In my line of work, it’s not unusual for people to come to me already believing they 100% determine the course of their life. The tricky part they've found is, not in taking responsibility for themselves and their lives, but in actually deciding what their life’s purpose and vision will be.
Whilst some aspects of their purpose are already clear to them, others are definitely not. And often when people think they are finally clear, something happens (or someone says something to them) which throws a massive spanner in the works. And they begin to question everything.
I shared Adam Leipzig’s Ted Talk on my GoGetEm Coaching page a few days ago in which he aimed to simplify this process and assist people narrow down their life’s purpose in 5 simple questions. These were:
1. Who are you? 2. What do you love to do and/or are ‘supremely’ qualified in? 3. Who do you do it for? 4. What do they want and need? and 5. What transformation will they experience as a result?
The underlying principle being, that if you thoroughly know yourself and what you are good at, AND you also thoroughly understand the people you have chosen to serve and their needs – you will have found your purpose. In a nutshell. Simple. Yet also an incredibly powerful process to go through. (If you have a few moments spare, I’d definitely urge you to give this a try).
However, this approach still left a single niggling question for me.
Why would you do this?
Why would you carry the purpose you do and not something else?
Why would you choose the exact path you do?
Why would it even matter what path you chose?
Why? Why? Why?
The ‘why’ is the foundation of absolutely everything we do. Who hasn’t experienced the young child who asks ‘why’ incessantly? This is because without the ‘why’, it’s difficult for us to make sense of anything. To be motivated by anything. Without the ‘why’, our understanding and our commitment will be lacking.
Yet our ‘why’ can change too. And it does frequently. As we age, grow, learn and develop, our understanding of the world changes with it and our purpose is likely to change too.
This is because our purpose, or ‘why’, is really an evolving concept. It’s not static. It can, and does, change from day to day. It’s not something fixed that once we find it we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and say – we’re done! We’re not. We have a whole life ahead of us. And like it or not, we are going to change. And our purpose and our ‘why’ will change with us.
Our ‘why’ is something we need to create in our lives daily. We create it throughout every moment of every day. It’s a process of deciding of what’s important to us, why it’s important to us and then, based on this understanding, what our priorities will be each day.
Every day we have to ask ourselves the same thing. Again and again. What matters most to me today? What will I do today to make a difference to others and to me? What WILL I do? What CAN I do? How do I choose to spend my time today?
Our purpose and our ‘why’ sits behind everything we do. And it’s clear to us – in the moment.
But we also must understand, accept and sit comfortably with the fact that it’s ever evolving, day after day without fail. And so are we. Which, of course, is 100% the way it should be.
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