I spoke to a client today and we had a big laugh. I like to laugh with my clients where possible, it makes the sessions so much more enjoyable and light. And where there is light, there is space. Space to open up to new ideas and new possibilities.
She had written her 'purpose in life', which I had asked her to do. It had taken a while as she had been putting it off and off as the idea of writing her 'purpose' felt so big that she felt resistance towards sitting down and giving it thought. As we talked, she shared with me, "I kept thinking 'When am I going to think about my life?? I have no time ... and then I stopped and thought about the enormity of what I just said"!
I smiled and she smiled as we both reflected on the way she was asking herself that question, ie, 'When am I actually going to stop and think about what my life is all about?' ... I answered: "Yeah, on your deathbed, that's when!".
We both creased up laughing.
"When am I actually going to stop and think about what my life is all about?" . . . "Yeah, on your deathbed, that's when!"
Thankfully that wasn't going to be the case as she had challenged her inner resistance and done her 'homework' and in doing so it really helped her realise what was important to her in her life. When did she actually feel good about herself? What was it that made her light up?
There are hundreds of books on 'how to find your purpose in life' and the fact that there are so many words needed, makes us believe that our 'purpose in life' must be something bit, something nearly elusive, perhaps even only reserved for those lucky ones.
But what if it was quite simple? What if you could just ask yourself some basic questions that would help you identify what you want your life to be about? Right now, from this moment going forward.
I had given her a simple exercise to do, prompted by movie producer Adam Leipzig who realised that those people he knew that lived a happy and successful life, knew 5 things. They knew who they were, what they do, who they do it for, what those people want or need and what those people get out of it. In other words, how they change as a result of what you do. In other words, they lived their lives purposefully!
From that insight he came up with 5 questions which help you identify your life's purpose in 5 minutes:
- What's your name? (a no brainer!)
- What do you love to do? (ie what is the one thing right now you feel qualified to teach or are extremely passionate about?)
- Who would you do it for? (who do you love or feel inspired to support?)
- What is it that people want or need? (that you love to give)
- How do they change or transform as a result? (what's the value created?)
Use only a few words of each answer and then string them together in a sentence and, hey presto, you've identified your life purpose. Of course, you may want to tweak it, give it further thought, test yourself and use emotive words that have real meaning for you so you can make it work for you.
"Use emotive words that have real meaning for you . . ."
What Adam reminds us of is that it doesn't have to be overcomplicated. It doesn't have to be 'big'. It doesn't even have to be a life purpose for life! Your life purpose could move with the times.
It did get me thinking though - most of us run around so much and don't stop to think about what we actually want to do on this earth while we get the chance.
I have realised that I love to live my life ON purpose instead of finding myself on my deathbed, wondering 'Now what was the purpose of that?'...!
Love. Live. Lead.