A common definition of life purpose is a calling, an overall theme for your life or intent that transcends daily activities. A variety of spiritual leaders and traditions say the ultimate purpose of our lives is to remember who we are and to whom we owe our lives, and to feel joy. By purpose, it means the objective or intention—something toward which you are always striving. Purpose is something bigger.
It is the picture you have of yourself —the kind of person you want to be or the kind of life you want to lead.
An ancient Tibetan text states that a life purpose is “for the benefit of self and for the benefit of others.”
A favorite quote about the power of life purpose comes from a well-known U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, who said: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
At times people confuse life purpose with vision or mission.
Life purpose is our calling—the underlying reason for being that gives meaning to our life. It is the purpose an individual enacts throughout a lifetime.
Mission is the particular way or ways we choose to fulfill our purpose at a particular point in our life.
Vision refers to a specific, compelling image of the future that an individual holds.
Being ‘on purpose’ means,
When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.
When we know our purpose, we have an anchor—a device of the mind to provide some stability, to keep from tossing us to and fro, from inflicting constant seasickness on us. Perhaps the most profound thing we can say about being ‘on purpose’ is that when that is our status, our condition, and our comfort, we find our lives have meaning, and when we are off purpose, we are confused about meanings and motives.
A purpose is more ongoing and gives meaning to our lives. . . . When people have a purpose in life, they enjoy everything they do more! People go on chasing goals to prove something that doesn’t have to be proved, that they’re already worthwhile.
When our purpose, our power, and our passion intersect, we find personal fulfillment and enrich the world. Most people across the globe misguidedly believe that the only way to have what we want is to work hard and long.
There is an alternative: be who you are first. When you focus on being, this lets you do what you want, which lets you have what you need. We need to allow ourselves to be first; the rest will follow. Discovering our life purpose focuses our attention on the essence of who we are—our being.
People may feel as if they are surviving, but only with a struggle, or they may be striving to achieve but do not feel much satisfaction in their accomplishments. Sometimes in the natural cycle of life, clues emerge that suggest life purpose work may be called for:
A person in midlife feels listless, fatigued, and disenchanted.
The person has experienced losses—deaths, job losses, or health issues—that make the old way of living no longer possible.· The client is overwhelmed with life and asks, “Is this the life I really want to lead?”
The person has undergone significant life transitions—children have left, retirement is near, divorce has occurred, and so on.
The person feels a serious mismatch between current work and/or roles and the deep desires of the self.
In our private lives, as well as in our professional lives, getting back on purpose may require some startling changes. Living from a deep place is not easy to maintain in 21st-century life in, where speed, multitasking, and constant noise make lack of depth a fact of life.
Living from a deep place may require a client undergo deep change.
Deep change . . . is a spiritual process.
Loss of alignment occurs when, for whatever reason, we begin to pursue the wrong end. This process begins innocently enough. In pursuing some justifiable end, we make a trade-off of some kind. We know it is wrong, but we rationalize our choice. We use the end to justify the means. As time passes, something inside us starts to wither. We are forced to live at the cognitive level, the rational, goal-seeking level. We lose our vitality and begin to work from sheer discipline. Our energy is not naturally replenished, and we experience no joy in what we do. We are experiencing slow death . . . We must recognize the lies we have been telling ourselves. We must acknowledge our own weakness, greed, insensitivity and lack of vision and courage. If we do so, we begin to understand the clear need for a course correction, and we slowly begin to reinvent our self.
The truth is that almost any moment offers us an opportunity to live out our life purpose. By choosing work, relationships, avocations, creative pursuits, and other life elements consciously, we can find the most fulfilling ways to experience our purpose.
WAYS TO DISCOVER LIFE PURPOSE
Almost every person can benefit from life purpose work if they have adequate willingness and a capacity for self-reflection. Sometimes clients need to be taught the value of reflection in order to benefit from life purpose work. Using inquiries with clients—powerful questions that guide their focused attention and lead to introspection—can be helpful in developing the ability to self-reflect, as can meditation practices, journaling, and many of the other tools we use as helping professionals.
A Life coach helps you understand your values with greater clarity than ever before, so that you can hold onto what you love while making your dreams reality. A Life Coach will work with you to address a specific issue, help you get unstuck, and guide you to create an action plan to make real changes in your life. The main thing to understand is that coaching is all about action. Coaches can help you in all areas of your life. Whether you want to build your self-esteem, grow your side hustle into a full-fledged business, or address your relationship patterns and find love, there is a coach out there who can help you with those goals.
So how do you know if you are ready for a coach? Simply put, you are coachable. Meaning, you are ready to make a change in your life, and you are committed to creating goals for yourself – and then acting on them. An important thing to understand is that a life coach doesn’t just dish out advice and tell you what to do. A life coach will listen to you, ask powerful questions you may have never asked yourself, and guide you. But she or he won’t do the work for you. Life coaching empowers you to become the change agent in your own life. You create goals during each session, and your life coach holds you accountable to those goals.