The Problem of Purpose

In my work as a Business Coach one of the key things my clients are looking for in their work is to feel a sense of purpose or to feel that they have found their purpose in life. I really understand this desire for purpose as I have felt it and searched for it too and it is precisely what lead me to what I do today.

Why Purpose?

Why do we feel this need to have a deeper level of meaning in what we do? For me the search for purpose arose out of loss in my life. Losing loved ones called me to ask the “what am I here for” question and garnered within me a desire to know that in my short time on this earth that I lived fully and happily and had a positive impact on others. Knowing loss has created within me a desire to live each day in meaningful way.

For others the motivation to find purpose comes out of experiences of feeling that there is more to life that the material things we are able to attain or achieve or conversely from a desire to achieve in life. It can also come from a desire for a greater sense of connection with others, with loved ones or community or the environment, from a sense of wanting to make a difference. The search for purpose can come from a desire to do something just for yourself after years of putting the needs of others first or doing what others wanted or approved of.

Regardless of what motivates us to find purpose that process of uncovering it can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. It feels both illusive and that we “should” know what it is. We hear “you’ll know it when you find it” which can create a sense of “Why is it not happening for me?”. We can feel some how inadequate that we are unable to know the secret, that we haven’t had that “aha” moment when we meet our purpose head on.

From my experience it seems that there are a number of Myths about purpose that actually get in the way of us finding it. Today I’d like to bust a few of those myths!

(1) You are less of a person if you haven’t found your purpose! life is a journey, not a destination! so maybe you have yet to feel a sense of purpose, that doesn’t change the fact that you are you, you are unique and talented and beautiful. Instead of beating yourself up because you feel your not “there” yet use this time to celebrate where you are and who you are! Explore your desires, what you want your life to look like, and who you want to spend you time with. The better you know yourself and your wants and desires the closer you are to discovering purpose.

(2) Your Purpose is out there waiting for you to find it if you could just look in the right places! Your purpose is not separate from you, it will not necessarily be something that you “find” and suddenly discover is you. What if you are your purpose? Yes I know, I was a little challenged by that idea when I first heard it too! But what if your purpose is to express yourself fully and authentically in the world? What would that mean? How well do you really know yourself? Do you know your values, your strengths, your patterns? How much of what your know about yourself has been shaped by other people’s beliefs and behaviours rather than from your own deep desires or by what feels right for you? Uncovering the truth about who you really are will lead you to your purpose.

(3) Your Passion is your purpose! That actually may be the case but what if you don’t know what you are passionate about? or what if you are passionate about wine or French poodles or swimming in the ocean, how do these things become your purpose? Your purpose isn’t necessarily a thing that you do with your life. It can be the qualities that you express in your day-to-day interactions, it can be how others feel when they are with you rather than your life’s work or career. What qualities do you bring forward in life? Are you a giver who feels joy from giving to others or a doer who feels happiest when doing practical things. Do you grab life by the horns and feel inspired by adventure or are you more measured and considered, radiating a sense of calm to all those around you? Do you love to solve problems or to come up with new and resourceful way of doing things. Understanding the qualities that it feels good to express will lead you closer to a sense of purpose.

(4) I’ll know my purpose when I find it, I just have to keep looking! Finding your purpose wont necessarily happen in a light bulb moment, it might be more of a slow burn that creeps up on you when you least expect it. That’s why its important to take the time to get quiet, to let go of the search and to just be with yourself. Give yourself a moment to notice what feels good and what feels out of sync for you. One of the biggest clues to being on purpose is a sense of being in the “flow”, everything feels easy and light and leaves you buzzing. Notice what lights you up inside and what is occurring in these moments. Your purpose might be more subtle than you imagine, don’t rule anything out!

(5) Once I find my purpose everything will fall into place. Living your purpose is actually quite possibly the scariest thing you will ever do! It can feel raw, exposing and vulnerable. You will still face challenges even when what you are doing is absolutely your purpose. Stepping into your purpose will ask you to show up as who you really are. No filters, no matching what you think others want you to be, just being you. Your fears will not suddenly disappear because your purpose has arrived. Living your purpose will often ask you to show up and be true to yourself despite the fact that its scary and despite the fact that you feel afraid. But its worth it!

So have you found your purpose yet? If not you are not alone. You have my invitation to take the pressure off yourself to be “there” now. You have my invitation to explore, to taste test, to discover and uncover. Allow your purpose to gently find you in your exploration, in your noticing, in your discovering and understanding of yourself. Allow it to creep up on you from where your hidden talents lie and your desires and dreams meet and become your special magic. The special magic that is YOU

You are your purpose!

I would love to support you to discover your purpose! Email me to arrange a complimentary phone call to see if coaching is right for you pmcfarlane@clear.net.nz or visit www.paulamcfarlane.weebly.com

 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Problem of Purpose

  1. Monica Poggenpoel

    WOW! Very eye-opening and inspiring…I feel like I want to know more…like I’m about to make the discovery of a lifetime..

    Like

    Reply

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