What is your purpose
Pretty much everyone I know, including myself, has expressed frustration at not having enough time to do the things they want to do. The subject is spoken and written about so much that we are often mistaken into trivialising it as something we should just accept. The problem is that it’s definitely not a triviality, especially as the years roll on. Imagine being at the end of it all (cheery I know), still not having gotten around to those things that felt important, maybe through lack of funds, lack of time, or fear (you’ll find it’s usually the latter, disguised as one of the two former).
When I think of this scenario, it’s the polar opposite of trivial, because those burning goals and ambitions may well be the foundation of life’s meaning for us. This is why it’s so important to have an idea of where we want to go, and to know the least we need to do to avoid arriving at that place of regret.
The first step to all this is seemingly obvious, but often omitted: begin to answer the question, “what is my life’s purpose?’ For now, we’ll call this your Purpose Statement. Sounds pretty simple, but I’ve seen this little exercise have a profound effect on the lives of those, myself included, who have spent the time doing it. And it doesn’t have to be some grand achievement, because it’s about finding what makes you happy and that’s different for all of us. So there’s no judgment here.
However, creating your purpose statement can be really, really tough because:
a) It can be so difficult and time consuming to separate what is really important to us and what we are taught should be important to us
b) It can all sound a bit cheesy, and we are usually taught not to sound cheesy, so we tend to revert to a) what sounds good.
So this is something that you don’t have to, and maybe shouldn’t, share, which doesn’t stop it being difficult for some (like when you’re filling out an anonymous form asking how many units of alcohol you drink per week, and you still knock a few off to make you seem more healthy). So don’t rush it. I’ve been messing with mine for years, but for now, here it is:
“To constantly develop, create and to challenge myself. To make people smile and laugh when possible and appropriate, and to teach and support others in achieving their happiness, whilst maintaining happiness and health for myself, my family and those I Iove.”
Bit of a mouthful I know, but the point is that it’s not supposed to chime with anyone other than me. And it’s changed over the years. The bit about ‘teach and support others’ has now become important to me, because of the big change I experienced when I was taught and supported in achieving my goals. The part about happiness is interesting, as it takes even more work to get to the bottom of what makes us happy, as opposed to what gives us pleasure. Both are important and are regularly confused with each other, which is why I have three games consoles (currently being reduced).
The point is, that when I know I’m working in line with my purpose statement, I feel content and energised, and when I’m not, I feel demotivated, lethargic and flat. And that was a revelation for me because I realise that if I’m not developing or challenging myself in some way, I feel rubbish, and previously I had no idea what was making me feel rubbish, until I did this exercise. It’s about creating a balance of all of the things that make us feel complete as human beings, which is down to experimentation.
So listen to your emotions and your body, which are great barometers for discovering your own motivators and what makes you happy. And if you sometimes feel a little out of sorts, or feel like you’ve just lost your mojo, give this a try and let me know how you get on.
Thanks for reading and of course please share and comment.
Steve Faulkner is a speaker, leadership trainer, business coach, presenter and award winning magician. He help run the Integral Leadership course for teams and individuals. Check out the rest of the site and get in touch if you would like to discuss Steve’s sessions, talks and courses.
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