Finding purpose. What does it mean to find your purpose? I don't know if I really believe you "find" your purpose but rather your purpose finds you or you craft your purpose when you begin to really get clear on who you are and why you're here. But to be honest you might just stumble on it and one day realise you're living on purpose. That time might be after you have kids and returning to work and you think if I am going to be away from loved ones it has to be worth it.
Lots of people come to coaching to clarify their purpose and it's one area I love working on because it's so meaningful to live with purpose and helps you get up in the morning come rain, hail or shine. It's also wonderful to be able model for your children, what it looks like to live with a sense of purpose you really care about and want to make a difference to the world they inherit.
No doubt in my mind that life experience can help you find purpose because it gives you some experience of what you don't want and that in turn can help you develop a sense of knowing what you value and what you want to create and spend your time doing.
There is another side to purpose and it's about giving your time and energy to something else that goes beyond self. Research has discovered your special talents and gifts are only part of the purpose equation, purpose is also about connection that allows us to achieve big things together. Once you find your purpose you'll undoubtedly also find community and people connected to what you value.
My coaching top 5 coaching tips to help you live purposefully are as follows:
1. Listening to other people's stories, those who have lived a lifetime, they can help you discover what you relate to or they might inspire something in your own imagination. Watch videos, read articles or visit your local library for stories of how others lives and contributed to what matters.
2. Purpose is not only an intellectual pursuit is it something we feel into the body and it can grow out of suffering and hurts. For example Oprah Winfrey grew up poor and being abused and as an adult she became very interested in how to overcome her poverty and help others become more empowered and rise above adversities they had experienced.
3. Certain types of behaviours promote purpose, these include gratitude. Being grateful and in awe for what we have in life connects us to a higher purpose, helping others connects us to something much larger than ourselves and these two together activate reward circuitries in the brain. Practicing gratitude also links us to happiness and broaden and builds our wellbeing.
4. Listening to what others thank you for can help you find your purpose. What do others appreciate about what you do? Ask your friends and colleagues to tell you what they like most about you so you can start to build a profile of yourself based on what others find valuable. Once you know this you can expand on it and do more of it. Knowing what others appreciate about you can fuel your purpose.
5. Focus outwardly and contribute. When you work hard and serve others it can help you turn your attention to the needs of others and how you be of value and help. This can lead to powerful transformation because we are social creatures who need each other and helping others will help you feel more valued and genuinely loved.
You get really clear on purpose in coaching with exercises and activities and conversation that enables insight and reflection and once you have an idea of how your purpose picture looks we can build a strategy on how to achieve the first steps. There might be a change needed or some reframing of long held beliefs but purpose can be a gift for everyone who is willing to be challenged and live with and make meaning through this one and only journey we call our lives.