Are you looking to find your purpose? Feel like you’re lost? There’s got to be more to life than this, hasn’t there? Can’t find THE path that’s right for you, or in fact any path? Looking for clarity? What’s next? I have no idea what I want to do with my life, is that normal? I’m in my 50’s and still haven’t found my life purpose, what’s wrong with me? – These are all questions I hear a lot in the NLP Training room. People looking for clarity on their purpose.
What is Purpose?
Purpose is defined as “a central motivating aim of life” or “the feeling of having a definitive aim and of being determined to achieve it”. It’s what creates the pull, the reason you create, to explore, to discover. It drives you. People say purpose gives them as reason to live, to get up in the morning. It’s what guides them and gives them direction, like a compass in their life. Purpose informs people’s decisions, life decisions. Working on purpose make some people feel alive. Purpose has the power to unite people. Working on your purpose makes some feel fulfilled.
Isn’t it funny how this question of purpose pops up later in life (often as we are going through a transition or crisis in life). You don’t find kids asking ‘what’s my purpose?’ They’re too busy living life, doing what they love, living unapologetically and act as if life will go on forever. They do not apply the pressure to themselves of asking how they should spend their time, asking if they are making a valued contribution or what will others think of them for being ‘selfish enough’ to chase their dreams or life purpose. They are not concerned with ‘who am I?’, ‘where do I belong?’ or ‘what do I need to do to feel fulfilled?’.
The 5 truths about Purpose ….
The first truth is, we are all on this planet for an undefined period of time. We live our life. We do stuff. We spend the precious commodity of time. Some of the time our actions give us happiness and makes us feel alive. Sometime actions come easily to us and we are in ‘flow’. When we do what we love and spend time on this great stuff happens, it lights a passion in us. Sometimes we do things just for ourselves (some may say purely selfishly for our own happiness or sense of meaning – I’m absolutely cool with that, in fact I believe it’s important) and sometimes we do things for others (either out of a selfless act to help others or sometimes because it suits us and fulfils one of our own needs e.g. to feel needed). What is true, is the clock is always ticking regardless.
The second truth is our glasses get dirty along the road called life. I often describe the NLP Practitioner course as a process whereby I give people a rag and teach them how to clean their glasses. Life makes our glasses dirty – it throws shit at us and some of it sticks. Dirty glasses mean we lose clarity, we get lost because we can’t see past the shit that life has thrown in our path. As miserable as life might be right now, it’s familiar, it has certainty (albeit a certainty life will continue to be shit in some instances, but we tell ourselves that’s ok because it’s predicable!). Until you put down some of the baggage of the past and allow yourself to see clearly into the future towards a goal, life will be tough. You owe it to yourself to take action to clean your glasses, before it’s too late.
The third truth (brace yourself for some touch love), is a ‘lack of purpose’ is simply an excuse for inaction. People who stand still, don’t move, procrastinate and stay where they are no matter how much pain it might be causing them are only hurting themselves. “Im still looking for my purpose” you hear people say. Well do you know what, some people are still looking for their purpose when they get put in a box. Don’t let that be you – LIVE YOUR LIFE, LIFE IS TOO BLOODY SHORT!!!! Make a decisions and MOVE … move somewhere, do something that lights you up.
The fourth truth, is no-one else can tell you what your purpose is. If you ask me what your purpose should be, I can’t tell you. It’s an impossible question for me to answer. Who am I to say what you should or should not do? What or who you should love? I can’t say what’s important to you or how you should spend your time …. only you know.
The fifth truth, people are so worried about everyone else, they give up on their own passion and purpose. They put their focus externally from them. They spend years of their life focused on others and one day wake up and say, “where did that time go!” Alternatively, they don’t act because they feel they might fail, might be judged, or may be rejected (we have an innate need to fit in and be part of the group, to belong). The only person who can live your life is you … you cannot live your life though others or for others.
Finding your purpose is simple …
There are many books, articles and videos on how to find your purpose. Many make the process complicated, cumbersome and time consuming. Purpose is simple for me:
Find your gift and give it away.