Purpose is the point
Personality to Inner Self: What would you like to do in 2020? Inner Self: What I’d love to do is study and take an overseas cycling trip to Europe with my friends. Life: Ok, hold that thought. I’m not sure how your life changed this year but mine was catapulted into hurricane status which saw me losing a full-time role, gaining a consultancy, moving country, losing some clients, gaining friends and new clients. And so it’s gone and along the way, I realised purpose is the point.
The meaning of life
Recently, in the moments I’ve had to cycle through my spectacular new surroundings, I’ve ventured into “what’s the point?” territory. What IS the point (of life) if everything just comes to a sudden and cataclysmic end before morphing into something else? Given that “What is the meaning of life” as a search term on Google rose 100% from October 2019 to 2020, I don’t think I’m the only one questioning life’s purpose. Existential crisis is high on the priority list for 2020 for obvious reasons.
Whilst I’m not here to share a vastly enlightened answer, I have had some insight which has lead me to gain a deeper perspective; purpose is the point
The challenges I’ve experienced throughout my life have either brought me closer to or further away from my purpose. Of course (Carl) Jung had this figured out some five decades ago, with his theory of individuation, but I felt it helpful to repurpose the concept.
Adapting and evolving
At times I’ve had, or rather felt I had no choice but to adapt and evolve and move into places I might never have imagined. Such experiences have led me to discover new skills, new people and new places that I may otherwise have not had the opportunity to engage with.
As a result, I’ve been able to add swimming school teacher, marketer, coach, English school teacher, entrepreneur, waitress, speaker, spinning teacher, author and sports masseuse to name but a few to the mix of my titles and abilities on my CV. Believe it or not, having to teach people English taught me to be a better marketer. Being a coach made me more empathetic to people’s pain points and made me a better team leader. So should you find yourself in the midst of challenge, remember;
Everything serves a purpose
This has never been clearer to me than now. In every part of the journey, I’ve learnt something, every place, every job, every relationship of substance, challenging or not has been in the interests of bringing me closer to my purpose.
The concept called purpose
So what is this elusive concept called purpose? What does it mean?
Well, firstly I do not believe purpose can ever be reduced to a job title or role. One’s purpose is a range of things that I find often, more adequately described by a single word or a statement rather than a title.
I’ve long since felt my purpose was unlocking magic in people, in organisations and the world. IF this is true then it’s easy to see how I could be living my purpose whether I’m teaching a spinning class or marketing a brand.
When the world is moving through such rapid change this is essential learning lest one’s identity and sense of self go down the drain with a lost job, business or relationship. Understanding one’s purpose will also give some guidance as to what activities to focus on next.
In response to this idea, many people feel overwhelmed at having to discover their unique purpose statement to which I say; think of what makes you truly happy and give it a word; family, beauty, wealth… Such attributes can be associated with one’s purpose.
We, humans, are a funny breed, as much as we need air, water and food, we need a purpose; a reason d’etre that moves beyond just why (no offence Simon Sinek) but extends to what. What is it that brings my soul to life and moves me?
Discovering such things brings us true joy and its joy that transports us from one moment to the next creating a life worthwhile.
Love running? Perhaps running/movement is your purpose. Recognising this can be just as helpful in moving through challenges as finding another job.
Act on your purpose
It’s funny how we think of purpose as a grand statement usually displayed in the form of a title or career but I’ve witnessed many an individual making great strides in living their purpose in showing up each day to take one small courageous act at a time.
Case in point is one of my dear friends recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, single mom to a gorgeous one-year-old. How such a thing happens I don’t know but be that as it may, she began taking him to swimming lessons in between chemo. If that isn’t living one’s purpose as a mother, I don’t know what is.
So CoVid decimated your business and you’ve had to take up menial work that you intensely dislike? Act on your purpose anyway. If your purpose is movement, keep running. If you feel your purpose is singing then sing. So if beauty is your purpose but you can’t afford expensive treatments, do a home treatment. If you feel your purpose is entrepreneurship, start a side hustle.
Whatever you do, act on your purpose in some small way every day. It’s these small actions, on purpose, that recreate joy but also enable a spin-off effect on the world around you. As such you may just see new doors start to open.
My dear friend Nic Latouf, who one of the co-founders of world-renowned brand Veldskoen always says to me; Lisa, go through the doors that open. Within reason of course and not if the door really doesn’t resonate with you. This one understanding has moved me through many situations and challenges and lead me to magic.
No matter what, purpose is the point
On that note, I close with a reminder that no matter where you find yourself now, purpose is the point and life is leading you closer to your purpose, even if only to discover that (that path) was not the way and this poem by one of my favourite poets, David Whyte titled “Make yourself a Door” resonates.
MAKE YOURSELF A DOOR – By David Whyte
“Be taught now, among the trees and rocks,
how the discarded is woven into shelter,
learn the way things hidden and unspoken
slowly proclaim their voice in the world.
Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.”
You can find out more about Lisa’s Change Your Life Course which you can find here.
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Find out more about Lisa in her bio below.
Lisa is a brand catalyst, author and speaker. She is the author of six books (including Carbs, Curves and Everything in Between) and has contributed to CNBC Africa, Psychologies, Shape Magazine and The Star Workplace.