Understanding purpose and why it’s not what you think.


A lot of clients come to me to figure out their true purpose in life. Many of these individuals are bored and frustrated with the work they are currently doing. And they want to know if there is more to life than the monotony of the daily grind.

There is also a category of people who meet me almost in a panic because they don’t have a grand purpose in life. Everyone around them seems to have it all figured out but they are still unclear on their intent. The premise seems to be ” I don’t know what I want in life but since everyone else seems to know what they want something must be drastically wrong with me. Hence I need a coach to “fix” me.”

I believe that clarity of purpose is important but I sometimes find that the question people want an answer to is not “What is my purpose in life?” but “What is my purpose that will lead me to glory, fame, fortune and stardom?”

What is purpose?

The dictionary defines Purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”

This implies two things.

Firstly, purpose gives reason to action but does not guarantee outcomes. For e.g. your purpose could be a good parent and you may hold that purpose in mind for all actions. This purpose, however, does not guarantee that you will be a good parent. That will depend on many things like the values and beliefs you hold about being a good parent and what your child’s specific needs are.

Secondly, of you need to live a purpose it cannot have a clause attached to it. For. e.g. I want to build a social enterprise if it makes me rich and famous cannot be a true purpose. Building a social enterprise can be a purpose. It may or may not make you rich and famous. Being rich and famous on the other hand can be a purpose in itself. 

Why we lack purpose?

Not knowing what we want is often a result of having lived life based on what others think is good for you. This is a behavior we develop during childhood and get so used to it that we never delve deep into our own hearts to understand our needs. Taking a specific specialization in college because your distant cousin did the same or applying for a job role because your neighbor became successful in that role are things that many of us are guilty of.

Clarity of purpose appears when the noise of expectations is quietened.

How to start connecting with your purpose?

Question yourself: The simplest way to start connecting with your purpose in life is to start asking yourself why you do what you do for every single task and action you take in a day. This may seem tedious but at the same time, it will make you realise the number of things we do in the day that either has no reason or has a reason we are vaguely aware of.

Connect with who you are: As a child, we are all connected with who we are and what we want. As we get institutionalized by society and families we start ignoring that connection. Start connecting with your inner self, the things that give you true joy and the work that feels meaningful. 

Believe in your inner self: Trust your intuition to be able to guide you on your path. This is often difficult with the number fo distractions you will deal it. Ask yourself what true happiness means for you and when are you at your strongest. Purpose if often found where you find your strength.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away- Pablo Picasso


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