As those of you who know me well, you know that I'm passionate about purpose and living your life's purpose. Living your life's purpose is the foundation of happiness and I know when I'm off track on my life's purpose - I don't feel so great. Purpose is about using your unique strengths, gifts and talents to contribute to the world in a way that is meaningful to you. You don't have to be feeding the homeless, making millions or creating great art to be living your life purpose - however for some of you that might be an expression of your purpose.
In fact when you are living your life's purpose, it's not so important what you are doing, what's most important is who you are being. The activities, the projects, the jobs, the locations, even the people may change. What matters is that you are being yourself and that you are being true to yourself in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. If you are being Your Self, than you are living your life's purpose. There is a quote I often use by Martha Graham, pioneer of modern dance, which sums this up perfectly,
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not yours to determine how good it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open."
The 2 questions people grapple with are: Who am I? and "What I am doing here". The bulk of time is sorting out the answer to the first question and then it is about expressing that in the world which takes care of the second question. Much of my work with clients is about them learning to accept and love who they are, so that they can then just be that out in the world. For some of my other clients, they are not sure who they are as they have spent so much time living up to other people's expectations or using other people as benchmarks so its a process of finding out who they are.
So to support you in living your life purpose, ie, being you, here are some of my suggestions.
1. Spend some quality time with yourself. Explore your preferences, likes, dislikes. How much of these are genuinely yours as compared to what you think you should like or dislike? How much time do you spend doing what you like, enjoy, are passionate about? The more time you spend honouring yourself, the better you feel and the more on track your life will become.
2. Know your unique strengths. There is a great free online survey where you can discover what your character strengths are at www.viacharacter.org We all have every quality within us, however when we are working on tasks consistent with our strengths, we function at our best. Working with our strengths is about going with the flow of who we are, rather than pushing to be someone else. Its a lot harder to try to be a copy of someone else. Much better and much easier to be the original you.
3. Ask for feedback. Sometimes other people know us even better then we know ourselves so get their feedback. Ask questions like: What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What do you think the purpose of my life is? And write down the answers. Notice if your inner critic goes into overdrive and tries to dismiss this feedback. Sometimes its about having other people hold that vision of who you really are, until you can get yourself up to speed with it. Its not always people who have known you for years either - I remember a guy I met 5 years ago telling me I should be running my own business and writing. Back then I couldn't see it - but now that's exactly what I'm doing.
4. Acknowledge your feelings. They are the best GPS you will ever have. Notice when your energy slumps at the thought of something and when it leaps for joy. Regardless of how demotivated or tired I feel, once I start writing I feel energised. I don't feel that way about everything. That's a sign from my body that I am being myself. Writing doesn't make everyone feel that way. Notice what your body is telling you about the way you are living your life.
5. Drop the comparisons. You are here to be the truest expression of yourself. You are the only benchmark. So there is no point comparing yourself to someone else, for better or worse. Run your own race or as I prefer to do, take your own leisurely walk through the countryside. When you are on your deathbed, you won't be thinking about if only I had made more money than John Smith. When you get there, I hope you will feel satisfied that you lived your life, on your terms and that you can be content that there was no one else who did it exactly like you. Like the Frank Sinatra song, My Way,
"For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has not
To say the things he truly feels And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows And did it my way".
Be the best you, you can. That's living your life's purpose.