Creating a Statement of Your Life Purpose — that is one of the first and most important things that I help my coaching clients do. And I get a lot of different reactions to that one! I’ve heard, for example:
- “that’s great, I think I already know what it is!”
- “that’s sounds really hard, I don’t even know where to start,”
- “I’ve always wanted to do that, I know it would make a difference,”
- an uncomfortable, blank silence, which I am likely to intrepret as “why the heck is she asking me to do that, I thought she was going to help me get more customers?! This is business coaching?”
Yes, it is business coaching – the kind that helps you create the life and business you really want. In my view, any business coach that isn’t working with you about something as important as Your Purpose isn’t really coaching you, they’re probably doing something more like consulting. Business consulting can be extremely valuable, but it’s not coaching.
Personally, I have no interest in helping you build a business that you won’t enjoy or find fulfilling, which is why I make sure you define for yourself and me what matters most to you — and I call that Creating Your Purpose.
So why is purpose so important, and what kind of difference does it make in “real life” and “real business”?
Think of a time when you have been happy and very productive and effective in your life. Maybe a job you loved or a project you took on because it was important to you. It might not have to do with work or making money, it might be the best times you’ve had with your family, your kids, or something you volunteered to do, a political campaign you worked on that you were passionate about. It might have just been yesterday, it might have been years ago.
Are you thinking about a time like that? Consider that what made that so great was that you were committed to something bigger than yourself, something that mattered to you, that inspired you. Consider who you were in that time, what kind of person you were being when you were so happy and inspired and working to create something that mattered to you.
It feels great to be in that kind of space, you feel powerful, you feel energized, you feel clear, you are passionate, you feel like you can do anything! There were obstacles that came up, it didn’t always go the way you wanted, but it didn’t matter, because you knew why you were doing it and you just kept going and you accomplished things you never knew you could do!
I’m saying that, even if you didn’t think of yourself as being connected to a greater purpose, that is what was going on. It’s just part of the way human beings are wired, the way we are put together — when we are playing a big game, connected to and inspired by what I am calling a purpose, we are very powerful and we tend to be happy and effective and fulfilled. When we are not connected to something bigger than ourselves, we tend to be distracted, focused on what’s not working, unfulfilled, stressed out, overwhelmed, unclear, frustrated — do you really want me to go on?
It seems to me that a lot of people, probably most people, never define for themselves what their purpose is in life. They may find the idea of that intimidating, or even arrogant, “Who am I to say I have a big purpose in life?” Or they think it sounds too much like predestination, the idea of some purpose being imposed on them from outside of themselves. Or they are afraid they’ll “get it wrong” if they try to create a purpose.
So they may get caught up in and inspired by a purpose here and there at different times in their lives, and they look back on those times and say, “That was really great, I loved doing that, or being part of that group, or knowing I was making a difference.” And they wish they could feel that way again, but mostly they get caught up in all the details that life is full of and they just don’t know how to make that connection.
What I’m saying is, you do not have to live your life at the mercy of random purposes that may or may not come around and knock on your door and inspire you! You get to say what your purpose is, you even get to change it anytime you want to, you get to be powerful and passionate and focused and productive and fueled by a powerful purpose all day long, anytime you want, if you just decide that’s the way you want to live your life!
I created this purpose for myself: My purpose is to inspire and empower people to discover and fulfill their purpose in life, and to do it with passion, ease, joy and frequent belly laughs! Okay, I just added the belly laughs part, and I really like it. See, I told you you can change your purpose any time you want — it’s your purpose! Because I created that, I get the opportunity to live inside that every day, which is amazing.
Let’s be real here, I do not always take advantage of that opportunity! Sometimes I am totally in my head, focused on what’s wrong and stressed and grouchy and not exactly being someone who is going to inspire and empower anybody! I do go there sometimes, but the bottom line is, I know better, and I know that’s not what my life is about, and I have the capacity to get out of that and get out fast, and I do!
And it’s my purpose that I use to do that.
And I usually laugh my head off at myself in the process, because I soooooo do know better than to let myself get into that state in the first place, but, there it is, I did it again. (See the belly laugh part — it really is part of my purpose!) If you are starting to think that a purpose is a pretty fabulous thing to have, then I think I’ve done my job for today.
So how do you create a powerful, passionate, awesome expression of your purpose? I’ll get into that more next time, but if you are inspired, don’t wait, take a crack at it now. What do you love, what are you passionate about, what makes you happy, what difference do you want to make in the world or in your family — those are great questions to start with. If you can’t quite get your head around your life purpose right now, try creating a purpose for today. Like “my purpose for today is to be connected with the people I love” or “my purpose today is to find the humor in everything and lighten up!” Or how about this one, “my purpose today is to do only what makes me truly happy.” Or “my purpose today is to create clarity and order in my life.” I got a million of ’em — take one of those or make your own, and just try out intentionally living a purposeful life for today and have fun with it. See what happens! Go forth and be purposeful!