“What is my life purpose?” is one of my favourite coaching conversations of transcendental importance. It has the capacity to unleash the greatest creativity and liberate the spirit of many, yet, is often marred by an intense desire to only have one go at it and ‘get it right’.
Other than ‘Who am I?”, “What’s my life purpose?” is the Holy Grail. What I have found over many years of coaching people are a collection of myths that keep this concept shrouded in mystery. It doesn’t have to be this elusive.
What I believe is that, as thriving individuals standing at the precipice of understanding the meaning of our lives, I believe whole heartedly that we have nothing to prove and everything to experience, simply because we are a member of the human race. And so there are two approaches here: living our purpose and living purposefully. Living purposefully and passionately is an internal attitude with which we approach our world. It describes a loving and open hearted attitude of being present and consciously choosing to give of ourselves and our time to whatever is at hand. On the other hand, living our life purpose and passion is about something we are DOING that is connected to our life calling. Similar but different.
To live a passionate, meaningful and purposeful life isn’t solely about WHAT we are doing, rather it’s also about WHY we are doing it and WHO we become, WHO it calls us to be when we are doing IT. This turbo charges our motivation and commitment.
I believe that we owe it to the people around us, our community, the planet and mostly ourselves to live our lives as an expression of the rich, unique human BEING that we are. Sadly, for many we live our life as a human DOING. Doing the ‘DO’ and not much else.
When we connect to our human BEING-ness we live from the essence of who we are and act from our truths. We are also living purposefully and passionately which is different to living my passion and my purpose.
Myths and Gems
Myth: If I don’t know my life calling, I will miss the joy and meaningfulness of a life lived passionately.
Genius Gem: You can create one. A life passion can be found and if not discovered, it can be cultivated.
Myth: My purpose is supposed to miraculously drop from heaven and land in my lap.
Genius Gem: It doesn’t work like that, finding your passion often takes work. The myth of effortlessly finding my passion is what discourages many.
Genius Gem: Passion can’t be found in your head because it lives in your heart. The flames of passion are fanned by doing not thinking – quit talking and get to it.
Myth: Thinking that taking care of my children and family is not enough of a life purpose.
Genius Gem: Contributing to others is for many a common soul yearning. Whether it is the disabled, the homeless, youth, children or your family members they are equally valid.
Myth: I have to work and monetise my life calling
Genius Gem: Don’t put that kind of pressure on your life calling. You risk resenting it. By all means love what you work at but it does not have to be your life calling.
Genius Gem: Perfectionism will stop you in your tracks. In fact the perfectionist attitude is a soul destroying approach. It strangles the life out of most people’s pursuits.
A purpose or passion in life is not merely nice, it is essential. It is especially essential for living life fully and unleashing our potential. For some it is easy-peasy but it is challenging and it takes work to find and cultivate it but once found, no one can take it away from us. No one even need know what it is. As long as we feel vitalized by the meaning and purpose that it brings us, the rest is worth it.
Sarah is a Senior Coach at Equilibrio and works with professionals, business owners and senior managers who are keen on experiencing the gratifying rewards of dove tailing their professional and personal lives. Sarah also works with stress related chronic ill health.