A couple of year’s back I got frustrated with what life was sending in my direction and felt dis-empowered because I had no idea where I was in life as complexity of life overwhelms me. However, I hear people talk about living a purpose driven life and I was curious to find such life.
This brings me to the title of the topic I will be sharing today “How do you live a purpose driven life?” Thinking about the question itself, I took a deep breath because I did not know how to answer it initially. After catching my breath, I came up with another confrontational question that answers the first question. As the saying goes, “you do not answer with another question” nevertheless, it was the only way I could breakdown the process. The second question was “How do I find my purpose before living it?”
At this point, I started brainstorming with more questions but this time I felt it would be helpful to first clarify the difference between “purpose” and “goals” as it can often be confused with each other.
Purpose, defined as the highest level of goal in life that signifies one’s existent and reason for being. In order words the master of all goals of life. No wonder we find that in life, the successful or the rich, (depending on how you do define riches and success) sometimes talk about being unhappy or suicidal. That also explains why you get fulfilled people who are not rich or successful per se but are happy and contended when they are living their purpose.
Goals on the other hand are the milestone and achievements that serves our purpose. For example, someone whose goal is to have a big five bedrooms house might have a purpose to foster children.
To identify our purpose or finding our purpose in life is complicated. In spite of that, every individual has the ability to make a difference in people’s live hence living a purpose. It can be a complex journey; however, it is a necessary journey. Unfortunately, so many people do find they have embarked on a journey and would have climbed to the top of that mountain of purpose, only to find out it is not the right one for them.
Many have missed out of life fulfilment because they were not able to locate what their purpose was before their death. I once heard a saying that one of the most prosperous places on earth is the burial ground because it is full of people with unaccomplished purposes.
This tips and warnings can be use as a pointer for defining our purpose
This is a major step to finding our purpose in life by taking an inventory of our life, analysing what are our strengths, and weaknesses are? We can find our purpose by maximising our strengths and improving our weaknesses. Becoming aware of the key factors to living a purpose driven life is a powerful start. Self-reflection will enable you to take a place where you stop looking outward for the answers but look inward into your core being or intuition, sometimes known as our gut feelings. We define intuition as the ability to knowing something without the use of reasoning; it is when you know something just because you know and not been able draw any reasoning nor logical explanation. For example, we sometimes have experiences where we feel strong about an issue or a situation that when we follow the direction of our feelings we get a favourable result, then again, we might get a feeling that our intuition is directing us to do something. However, we decide not to yield to it and it eventually it turns out to be the case.
Your purpose will drive you and compel you to dream, visualize, be fulfilled, have inner peace and joy.
Through communicating with trusted friends and family you can discover your purpose. Are there things people say about you that you do exceptionally well, or is there a talent that you recognised as having? Am sure we have all heard people say within the family or people we know, if you want a genius with caring gift in the family, then so and so is, the person or so and so person has a good heart and compassionate, always willing to go the extra mile. All these could be a pointer to where your passion lays hence your purpose.
Being a volunteer for an organisation of your choice can also be a tip for finding your purpose in life. It is also a good way to test our gut feelings and gifts. It is found that when people volunteer in their area of passion, they feel fulfilled, motivated and feel energise in that role more than they feel even in their full time work. They might actually feel a sense of achievement, value and contribution to other people’s life. For example, I found this to be true in my voluntary work, am always looking forward to it and the sense of adding value to someone else’s life is awesome.
Frustration how can that be a pointer to one’s purpose, it serves, as a prompter that something is not right hence the reason for the frustration. This could be an indication that you are gifted to do something about the situation you feeling frustrated about and only when you take up this role would you be living your purpose. These signals can also be evidence in a careersbusinesses where there is constant feeling tiredness and frustration with no logical reasons for fatigue, although not solely the factor but if you find that your energy been drained and you are feeling frustrated or having out of character behaviours like you are muddy at work and at home. Although it is not 100 percentages proven to be the only symptom but medically and psychologically proven that nine out of ten people feeling this way have an aspect of their life not right hence their purpose. It is more than likely that the person is in the wrong purpose or pursuing the wrong destiny. Therefore, they ought to be working on their exit strategy in that career or business to locate their purpose. This might take longer or short time depending on the actions you take and how determined you are to begin living a purpose driven life. If I can humble you, it is better to start taking little step than not taking any, and living in hope without action will only intensify your frustration. For example, I got frustrated with what life was dumping on me, having tried many careers and businesses and not fulfilled but frustrated because I knew am destiny to be making a difference in the community. I also felt am not to be operating in mediocrity and flowing with the masses but a unique being of excellent who is destiny to excel, so when that was not happening in my life. I knew something was missing that I had to find my purpose. Therefore, just over two years ago I embarked on a search to find out “Why” I am on the planet earth. I invested in personal development, and become a lover of personal development books, attended seminars and training developments, got myself a mentor, a coach and am still doing it, to get to where I am today, and my every day is opening up a new opportunity for me to excel and contribute to humanity.
Economy melt down
Often periods of instability forces individuals and organisations to reflect on themselves. As an organisation,question of would our purpose keep us in business or is there a way to redefine their purpose would arise, it is a catalyst for driving businesses back to the drawing board to determine whether the reason for existence could keep them on top of their market and meet customers needs.
For individuals, it is the fear of losing their jobs or thinking what if I do that drives people research the underlining skills and gifts, which then define the purpose. The thought of what can I do is the question in their mind that propels people to want to re-ignite their goals and skills hence discover their purpose. It is actually one of the few moments where fears can be turnaround into positive, because it forces people to either adjust or start preparing themselves for a plan B.
For example, in my case, I lost my job again, and this brought me to the realisation that I needed to look inwardly rather than looking outwardly for my solution and getting disappointments and being frustrated. I asked myself the ultimate questions, what are my strengths, talents, gifts that can ensure I am living in my purpose, what can I do, and whose help do I need? Above all, taking action was paramount to living my purpose. I got myself a life coach, mentors, invested in books and other learning medium and material to re-orient my thinking and overcome self-limiting believes. My discovery was phenomenal and life transforming. Awareness and knowledge without action will only ends in frustration.
What are the barriers or limiting factors to living a purpose driven life?
If I should ask a couple of people, what do you think are the barriers/limiting factors? I will probably get answers such as lack of time or I do not have the money to start the dream/purpose I have in mind. If I can humble you, both answers are neither the real limiting factor nor the barrier, but mostly what really limit people are their own fears and doubts.
How do these Fears and Doubts overwhelm us?
They are develop through our experiences or happen in our lives, it can be imparted through other people in our lives, such as parents, teachers, peer groups, siblings and so on. To give an illustration, a child who is 7 years old is told by his teacher, that he/she cannot amount to anything good in life, a statement like that has destroyed the child’s destiny of become an achiever, if care is not been taking by the parent or the influences in that child’s life to correct the damaging words. That could become that child’s believe of his/her self for life. Therefore, a limiting force is been created in the life of the child. Unfortunately, every time such person wants to do anything that could amount to some good, the statement, which is been planted and ingrained in the sub-conscious, will stop the person from achieving. Hence going back to our point on fears and doubt, such person oblivious to how the damage is form, would continue to go round in circles and not find their purpose, because each time they have the intuition I talked about earlier. The gut feeling, the voice of fears and doubt raises it’s head in the form of reasons and excuses we give for not accomplishing a goal or dream. Such as procrastination, such as I will get round to it one day, I do not have time, I do not have the money or it is not a good time with such economy to embark on a new project. The question is when will it be a good time? Now is the good time to take steps towards living your purpose. In terms of not having the time unfortunately, we can only spend time we cannot buy time back, so we create time. Then again, if you really think about it, we can always find time for what we really want and value.
Money most people say, if only I had enough money I know that is the reason am not living my purpose, I will get round to it someday. If I were to ask the question, how much do you think you would need to embark on the project? You are more than likely to hear something like I do not know but I guess it is a lot of money. You can see no thought has gone into the project to research it to know the exact amount in question. Any project aligning you to your purpose only requires taking little steps of faith to start in your capacity and as it unfolds, you will find resources to support the project.
In closure, I hope we are now more able to find some prompters to finding our purpose. Also conscious of what can limit us from living a purpose driven life. Now, how do I start embarking on this journey?
There are seven keys to help us start on a journey of finding our purpose.
Taking Action- The power in everything that we have been saying so far is in taking action. Without action every awareness and acknowledge leads you nowhere but wallowing in self-pity and no progress. For example, in my life I had played so many self-pity tunes, that no one is listening to the tunes anymore and even I myself detest the tunes and its sound and now the only tunes I play are those that motivate and drives me into my purpose.
Believe in yourself – There is a saying from Henry Ford that if you think you can, then you can, then again if you think you cannot then you cannot. Unfortunately, if you cannot believe in yourself and your ability then you should not expect others to believe in you. Your attitude determines your altitude. There is power in having faith and stretching ourselves because it connects us divinely with our desired purpose and propel us to our breakthroughs hence living a purpose driven life.
Support What plan do you need to put in place to start living your purpose and who, what do you need to help you and how? Such as personal development, re-training, support of a coach, mentors, networking, social media and so on.
Get a Mentor- A mentor is someone who inspires you, they have achieved success you dream of, someone who have been through the roller coaster of the area of purpose you want to accomplish, who can give you tips and “know how”, challenge you, stretch you as a role model. It can be difficult at the begin to get the person you choose as role model on a close contact communication, such as speaking to them or getting appointment with them. However that should not stop you, you can always get their materials such as books, CD, magazines or their newsletter that will always speak their passion, mission and values. In my case I started to follow the works of people like Joyce Meyer, Meicer Weider, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Dayo Olomu these are people renowned within the coaching and public speaking industries, which I believe is my dream for living my purpose in life.
Volunteering/Training into a career/business- Volunteering in an area of your passion is a key to start your purpose driven life by serving in this respect, you get to test the waters before you dive whether it is for you or not. Training into a career/business is another way to start a purpose driven life, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top where you want to live your purpose.
Never afraid and Learn to take risk – Being afraid or feeling fears is a perceived conception and it can only grow when we continue to nurture it instead of getting rid of it. There is an Acronym for FEAR (False, Evidence, Appearing, and Real). Most of the times when we actually take steps to do what we perceive as fearful, we will find it’s not as bad or difficult as we perceive it; one-person fears might be a walk over for someone else. Therefore, we have to come to an understanding that fears are no longer valid when we take action, for we always conquer fears by action. Therefore, as you take the necessary steps of actions in your fears and doubts, you are taking risk, hence the fears and doubts loses its gripe and no longer is it fears but a channel for opportunity.
Learning should never stop – Individuals, who limit their learning capacity, limit their full potential. You may feel passionate about one thing early on in life and later in life, you could be passionate about something else because you have unfolded new discoveries about yourself as passion grows and we evolve in our vision, then we acquire new knowledge and skills, therefore learning are an ongoing process. Fulfilling our purpose is in stages that unfolded as we pursue it.
The value of knowing and living a purpose ensures a rock-solid foundation upon which you can build your life. As we saw earlier, lack of certainty keeps most of us from investing heavily in any particular direction. Therefore, when you have certainty – you can use it powerfully to thrust your life along its chosen path.
When you have your life purpose, you will begin to see meaning and structure in the events of your life. You can use your purpose as a yardstick to measure your current situation and any plans you may already have. In addition, of course, you can use it to make new plans – and these plans are back with your newfound certainty. You will implement those plans powerfully – and you will enjoy the process.
By Lydia Akinwunmi