“So what do you want out of life?”
“Why are you here?”
“When you die what do you want your legacy to be?”
“What is your life purpose?”
That was the first conversation that I held with my success coach after I had joined the Jack Canfield Coaching programme. It was a conversation that would change my life, and the fact that I couldn’t answer her question scared me, made me feel sad, hopeless and inadequate.
Finding out what it is you are here to do is one of the first steps on the stairway to success.
In order to help me find my sense of purpose my coach sent me away with a task to complete. She told me to write down every activity, that I participated in, and derived enjoyment of out. My first attempt was a very sobering one and I must admit that when I looked at my piece of paper I felt terrible.
My First List
After reviewing my list it seemed that my purpose in life was to be a gigolo who watched a hell of a lot of television during fluffing time. I started to get angry with myself. Why was my list so short and what the hell would I do without an idiot box in my life? At the time I was working as an Area Production Manager on the Railway. I focused on this and told myself that despite hating my job there must be some things that I derive joy from. After several days of thinking I handed my revised list to my coach.
My Revised List
- All of the above (lets not waste space here!)
- Teaching people
- Seeing the joy on other peoples faces when I have contributed to their success
- Setting a goal and achieving it
- Leading people
- Talking to people
- Making people laugh
- Showing off and being the centre of attention
- Communicating with people
- Overcoming difficult problems
- Being busy/under pressure
- Proving people wrong/achieving the seemingly unachievable
- Inspiring people to change
- Problem solving
These activities filled my heart with joy and happiness, so if I wanted a happy and fulfilling life then I should spend more time working in these areas. Although it was decided that the simplest way to achieve this was to find a career that encompassed most of these traits – money was never discussed. In fact it was decreed that money would inevitably follow once you started to pursue that which was most dear to you.
For a long while afterwards I still carried a lot of anger around with me. Why hadn’t somebody told me this before? If life purpose was so important and the rules of the game said that you should work on everything that aligned with your sense of purpose, then why was I just learning this point midway through my life? There are a number of reasons why this happens and I will explore them in my next blog post.
In the meantime I would like you to create your own lists and tell me what you find. I believe the process will enrich your life and enable you to stand back and have a good old-fashioned look at yourself and how you are conducting your life.
Do you have a sense of life purpose?
Here is mine:
My purpose is to use my experience, passion and drive to teach and inspire others to excel in their work and family lives.
The inspiration for this blog post came from a wonderful person called Michelle O’Connell. She is one of many people who has had a profound effect on my life and will probably never meet. When I started working on the Jack Canfield coaching programme my friends and family said they had never seen me so happy. Michelle O’Connell was the very first person to peel back my eyelids and wedge a matchstick in there. She is one of the people responsible for turning me into a Daydreamer and I will be forever indebted to her.
Photo’s courtesy of Leesean & anyone123 (cc @ flickr)