Does every person have a life purpose?
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” Eleanor Roosevelt
So, I’m sitting at my computer reading an article on-line about impossible dreams and how we should never give up on them. There is a list that goes along with the article and it outlines 9 impossible dreams. I have no patience for articles that don’t completely pertain to my life so I skimmed through the list and only read the ones that seemed to be important for what I have been thinking about lately.
The very first item on the dream list is the one that asks about the tiny little thing we were meant to do with our lives. This impossible dream is a doozy for me. I don’t know where you are at right now on your life journey but for me the question of what is my life purpose and what am I absolutely meant to do with my life is like looking straight up at Mount Everest. It feels insurmountable to me to tackle this question. I can’t seem to figure out what my whole life is meant to be about. Then it hit me like a punch in the gut:
What if the life purpose question, that which we were meant to do or become, was as simple as asking “What is my life purpose today?”; “What am I meant to do today?”
When I am coaching my clients I try to get a feel for how they each approach their lives. Do they tackle big projects full force, head on like a speeding train or do they take their projects step by step like we were taught to do when researching for a thesis paper or like when we were learning how to play a sport or how to play an instrument? It’s in these baby steps toward the larger outcome, goal, or the finished product that understanding blooms, curiosity grows, and I believe our purpose is found, in those micro moments.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love Mr. Emerson. He makes the task of being human so okay and allowable. His words give me permission to live my values today, to make a difference today like when I bake a batch of cookies for my husband’s co-workers. His words give me permission that just for today I lived and lived well because I chose to do so.
When I thought about the question I created, “What is my life purpose today” I felt an instant swell of relief surge through my body. Wait, you mean that I don’t have to take on the whole entirety of my life in one day and figure it all out before tomorrow comes around? You mean it is okay that I didn’t figure out my life purpose when I was in my twenties? Someone get me a big cushy chair because I need to sit down……
I think I can answer this question then. My life purpose TODAY is to get clear on what I want to write about today, my life purpose today is to love my family with all my heart through my actions even though I am filled with turmoil inside myself, my life purpose today is to vacuum the house because I like starting the weekend with clean floors, my life purpose today is to change the sheets on my bed so that tonight I can luxuriate and surround myself in the smell and feel of clean, fresh sheets while I read a romance novel and sip white wine. What is the domino effect of fulfilling my life purpose today and at the same time filling my soul with small steps of happiness?
In her book, “We the Living”, Ayn Rand writes about the concept of fulfillment by saying, “Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don’t know. I’ve forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn’t matter, so long as you move.” WHAHOO Ayn Rand!! Just journey on…..
I like this. I like the feeling inside of my heart that by making my life purpose all about the day I am living, about the moment I am in, the space I am occupying right this instant, that it really doesn’t matter how long it takes. After all, this is the only moment I know I have. I don’t know what kind of life lies ahead of me or who I will be if and when it comes around. I can take my life purpose today and build on it if I get a tomorrow but since I only have today then I want the purpose of today to be all that I choose to make of it.
Perhaps you are bold and daring and not cowed by the very scary, tall and monstrous mountain and you want to take your life purpose in bigger chunks. Ask yourself:
What will your life purpose be this new week? This month?
How close do you want get to your goals?
What will you allow yourself to learn?
What will you allow yourself to see?
What will you allow yourself to do?
I feel like this goes much deeper than a simple to-do list. A to-do list has its place in our daily lives don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of to-do lists but those lists can sometimes feel sterile and monotonous; they just outline the surface items that must get done before the day is out, errands that must take place.
A “life purpose today list” is about what fills your soul, what demonstrates your values, what has deep meaning for you on a consistent basis because the actions describe who you are right this minute in time and minutes in time could take 10 years before you know you are ready to declare something new and valued about yourself.
Call to Action:
Take a few minutes, as precious as they are, and answer some of the 5 questions presented in this post.
You can journal about it, create conversation about it, draw or create a vision board about it. Let me know what you come up with. What amazing” life purpose today” thoughts did you discover? How did those thoughts become action steps and what was the effect it had on the world around you? I’d love to know. And as always and purposefully, Journey On……
Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit her website at www.journeyoncoaching.com. or contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. All it takes is a spoonful of sugar and a desire to move forward passionately. If you would like to see how partnering in coaching can help create your best life so far please call or write to me and let’s start on that journey. Your personal discovery awaits….