Unlocking the power of PURPOSE
When I typed ‘How do I find my purpose in life?’ into Google, it came up with 1,750,000,000 suggestions! Which tells me there’s an awful lot of people looking for the answer!
I guess it’s not surprising, given that NOT having a sense of purpose can leave us feeling aimless, unfulfilled and disconnected. In other words – LOST. At least, that’s how it felt for me!
It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Sometimes it seems like everyone around you is discovering their purpose, and setting off to make their dreams into reality… and here you are, stuck on this basic question.
Is this it?
I’m here to make a difference… but doing what?
Isn’t there some way that I can use my skills and life experience to benefit others in some way?
A yearning for that all-important 'something'
I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’ve had each and every one of these thoughts in my time! And the thing that all these sentiments have in common is a yearning for purpose.
And THAT is a very powerful a feeling!
Purpose is unique to each and every one of us… for some it’s to do with legacy, for others it may be fulfilment or motivation. It isn’t necessarily one single thing but likely all are underpinned by the same values.
I think ‘purpose’ is ever-changing throughout our lives. As a mum, my priorities changed from my career and my ‘purpose’ became focussed on my child’s health and happiness. As I got older I began turning towards my own personal purpose, having the luxury to choose what I most want to work and focus on, for my own happiness and satisfaction.
This yearning for purpose takes centre stage by the time we reach our Third Age as we start to re-examine whether the way we’ve been living our lives still works for us now.
And if the answer is ‘no’ the realisation that we’re not ‘on purpose’ can become a powerful catalyst to actually DO something about it. The feeling that there must be ‘something more’ leads us to become a ‘seeker’ and sets us off on a journey of self-discovery and growth.
The trouble with purpose
Purpose often feels like a pretty elusive, intangible concept and added to that, the whole concept of a ‘life purpose’ somehow sounds loaded with lofty expectations! No wonder we find it intimidating and overwhelming to contemplate!
We don’t come with a pre-destined purpose But when we break it down, isn’t the question we’re really asking ourselves, “How can I live my life FULLY?”
The magic ingredient!
You KNOW when someone is ‘on purpose’. You can see it. You can feel it. It’s a very attractive energy to be around! When I thought of all the people I know who have this energy, I realised that their purpose is about giving, not getting.
The magic ingredient sprinkled into everything they do is ‘contribution’.
The ripple effect
To me THIS is the most exciting thing about purpose.
Not only can our purpose create a radical transformation for ourselves and our own life but also for the people who are part of our purpose.
That’s the ripple effect.
My wonderful clients, choose to express their purpose in all sorts of different ways – writing a book, volunteering, community projects and advocacy. Some, like me, choose to create a business as a vehicle for their purpose. (It’s important to stress that their business is not their purpose – it’s a vehicle for their purpose. They build a business in order to deliver their purpose.)
My purpose is all about helping post menopausal women create something personally fulfilling and meaningful for their Third Age – to the benefit of themselves, their families and their communities…. the ripple effect in action!
Which brings us to the question we started with…how do you find your purpose?
Well, you could always type the question into Google in the hope that somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of answers that come up you’ll find the one that works for you! But it’s not a process I’d recommend… you might be looking for a very long time!
Purpose lives HERE
The thing is, your purpose isn’t ‘out there’ somewhere – it’s actually much, much closer to home than that. It’s a deeply personal thing and because it’s a deeply personal thing, it comes from within.
The good news is, it’s already there inside you – to find your purpose, you just need to dig deep and dig in the right place and start exploring how the threads of your unique experiences and perspectives weave together.
Here are a few ways you can get started:
- Pay attention to the activities you gravitate toward in your free time. What do you most love doing that feels aligned, absorbing and enjoyable – the things you become so immersed in that you lose track of time? What part of you do they speak to?
- What do people ask you for help with? What do people compliment you on?
- Make a list of people you most admire and then list their qualities. Chances are, you either already have those qualities, or you would like those qualities.. What can you do to cultivate them?
- When you’re feeling most satisfied with your life, who are you with? What are you doing? What sort of environment are you in? What do those answers say about what’s important to you? And what can you do to bring about those conditions more often?
- What have you struggled with in your life? What challenges have you overcome? How can you make life better for others facing the same challenges now?
- What do you stand for? What principles are most important to you? What would get you up on your soapbox? What do you stand against? What outrages you? What do you most want to change?
Everyone has a purpose within them
How about you? How do you define your purpose? Has your purpose evolved and changed? Or are you still searching?
If you’re interested in hearing more, watch this video conversation where I talk about how you can use the acclaimed Ikigai framework to help you find that all-important inner clarity about who you are and what you uniquely have to offer. You can catch the conversation here .
‘What is the purpose of my life?’ is as much an invitation as it is a question – an invitation to reconnect. To reconnect with who you are and what gives you joy. To reconnect to the dreams and aspirations that are deeply important to you.
And as with anything that’s worthwhile, it does take effort. But the effort is an investment in what is arguably the most important reward available to us – the assurance that our lives matter.