Clarity of Life Purpose
I have had clients recently who are going through transitions and their world is pushing them towards having clarity for a new vision for their lives. Like them, you might find yourself in a time of transition, such as job dissatisfaction, a divorce, an empty nest, coming retirement, whatever it is. We will often feel restless at these times, wanting more and not knowing where we will go from here – for sure you know you want what we all want – to live fully, joyfully and with meaning but how? Because my clients often come looking at this topic of clarity of purpose in their lives – for just these reasons, I am giving some hints on this topic for this week.
I recently heard a story that seems appropriate to this topic of clarity. Two men and their sons and a couple of friends decided to go white water river rafting. On the night they planned to camp out, the weather turned from sunshine to rain with high winds. They decided to camp out the night before anyway and decide in the morning whether or not to go through with the river rafting. The morning came and the weather had not improved. They decided they would not risk the rafting adventure. Their guide arrived and although the waves were a 5, he persuaded them with his story and assurances he would make sure they were safe and have a grand adventure. He told them that when he started out as a guide he would diligently scope out all the dangers and once people were in their rafts he would point out the dangers as they went along. Watch out for that hidden tree root as he pointed it out. Watch out for those rocks just under the surface. He found that his trainees would focus where he pointed and would often get into trouble and capsize. Now, he told them, I only point to where I want you to go. So when we do this today, focus with all you’ve got on where I am pointing. Don’t get distracted by anything else, just focus where I am pointing. And of course, the story had a happy ending and despite the wild weather, they had a very successful grand adventure.
This story has many things to teach us.
- It shows us the very real importance of clarity in that where we point our lives is where we will go.
- It shows the importance of trust in the vision.
- It shows us that we need to focus with all our might on our vision.
- It shows us it is important to look to the future vision and adjust who we are and what we do in order to become our future.
- It shows us that when we are focused on the negative or what we don’t want or the thing that might happen we are not moving towards what we want and will often become stuck or capsize our lives.
- It shows the importance of having a mindset of adventure when finding our life purpose.
- It also shows it is good to have a coach when you don’t know the terrain – ok I couldn’t not mention that -right?
First of all, know that clarity of purpose in our lives is not a stagnant thing so when you approach this topic for yourself you are not necessarily looking for a singular static thing. Opportunities will present themselves and our purpose will be refined and redefined. There does seem to be some gender differences in this where more males find a singular purpose and go for it where more women have multiple purposes and may find that they don’t narrow down to one purpose. Women find the permission to have multiple purposes to be relieving despite the fact that most of the research looks at a single purpose quest. Secondly, clarity of purpose is related to self esteem, so watching out for old negative beliefs that can de-rail you from finding your purpose need to be put aside (this of course, is a whole other topic for another time). But knowing that your language patterns and how you talk about yourself makes a difference in whether you will be able to grow into your dream or purpose.
With these ideas in mind where can we start in finding our purpose or purposes?
Get your journal and be prepared to spend some thinking time. I am going to give you some teaching points that might be helpful starting with the fundamental questions of who you are.
- What are your strengths? Some people have difficulty answering that -if they don’t come to your mind – your friends and family will help you out there. Try them on for size – do they seem to fit? Look at what have you been drawn to in your life before this. What did you dream of doing as a child? Or Sometimes looking at what you have avoided in your life will help you to see what you do find as a strength in you. Be careful with the last one as you want your purpose to be bigger than u can see now but one u can live into.
- What are your challenges in life? It is good to know these at the outset when finding your purpose because you will need to find a way to compensate for these by having help in your purpose or to learn new skills or ways to be to help you with your challenges. Your challenges are not meant to keep you from your purpose but to provide an opportunity for you to learn.
- Look at your values. Google value words and sort and order them if your values do not come readily to mind. Your happiness and meaning in life will always come from living out your values.
- Look at the lifestyle you want to have? In this lifestyle -How much time does your purpose take in your life? What are the benefits you see with actually living out a purpose that is congruent with who you are? How will you feel if it is a year from now and you have not changed?
- Another important question – why do you want to find your purpose? What difference will that make in all the other parts your life? It is always important to know why you would do something for the times that things get challenging and you want to quit.
- Who will support you in your quest to live out your purpose? In every endeavour that we have in life, social support is important to our success and to our happiness.
- Time to take action. Do some research. Try new things. Remember this is a different season in your life. You are wanting more so some of those beliefs you have about yourself need to be questioned and new experiences added to help you to refine who you are. Take action by sorting through your life’s current priorities, looking at each one and numbering them in their current importance. This will also add information about your purpose.
- I saved one of the best for last. I went to a conference some years ago and one of the exercises was to think of the end of our lives and consider what 3 words that we wanted our lives to represent? My 3 words are inspire (that is what I do every day), connect (I do that daily too) and thrive (this is about my health). Find which words you want for yourself and that will help you to know how to live with congruence and meaning.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you would like a tool that might order your thoughts further, here is the link to a free clarity tool. Go forth and be wonderful this today!