First things first. Whilst it’s so simple to say a big and bold statement like, “find your inner purpose” I want you to remember one very important thing – this is a journey. This is YOUR journey. There is no one purpose. There is no one path in life. There are many paths and as you walk, run, jog or stumble along that path, you may just come across many areas of your life that feel meaningful for you. That leave you feeling like, “ah, I’m truly living a life of purpose.”
My journey for exploring the concept of purpose began about 10 years ago when I met a man who inspired me so much that he is now not only my best friend but also my partner. It just so happens that he and I met at the beginning of my corporate career. A cheeky, don’t-play-by-the-rules kind of guy, I was quickly drawn to him as my personality was quite the opposite. (I used past tense was as he’s had a bit of an influence on me over the years…) We both worked as Rehabilitation Counselors, leveraging our Psych degrees we’d completed the year prior. I quickly found this line of work to be extraordinarily taxing on my physical and emotional health, taking every ounce of energy and giving little back. I feared this was how my life was going to play out forever – soul destroying work which took from me and left me feeling a little more hollowed out at the end of each day. I was faced with the terrifying reality that my life was lacking meaning, lacking purpose. I recall feeling so betrayed by the traditional path of go to school, then uni, then get a great job and begin your career. In a family of academics, you could see why this path was feeling very permanent. Eventually, however, I realized that I wanted to make sure my life felt purposeful, that I would leave a legacy one day and have an impact on this world. This is what I hope for others to realize also. That this is possible to do in some form or another and it all begins with taking a few conscious steps in the right direction. So what do those steps look like?
1. Do what makes you happy
Broad statement I know, but bear with me. Now – I’m not saying walk up to your boss tomorrow and tell him you quit so you can stay at home painting, writing or walking the dog all day. Whilst this would be nice, we could end up a little worse off… This is about making sure you make time to do what fills you with joy. Even if it’s something as simple as sitting in the garden appreciating nature for 5 minutes in the evening – do that. When we begin doing things for ourselves which make us happy, life takes on a whole new appearance and we feel like we are finally taking control of it (rather than allowing external factors to dictate it for us).
2. Be gentle on yourself
When we speak kindly to ourselves not only do we feel more powerful, confident and excited about life, but also our relationships with others will flourish. You will become your most successful version of you – in happiness, relationships, wealth, business – as soon as you start being gentle with yourself.
3. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude
Every night before I turn out the lights I write in my little ‘Gratitude Diary’ one or two things I’m grateful for which happened in my day. These personal notes could be anything. For me, it could be the opportunity to lead a beautiful yoga class with amazing students or maybe a lovely afternoon walk in the park with my man and the other love of my life, my dog. When we are grateful, life becomes abundant with purpose, with meaning. Make this your bedtime ritual and notice how you feel as you close your eyes to sleep.
4. Pause, breathe and listen
As soon as we learn to be still and to tune into ourselves, we become vulnerable. When we are vulnerable there is clarity to notice areas in our lives that serve us and those which do not. Take time to notice and become a student of the self, seeking to understand what areas of life need a wake up call to make sure you are living your life of purpose.
Something I often say to myself and those who I love and care for is; “this is not a test run – make it count”. We need to live purposeful lives right this very moment, and if we feel life is lacking in this area, then look at that and change it now. Because a life of purpose is a beautiful life indeed.
I would LOVE to hear your comments regarding this topic. What areas in your life have you been struggling with which lack purpose? What transformations have you made?