One of the most common life challenges I hear from new clients is “I don’t know what my life purpose is” or “I’m not sure what I’m here to do”.
It’s a frustrating place to be. I know. Believe it or not, I was there at one point. I’ve been there more than once, actually. “How can that be?” You might ask. “If you figured it out once, why would you ever have the question again?”
Let me tell you.
The first time I remember having the question was in my early 30’s.
I remember seeing some rock star being interviewed, I think it was Bon Jovi, and he was talking about how all he ever wanted to do, from the time he was a child, was play music. I remember thinking, “Wow, how cool to know from a young age what you wanted to do with your life.”
I don’t know about you, but when I was young there were a variety of things I thought I wanted to do and be when I grew up. It started out as a hair stylist (probably because my mom had a weekly visit to hers) and from there it was a surgical nurse; that is, until I saw the reality of what it was like to be in an operating room on some TV documentary, with all the blood and guts. That took care of that.
I was making a very good living in the technology field. I was a contract software instructor. I worked when and how often I wanted, which for me was about 3 to 4 days a week. I played a lot on our boat. I travelled to places like Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel to scuba dive with my husband and went on all-inclusive dive boat charter trips. Life was good!
And yet, I remember standing in the kitchen one morning, coffee cup in hand, having this conversation with my husband about how it just wasn’t enough. Something was missing. I just didn’t feel like this was what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to have a bigger impact. I wanted to help people change their lives, not just the way they worked.
That led to my work as a career coach and professional speaker.
Fifteen years later, my husband and I suffered great personal financial loss from the economic fallout of 2008. In addition, as a result of some life transitions, I had moved away from the work that really gave me joy.
I found myself once again asking “Why am I here?”
We’re back to that question, if you figured out your purpose once, why would you need to figure it out again?
Sometimes we move away from what we know to be true for ourselves. We get off track, for a variety of reasons: life transitions, moves, money, etc.
And sometimes, you evolve, personally and in your business. You reach a sort of plateau and find yourself asking, “So, what’s next?”
This is when it is necessary to stop and assess your life path. You have all the answers inside you. Your spirit knows what makes you happy; what gives you joy. You just need a way to reconnect with that.
When you find yourself in that place of stuckness, here’s a process you can try:
1. Carve out an hour or so for some quiet time. Find a place you can go to be undisturbed. If it’s hard to find a quiet space in your home, then drive somewhere, a park, the beach, sit in your car if you have to!
Is your head already finding reasons why you can’t make that happen? I know, your life is really busy. But hey, this is your LIFE we’re talking about. Is your happiness and satisfaction worth an hour of your time? YES, it is. And guess what, no one is going to do this for you. Only you can make the choice, and it is a choice, to do this for yourself.
2. Next, take a few moments to silence your mind. Focusing on your own breath is a great starting point. Just notice the inhale and exhale of your own breath. I also like to do some yoga poses and meditation as another way to silence my mind and connect to my spirit.
3. With some blank sheets of paper begin contemplating and free-writing answers to the following questions:
- What are some of the major points of transition in your life? Think of your life in terms of decades. What were the transitions, if any, in each decade?
- What happened in each decade?
- What shifted for you?
- What values were tested for you, if any?
- What kinds of questions did you find yourself asking?
- And finally, what are the common themes?
Often, this process can identify some significant points of leverage for you.
Here’s the deal, your life story, the stuff you’ve dealt with, is often the same stuff you can help others with.
A colleague of mine went through a pretty contemptuous divorce and is now coaching individuals on how to go through the process with ease. She learned a lot from her own experience and is sharing what she learned and the tools she used to not only survive, but thrive through it as a result.
But back to you. What if you do the exercise I suggested above and come up empty? What if you still don’t have a clue why you’re here? Then what? How do you figure it out? Usually the clues are literally right in front of you.
In my next post I’ll share how to identify them using a powerful back-door method.
Check back for that! I’ll be posting it in the next couple of days.
With good energy,
P.S. I’m doing a free training next week where we’ll dive into this topic more deeply. Check back soon for more information on that!