For A Life With Meaning
Are your career plans blowing in the wind at the moment? You may currently be looking at your transferrable skills because your industry has contracted or been decimated by the pandemic. I feel for you: it’s scary and unsetting and it may have plunged your life and financial situation in to crisis.
Take a breath, or six, or sixty. Don’t panic and think of where you might be a year from now, rather than how things are at the moment.
You will have transferrable skills, there will be new opportunities opening up, the world is changing. Technology is creating new ways of working and new types of jobs. Take a moment to review what’s happening in your industry and in the world of jobs generally. Consider what would make you feel more secure – having a job or maybe setting up in business for yourself.
If you are lucky enough to have a secure job you may feel that opportunities for advancement have shrunk, or you may be feeling trapped in a job that you were anxious to leave pre-pandemic.
Whatever your career or job situation, having some sense of your life purpose will help you make the most of the current situation in a way that will give you a sense of meaning.
Knowing your life purpose, the meaning you have in your life will help you:
Identify suitable potential employers who share your values and aspirations
Identify new industries in which you can thrive
Identify what transferrable skills you want to focus on in a new job/career
Identify the direction of your career in the future
Identify if you actually want a career
Avoid saying yes to opportunities that may be tempting but are not a really good fit
Allow you to consider other variables over and above job/industry/career prospects
For example, if your life purpose is to connect with like-minded people to create a greener world and you’re working in a bank and volunteering for Greenpeace in your spare time, you may feel you’re living your purpose as best you can. But by focusing on purpose, you may be able to spot job opportunities in your bank which allows you to make a greater contribution to a greener world. Or you may be able to change jobs to an industry or company who are more environmentally aware.
We all need to live and feel financially secure, but when you put job or career before life purpose you may find you are pulled off track. By putting life purpose to the forefront (but not necessarily to the exclusion of everything else) you give yourself a better opportunity to live your life purpose as well as finding a source of income/job/career that gives you both a good income and leaves you feeling good.
Of course, you first need to identify your life purpose ... and the Life Purpose Programme is designed to help you to do that.
Try this free quiz to see how close you are to living your life purpose
Google "find my life purpose" and you'll come up with lots of coaches, blogs, youtube videos and websites offering you lots of questions to ask yourself to get closer to your life purpose. And they're not wrong, but here's the thing: you can answer so many questions that you just end up feeling confused.
We're complex beings and we don't always like the same things all the time: you might love to drive, but after 1,000 miles or so you might find it's not as appealing as it used to be. Or you can enjoy two seemingly contradictory things at the same time: have you ever been on an extended holiday only to find yourself looking forward to getting back home (or even, getting back to work). So, there might not just be one answer to the questions that you ask yourself.
The other problem with seeking your life purpose is the answer that you might come up with. You might love to work as a carer, but if you're earning higher rate wages, that might not be a viable option. So it's time to get creative.
One way to get closer to your life purpose is to ask what you like about a particular activity or what it gives you.
For example, one of the jobs I loved doing most was waitressing, but it's really hard work for not great wages and I was qualified to get more money for less cash, so the waitressing had to stay a part-time/uni break occupation.
However, when I break down WHY I loved waitressing so much and WHAT it gave me, there was a lot of really useful information there:
I could go on, but I think this demonstrates what I mean about going deeper. And that waitressing job did have substantial bits missing – no opportunity for learning or growth – which for me would have been a deal-breaker over the longer term.
So look at the things you like to do and ask yourself WHY do you like doing them and WHAT feelings do they provide that you respond to in a positive way.
And if you’re still feeling a bit lost, you can sign up for the 7 Day Life Purpose Programme. Or book some Life Purpose Mentoring Sessions.
The right questions will give you the answers to uncover your life full of purpose and meaning.
Do you feel the life you’re living is full of activity but somewhat empty when it comes to satisfaction?
If life is good then you’re connection with friends and family is all you’d ask for and life is full enough of fun activities to keep your spirits up and give you a sense of community and pleasure. Financially you’re secure – it’s always nice to have more, but at the moment you’ve got enough to feel safe. Work is OK to good and though it doesn’t set you on fire it pays the bills and isn’t too difficult to cope with. You’ve got interests and hobbies that you enjoy – yes, it would be nice to have more time to pursue them, but that’s life.
If life is not so good, then you may be feeling a bit isolated from those around you – you turn up to activities, but you don’t feel connected: they’re not really your kind of people and the event is not really your kind of thing. Financially you’re struggling – there never seems to be enough money for you to feel safe. And work is awful. You know the job or company are not a good fit with you, or maybe you’ve been there too long but there are no other opportunities and you feel stuck, or maybe you can’t afford to move. Dragging yourself into work every day just drains your energy and leaves you feeling low and washed out – no time or energy for interests or hobbies.
For most people life will be a mixture of good and not so good and it will be busy. But if your life is busy and you still feel that something is missing, you may be looking for your life purpose without even being aware.
Life purpose is a sense of alignment with yourself that goes beyond being comfortable in your own skin - it’s a sense that you are expressing what you are here to be and do in every area of your life. Knowing your life purpose allows you to bring your essence into the world in a way that makes a positive contribution.
But it’s not always easy to find.
“What should I do with my life?” is a question that can take a lot of investigation and uncovering to answer. And it’s a heart and gut answer that’s required, rather than an intellectual exercise. Sometimes it seems so big a challenge that people give up before they even get started: there seem to be so many simple questions but getting the answers can sometimes seem impossible.
Or sometimes you may feel you’ve cracked it, only to discover that what you thought was your life purpose doesn’t seem to work any longer.
Your life purpose will be constant, but the activities by which you express it may change over time as you grow and develop and acquire new skills and life experiences. After all, the way you would do a thing in your 20s will be different to the way you would do the same thing in your 50s – experience will allow you to see the same thing in a different way. But you need to know your life purpose in the first place.
And the search for life purpose will intensify at different points in your life: life changing events like bereavement or ill health, reaching a certain age or redundancy can all precipitate a search for meaning (if you don’t already have it).
Wherever you are in your life and whatever may have prompted your search for life purpose, grab the opportunity and the rewards will be great: less stress, a feeling of being more centred in yourself and more comfortable in your own skin, and the knowledge that, at the end of your life you will fulfilled your potential. It’s not a guarantee of an easy life, but that sense of purpose will help you overcome the lumps and bumps that life throws your way.
Discover how close you are to living your Life Purpose in this free quiz.
I don't think it's a coincidence that there's a lot of political activism at the moment - and not only because there are a number of very big just causes to be active about!
I think that people are seeking purpose in the pause that the pandemic has created. I'm very conscious that some people are busier than ever homeschooling, caring, tending the sick, keeping essential services working, remote working, but equally there are a good number of people with time on their hands: time to pause and think, to look around them at what's happening, at where the focus is going (or not).
Without the normal daily rush that work creates in their lives, they have time to wonder and maybe to worry about the future. They have time to think about what kind of future they would like to be part of creating. They have time to notice and appreciate the simple, fundamental things that make life worth living and without which life would be much poorer. They have time to focus on who they are or would like to get back to being.
Our lives naturally push us in certain directions - more work and responsibility for a bigger job, bigger house, bigger car, better holidays. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, if that's what you really want. Rather, I'd ask that you consider if that's what you really want, or whether the trajectory of your life has taken you there without you really noticing or choosing.
This pause in life brought about by Covid-19 has given us time to think, and for many, that desire for purpose and meaning in their life has attached to the recent political protests. My concern is that it may be short-lived because it is not personal. Life purpose is a very personal journey that is about attachment to internal values rather than external causes. Now it may be that once that internal connection to life purpose is made, it goes out into the world as an activism to fight injustice or inequality or volunteering at a food bank, or setting up a social enterprise or any one of a myriad of options.
My point is that your life purpose needs to be personal. What you do to reflect your life purpose needs to be an expression of who you are: your essential self. And you do that by going deeper into who you are, not by attaching yourself an external group - regardless of how great the cause.
If you're in a place of pause, why not take some time to ponder who you are - or who you would be if all the social influences were stripped away. Allow yourself to pause and sit quietly with who you are and who you used to be and who you can't help but be. Park your desire to wonder why and how and what and when and sit quietly with who. Allow all the layers to peel back to allow who you are to emerge.
And if you'd like to know how close you are to living your life purpose, you can check out my free quiz.
Knowing your purpose In life gives you both direction and a way to express yourself in the world. Meaning in your life is the significance you give to what you do and how you connect with others. Having a life purpose creates a life with meaning and living a life of meaning can help you to feel more satisfied in your life and even to live a happier, healthier life.
You can create more meaning in your life and edge closer to living a life with purpose by looking more deeply at your dreams and aspirations. What did you want to be as a child and have you moved away from that now? What were your dreams and aspirations?
Your answers to simple questions will not necessarily lead you to your life purpose, but if you look more deeply at these answers you may get some real insights. And it may be that you don't have enough detachment to really delve deep - that's where a Life Purpose Mentor comes in.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, wrote in one of his blogs about how he dreamed of being a musician – a rock star. He imagined himself on stage performing to crowds of adoring fans. This was his dream and the idea could keep him enthralled for hours on end. He even went to music school, but then dropped out and stopped playing guitar. But even so, his fantasy continued. His career developed but he never lost the dream – even in his 30’s as an author and businessman he still dreamed of being a rockstar. It took him a long time to figure out why, when he could create books and an online business, he couldn’t create his dream of being a rock star. Until he realised ... he didn’t actually want it. He worked out that he was in love with the result, but not the process. He didn’t want to practice, find other members for a group, rehearse, source gigs and get people to show up, or haul gear to and from rehearsals and gigs. The realisation took a while to come, but he worked out that what he really wanted was to feel acknowledged and appreciated. He acknowledges now that as his personal relationships improved, his fantasy faded.
Look at your dreams and you may find that they are not being realised, not because you’re a failure, or haven’t had enough belief or done enough affirmations, but because what you really want is not the dream itself, but what the dream gives you. What would that be do you think? And it’s likely to be a feeling or a sense of something.
Finding life purpose is a journey which is supported by curiosity, so be curious about your dreams and ambitions and ask yourself what they will give you if you were to achieve them and also, whether you would enjoy the process.
If you think you might not enjoy the process, what you would enjoy doing that would give you that same sense or feeling?
Happy hunting ...
And if you'd like some help teasing out all the strands and insights that show how your past has always been leading you to your life purpose, why not book some Life Purpose Mentoring sessions. During the summer of 2020 I'm offering 5 x 1 hour sessions for the price of 4 offer - that's a £50 discount AND as a bonus you receive the 7 Day Life Purpose Programme absolutely free. If you've already bought the programme, I'll refund the cost. To book your sessions call 07724 1975627 or email email@example.com.
And if you're not sure whether you need a Life Purpose Mentor, try the free Life Purpose Quiz.
It's not often the world gets rocked on it's axis the way it has been during 2020. It's life changing for some, with jobs, loved ones and the future under threat, or maybe already lost. For others it's the death of a dream as their hopes of finding more meaningful work may be sacrificed on the alter of survival. Some may have to learn new marketable skills as their industry is decimated for years to come and others may use this time to retrain for higher skilled employment, or dip a toe in the water of self-employment.
Seldom as a community do we see death this close up. When death has become all our problem, rather than individual tragedies.
Now is a pivot point and the perfect time to look at your life, how you express your purpose and what more you want from your life in the future. Because threat to life and livelihood has a very useful way of focusing your attention on what you want your life to represent. Most people don't know their life purpose and even when they've got an idea it can be a bit vague ie making a contribution or sometimes they follow what they think their life purpose "should be" ie helping others, rather than what they were really meant to do.
Discovering your life purpose is not always easy: it can sometimes be confusing and frustrating and it can take a while - more like panning for gold that picking up a pebble. But it will be the biggest personal development journey of your life: you'll get to understand yourself, your real self; you'll see where your strongest influences have come from and how they have shaped you; you'll need to feel your way into the process, because too much thought can take you away from your real life purpose and you'll be able to identify your blocks to expressing the essential you.
And just because you know your life purpose doesn't mean you have to change your life overnight. But once you know your life purpose you can choose: you can choose to live your life purpose quickly, or move towards it more gradually according to your life circumstances.
Knowing your life purpose has many benefits:
And you don't need to do it all at once, but if you don't get started now, when will you? Now is the only time to make significant change.
Now you can go online and ask how to discover your life purpose and find some useful questions that will lead you in the right direction, and for some people that will be sufficient. But I'd like to suggest (from painful personal experience) that asking the right questions is much more important than just asking questions. It's the nuances that often trip people up: not being specific enough; or being too specific; or following a passion only to discover it fizzles out after a couple of years and they are back to square one.
A Life Purpose Mentor can help you navigate the highs and lows of discovering your life purpose. They can help you:
If you're not sure where you are in terms of whether you're living your life purpose today, check out this 10 minute quiz and discover how close you are to living a life of purpose and meaning.
When it comes to Life Purpose, I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt. After years of searching for my own Life Purpose though a journey which included: personal assistant, complementary therapist, granny-in-law, I finally found my life purpose under my nose! As a life purpose mentor, I finally feel as though I've arrived. As you can imagine, I've learned a lot along the way - and I'd love to pass it all on, because once you've pinned down your life purpose, life gets a whole lot better.
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