Have you ever wondered if you are living a life that honors your life purpose? Do you know what your life purpose is? Most of us don't grow up "knowing" what we are here to do in this lifetime, or if we did know, we many times forget or get sidetracked as we get older and take on the responsibilities of adult life. Think about it - when was the last time you knew that you were honoring your life's purpose? If you are having trouble answering this question, you are not alone.
The majority of my coaching clients come to me feeling a lack of energy and purpose in their lives. My goal is to help them to connect with their life's purpose and to then live a life that honors it. In this article, I want to give you the first steps to begin to explore your life purpose so that you can ultimately create a mission statement for your life and your career.
People cannot find their purpose or their mission (I am using these words interchangeably) until they get to really know themselves. Your purpose is not something that you will find outside of yourself - it is something you will only find by going within. The key is to take the time to connect with what lights you up and with what gives you energy. It is hard to define your purpose if you are feeling stressed, tired, bored, or generally unhappy, so one of the first steps in the process is to go out and have some FUN. Here are the steps I recommend to begin this journey:
Go Have FUN!
What is it that you love to do? It might be spending time at the beach, hiking, playing with your dog, painting, writing or cooking. What is it that lights you up? I want you to clear some time on your calendar, even if it is just for a few hours, to go do something that makes your heart sing. No cell phones or computers allowed - this is uninterrupted time that is just for you. When we do things that connect us with our hearts, we begin to get great ideas and we see the possibilities available to us. Make sure to keep a journal handy to jot down your ideas while you are out having fun.
Start a Journal
If you aren't currently writing in a journal, I suggest starting one now. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. This is a place for you to write down your thoughts, feelings and ideas, as you go through the process of getting to know yourself better. Here is a list of questions to help you get started:
When you were young, what did you love to do? What did you "want to be when you grew up?"
What are the things that you love to do today? These are things that you get so involved with that you lose track of time. We call this being in the "flow."
If you were in a bookstore and had free time to read about any subject, what would you choose? Would you gravitate toward books on health, cooking, psychology, technology, decorating, fashion, animals, travel, or ……..? What do you love to read about and what would you like to learn more about?
If money was not an issue and you knew that you couldn't fail, what would you do with your time and energy? Allow yourself to dream with this question. If you won the lottery and could do anything that you wanted, what would you do? Make a list of at least twenty ideas.
What comes easily and naturally to you? What types of things do people come to you for help with? Ask your family and friends what they see as your strongest skills. These are your natural gifts.
Create a Collage
I am a very left-brained person and when someone suggested that I create a collage, I thought it was a crazy idea. This exercise actually became one of the things that changed my life. A collage gives you a visual representation of what you love and what you want your life to look like. When we try to "think" about what we want, our brain censors our ideas by saying things like "you can't do that, how will you make any money, you are too young/old for that, what are you thinking?" On the other hand, when you see a picture that you like, you just know that you like it. There is no judgment about the picture being right or wrong.
I want you to cut out pictures of people, clothes, places, decorating ideas, or anything else that you love. Use magazines and catalogs and if you want to get really creative, take pictures with your camera or draw images. Once you have gathered a number of pictures, paste them together on a piece of poster board. What does your collage look like? Does it look like the life that you are living today? What is the same and what is different?
My collage looked a lot like an LL Bean catalog, with pictures of nature, hiking, biking, lakes, yoga, dogs, a big fireplace and a cottage decorated with colors that I love. At that time, I was actually living in a big city with no time for outdoor activities or a dog. What my heart wanted (which was pictured in my collage) and what my life actually looked like, were two totally different things. What does your collage tell you?
These exercises are the first steps to really get to know yourself and what you want your life to look like. The goal is to find a place where your passions and your gifts intersect - this is where you will find your purpose.
Three days before my father passed away, he shared with me that he had always wanted to be a disc jockey. He had never said that out loud before! My dad spent his entire career as an engineer and a manager, working in the technology industry.
I am not suggesting that he should have quit his job and become a DJ, but this is a perfect example of where someone's passions and gifts intersected. My dad had an amazing voice, which people always commented on. He was a great public speaker, sang barbershop, and was asked to present all the time.
His voice, which was his gift, fit with his passion for broadcasting and his dream of becoming a DJ. Where do your passions and gifts intersect? How might you step into honoring this? Sometimes people make major life changes after they define their purpose. Others choose to honor their purpose by doing volunteer work or in ways outside of their career. Some realize that their life is already on track with their mission, but that they want to become more purposeful about it.
The key is that once you define your purpose and create a mission statement for your life, you will have a ruler to measure your choices by and you will be energetically aligned with your passions and your gifts. I will write more about this topic in future articles.
If you would like to create a mission statement for your life and career, consider joining me in my next Exploring Your Life Mission teleclass. You can find out more and register at www.witi.com/teleclass
. If you are interested in taking the class but the dates don't work for you, please email me at email@example.com. I will let you know about future offerings. You can also do this work in individual coaching sessions, which are held over the phone. If you would like to find out more about coaching, please email me and I will send you additional information.
Here is what two former participants of the Exploring Your Life Mission teleclass shared about their experience in the class:
"I want to thank you again for the terrific teleclass! Prior to meeting with you, I was frozen in place as my 'internal board of directors' had me scared of failure. I thought this was my good sense talking to me but once I realized it was not good sense but fear, I was able to move forward. Here is what I've accomplished since your class:
- I've lost 60 lbs and have much more confidence
- I started real estate school which is the first step in a multi-year plan to become a business broker
- I am executing a financial plan that will grant me the freedom to fully pursue a different career path
Thank you! JP"
"Kathy, I wanted to follow up with you... where to start? As you know, taking the personal mission statement class helped me identify my life's passion - to educate and inspire pet owners to make good decisions about their pets. I have always loved animal but didn't realize how much. Then, taking your goal setting class, we opened the doors to our retail natural pet food store (complete with dog training, full-service grooming, and a self-serve dog spa) within 3 months of forming the idea. 2.5 years later, the store is thriving. We've had nothing but "ups" in the store. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I tell so many people about what your classes allowed me to accomplish. SL"
Kathy Hill is an Executive Coach, specializing in helping people through career and life transitions. With over twenty years of coaching, career counseling, recruiting, and sales/marketing experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-282-4818 to find out more about individual coaching, webinars, and teleclasses.