followed instructions to move there from Colorado. At that time, I’d never been more clear about where I was to be, yet knew very little about why.

At this juncture, the why and what are crystal clear, yet the where seems to elude me.

And like most of us at this strange portal to the future, my FOTU (Fear of the Unknown) has kept me pretty uncomfortable for the last few months as I’ve contemplated this move. I’ve had to remain open to each day, each moment, to learn more about why I’ve been nudged in this direction.

And right now, I’m still clueless. Just “awaiting my instructions” as I like to say.

Curiosity Required

So how do you stay open to the unknown in the midst of such life-changing circumstances?

We’re all encountering these types of scenarios, locally and globally. There is no forecast nor roadmap for the travel required now.

We’re off-road, which requires keen observation skills, agility in maneuvering and a healthy dose of curiosity.

The type of curiosity called for requires me to attend to my inner awareness even more than normal, and as much or more than my awareness of the outer scenario.

When you don’t know where you’re going, or who you’re becoming, you listen with curiosity to:

  • Voices from the future- what is arising from within and wanting to be birthed, and which leads to direction and action steps to get there, and
  • Voices from the past- your internal milieu that might normally have you hunker down in safer territory and wait until the impulse to do those crazy things passed.

The purposeful path requires us to face the burning desires from the future AND the internal voices that want to keep us small.

What’s Needed Now, Whatever Your/Our Stage

Maybe you’re newly beginning to uncover your essential self and learning about the importance of your purposeful expression. Or perhaps you’ve been living into your purpose for a few decades.

Regardless of the stage of discovery and exploration of your purpose, the magic of your purpose lies in the instinct that requires you to do the internal work and live into your external expression at the same time.

Purpose is a precise evolutionary driver that compels you to both resolve your shadow and limitations while having impact in the world.

Purpose discovery requires you to resolve the early repression at critical junctures from infancy to young adulthood where authentic expression was limited.

Purpose exploration also requires you to reclaim lost creative inspiration, unfulfilled ideas, dreams forgotten and imagination unrewarded and tune-in to the intrinsic north star that guided you at birth.

Even if you’ve been living a purpose-led life for some time, the “next” expression of you requires you to be curious about what’s going on inside and do the internal work:

  • shed limiting beliefs,
  • transmute another layer of shadow,
  • relinquish egoic conceptions of self that trap you in success or failure,
  • fraudulent fears of being an imposter, and
  • doubts or misgivings about capacity to live an even louder and effectual expression of yourself.

Each stage of your purposeful expression requires another version of you to emerge from the cocoon of the last metamorphic footing.

Same for all of us.

We’re experiencing in the collective field of humanity the same internal/ external work required to evolve to the next expression of the species. Collectively, we must resolve the shadow of our global culture and strive to have impact simultaneously. It is a both/and, not an either/or.


Curiosity is Key to Living on Purpose

There is no “end state” of purpose. No achievement or attainment to be gained. Living on purpose is a constantly evolving, urgent impulse that awakens you (and all of us) to more aligned, coherent and precise depictions of your soul.

Living into your next expression of purpose requires you to listen with an obsessive curiosity- to tune into what wants to be resolved, and what wants to be expressed.

About The Author

Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter.

Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it.

Learn about Holly’s work at Emergence Institute. You can schedule a 30 minute Strategy session with Holly.

Better yet, join the Purpose Creators Collective, a home for you to grow your purposeful life, work and business with mentoring, courses and the company of aligned peers. It will be a laboratory, incubator, sacred container and support network for those of us emerging into our next expression.

Holly’s spent nearly 4 decades helping visionaries build products and businesses that change the world, as a coach, mentor, consultant and entrepreneur. She’s younger than she’s ever been because her purpose inspires her to keep making a difference. That’s what she wants for you, too. Holly helps her clients uncover their nuanced purpose, gain capacities and mindset to attain their unreasonable goals, and align decisions, products, strategies and systems around what matters most.

Get a free copy of the tried-and-true Purpose to Impact Roadmap she uses to create that alignment and amplification in the world.

Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner.

Emergence Institute

Holly Woods, PhD

ⓒ 2020 Emergence Institute