As a professional coach, it is inevitable to talk about purpose with my clients. It usually takes a while for it to come up but when it does it is a powerful conversation that brings with it clarity, movement, and strength.
What is a purpose?
Purpose has been used in so many different contexts and situations, but its basic meaning is the reason for which something is done. This principle can be applied to creating, doing, or thinking about something. The action doesn’t really matter, but there is always an action involved.
A purpose is an intention (how you wish to experience yourself) plus a goal (something you want to accomplish) on steroids. It is a powerful force that moves you forward. It can overtake you at times but it fuels you from the core of your being. When you understand that purpose is the overarching power in your life, you’ll know that you have found your purpose when it matches your central motivation and life goals. Another way is to ask yourself: What am I going to do with myself while I’m alive? What are my gifts, my talents, in what areas do I excel? (and what am I going to use them for?)
It’s important to keep this distinction in mind: Purpose is not a role or a responsibility but at times, these are connected to your purpose. For example, I am a sister and a daughter. This is a role I play, and within that role I have responsibilities but it is not my purpose. Another example is being a parent. For some, being a parent is their purpose in life. For others, it’s purely a role. For many of you will breathe a sigh of relief once you realize that you thought that roles and responsibilities automatically mean that they are your purpose.
Why am I here?
I believe that our purpose is one of the main reasons we are alive and have been put on planet Earth. Our purpose gives meaning and direction to our activities. Perhaps it was easy for some of you to uncover your purpose, but for others, when their purpose is covered up by ‘shoulds,’ family obligations, unconscious beliefs, guilt, hurt, pain, and suffering, it’s not so easy. While you may even have an inkling of your purpose, you may be too invested in low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness to identify it.
I understand. That used to be me. But – and this is a very big but – I strongly believe that it’s important to take the time to uncover our purpose and that not doing so will cause pain and suffering. Your soul will support you and cheer you on in this process of coming home to your true self.
So no matter where you are on the path of discovering your purpose, I recommend following these five steps. You’ll be amazed at the answers.
1. Commit to seeing it through
This means dealing with your fear, anxiety, and unconscious emotions that may get triggered, and removing any and all obstacles that come your way. Commitment is important. You want to make sure that you won’t run away or avoid the exercises when it gets tough. This is something I can help you do.
2. Identify your values
Values are the things that are important in your life. You find them when you watch your own behavior or see what motivates you to live a certain way. Some people guard their values with their lives.
What are your values? Narrow them down to a short list, no more than three to five. If you need help, I’ll share mine: Spirituality (oneness with God); love (love of self and others), transformation (making things beautiful, whole and complete – healing), courage (taking risks), discipline (being devoted to something). Be sure to explain in other words what the values you choose mean to you. Go as deep as possible.
3. Examine your strengths, talents, and loves
What do you like to do? What are you really good at? Perhaps being present with your children is what you like doing and you’re good at. Maybe being a mom is your purpose in life and after your children are grown perhaps you are a mother to many other people. Being a mom is a beautiful purpose. Take time to write about this for a few days. You can also ask others what they think you’re good at.
For example, I know that I am an excellent muscle tester and that I am very intuitive, a visionary, a hard worker, risk-taker, committed to making the world a better place, smart, courageous, and a powerful vessel.
4. Consider things that give you energy or things you feel strongly about.
Ask yourself these questions to determine what they are. You can follow my example:
- What gets you excited or energized? Example: Helping people create happy and fulfilled lives.
- What do I love? Example: When people accomplish their goals.
- What pain or injustice or unhappiness can’t I live with? Example: Accepting the impact of a trauma or circumstance as a fact that can’t be changed.
- What kind of books/movies do I like? Example: Anything that has to do with transformation.
- What do I love? Example: Healing, fixing, making things beautiful, overcoming the odds.
5. Put everything together to identify your purpose
What’s tying all of this together, and what talent do you have to fulfill your purpose? For some people, it’s easier to make a big grid and put it together on a Vision Board. Purposes are fueled by talents; talents fuel your purpose. They are inextricably connected. Once you have some information the rest will come more easily.
The time has come to start taking action, even teeny tiny action steps. Start to experiment with your list and see how it all works together. If you feel passionate about creating beautiful gardens and plants, for example, volunteer or work in a greenhouse for a few days or plant your own garden.
Remember, when we live our purpose, it isn’t always about making money. But if and when you get to combine the two it can be amazing.