The power of finding your purpose
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
As some of you may know, I wear two hats as a coach. One as the owner of Lives Better Lived, where I work with individuals who are looking to make work work for their lives. I coach those who value my support in helping them to create the life they want. I also work as a partner in a company called Within People that helps business leaders grow companies that are fit for purpose in 21st century business.
As part of the latter role, I recently had the wonderful experience of spending a day on a Spanish retreat solely focused on exploring my personal purpose.
You hear so many clients talk of purpose. It’s a hot topic of debate in these contemporary times where we are looking for more meaning in our lives, as we seek the reassurance of knowing exactly what it is we’re meant to be doing. It can be seen as the antidote to a void, or a feeling of emptiness, that we are trying to fill.
It can also create anxiety, because being purposeful with a life full of personal passions that stem from this, is our new version of success. I’m often approached by clients with a need to know their one passion in life when they feel unhappy or lost in their work. It has a promise of certainty that is reassuring when so much else in life feels uncertain.
I thought I’d share some reflections on my recent experience of landing upon my own purpose because it has left a big impression on me. I've found my own aha’s of the journey to finding it, and the powerful impact it’s had on me since I got home, have been enlightening. Some of these insights will certainly find their way into my work with clients moving forward.
1. It’s already in you
This experience revealed to me that my personal purpose was ‘connecting people to new ways’ and it’s true that this is always where I have felt most alive. Inspiring others, experimenting with new ways, sharing new ideas and opportunities. I have always been a champion of the alternative, unexplored, road less travelled and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing these with others. I come alive with imaginative ways of problem solving, especially when they help create meaningful change and give people better ways of being and doing.
Your purpose is something you are already doing. Look to the things that make you feel most alive, where you feel easy and natural. There might just be small clues in your life at the moment, or they might be full and bright in your world but you don’t yet connect it them your purpose because you don’t have the words to name it.
2. You need to get out of your own way
Purpose doesn’t live in our rational brain, it lives deep within us and we have to take the time to connect with ourselves to be able to find our way home. We have to be prepared to create the space in our minds and our bodies to help us see it. The environment in which this happens feels important. In a spacious place and in a state of relaxation and calm. Taking the time out for self reflection and self inquiry. Whilst some of the work can be done with your coach, much of it is about the space you are able to create to let things surface.
This is easier said than done! We live full and busy lives, where our attention spans are diminishing and our ability to connect with our intuition is not as strong as it needs to be. If this is something you are serious about doing, it needs a commitment to go deep!
I invite you to think about using meditation to create that space so that everything has an opportunity to slow down and we are not sitting in our cognitive selves. Then use expressive writing to capture the things that are most important to you. Here’s something you might want to try. Write a letter from the future you to the today you, sharing all of things that you are most proud of in your life. It will have some useful clues to where your purpose sits.
3. Come at it with patience
If you are at the beginning of your journey in creating self awareness and personal growth then don’t be disappointed that this may take some time. It’s worth reminding ourselves that many people live their whole life not really knowing their personal purpose. It isn’t something we have to have. But for those of us on a path of growth and meaning seeking it can really help guide and motivate us.
To uncover it requires real honesty about what matters most to us, and that comes with a good level of self insight about what really switches us on. That can be hard because we can have preconceived ideas of who we think we are and who we want to be. There is only room for hardcore truth here, and not everyone is ready for that straight away, so be kind to yourself.
4. It’s a powerful force for creating focus
Why bother? Will it make any difference? I can only speak from my own experience and I have found it the journey to uncovering my personal purpose to be a hugely valuable one. Not only has it helped me to understand how important it is to me to bring people together in service of connecting them to new ways, but it has given a bucket load of energy to be the champion for new ways where they are most needed.
I now more clearly see where my passions lie, in fact new ones keep being revealed to me ever since I have been able to name my purpose. On my list at the moment is working to find solutions for diversity and inclusion so that everyone can thrive in organisations. To help startups have the confidence to know they don’t have to follow the paths of bigger companies to be successful because they will create the new ways in business. To help people build lives where work and life are more fluid and complementary and they can live rich, full, dynamic lives where they are getting everything they need.
If you are seeking a boost of energy, and a refreshed sense of focus, then it’s a journey that is definitely worth going on.