Looking for your purpose in life? Maybe you shouldn’t….

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By Angela Hayden

Apr 18
purpose in life

Looking for your purpose in life? Maybe you shouldn’t….

I’m at that age where I give a lot of thought to my own purpose in the world and I see many I know looking for it as well. It seems we are all so conditioned to work hard, get through school, maybe get a graduate degree, get that first “real” job, get married, get a house, have kids, then put them through the same conditioning we had only to wake up one day thinking “isn’t there more to life than this?”

Just writing that made me cringe a little inside. How about you?

This way of life is also what leads to the proverbial mid-life crisis. Sometimes people get to that point much earlier in life and head off to India or backpacking across Europe or something. Kudos to those people for exploring before they get boxed into a life that mirrors society’s expectations. Or perhaps just what we think are society’s expectations.

For myself, once I started getting cozy with the idea of contemplating my own purpose, I started getting super excited about all the possibilities out there to go fulfill it. Opening up to daydreaming about all the amazing do-goody things I could do out there was an awesome experience. I didn’t really do that until relatively recently.

Then I spiraled quickly into analysis paralysis. And it was completely utterly paralyzing. There were so many options, how could I possibly know which one to choose?

I didn’t know. And I couldn’t choose.

Eventually I made some choices, but left myself room to change course. And change course I did.

As a result of those actions, I have been fortunate to have accomplished some things that make me pretty proud. I’ve had a positive impact on the lives of others. And that feels pretty darn good.

But now and then I still get stuck, wondering what to do next. Questioning whether I am in alignment with my purpose. (Sounds deep, doesn’t it?)

Well, last week, I was listening to an interview with Seth Godin (if you don’t know much about him or know him at all, Google him and enjoy – let’s call him, among other things, the original email newsletter guy). He spoke about finding your calling.

What he had to say was rather surprising.

His advice?

Stop looking for your purpose! Maybe you don’t even have a calling.

He actually goes even further and calls it “complete nonsense.” Or as Steve Pressfield would call it, “the resistance.”

Really what life is all about is challenges we can sign up for and emotions we can experience.

If we keep watching the carousel waiting for the perfect horse, we are just missing out. Period. All the horses are equally as good and watching and waiting and searching for the perfect one means letting lots of opportunities go by.

What he is saying is stop spinning around “searching” for purpose, for who you are, and just get out there and do something.

I’ve found that to be true for myself. When I do land in the “spin cycle” of my head, as I like to call it, it’s usually because I need to take action on something. To stop waiting for the perfect horse to come around.

Now, if you have made it over to peek at our life coaching business materials, you’ll find some stuff about helping people find their own purpose and passion in their profession. I work with a lot of burned out professionals.

So when I heard what Seth had to say, I was a bit miffed. I mean, I am trying to teach people how to do that thing he says is a big waste of time, right?

No. And here’s why:

The intersection of Seth’s words and my work can be found where people start taking action. People often come to me when they are stuck. In an emotional pattern (usually related to or following a high conflict situation, like litigation or a divorce). They are looking to find purpose in life and don’t know how to start.

And the truth is, for many, there isn’t much to do other than just take a few little steps forward. And that’s how they find purpose and passion.

They don’t do it by thinking about it.

It may sound like I have oversimplified things a bit, but this actually works well. Taking just a few steps forward can help people see where they want to go. Whether it is towards a more satisfying relationship, a more fulfilling career path, or a complete and utter full life shakeup. The important part is the moving forward bit.

I invite you to join us over at www.biglifeleaps.com  if you want to learn more about how to take those first few steps.

You may be glad you did.

And if you’re someone searching for meaning and purpose and passion? Maybe it’s time to stop looking and start doing. Something. Anything.

I wish you bon voyage on your own amazing journey. 

This week’s recipe:

As we have been making lots of mason jar salads lately to be prepared for lunch, salad dressings have been going like crazy. When I realized years ago how much sugar is in pre-made salad dressings, I stopped using them and now make my own at home. A great dressing is the key to a great salad. Accordingly, I share this week’s vinaigrette recipe with you…Enjoy!

Shallot Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil (use the good stuff)

1 shallot minced

1 tbsp. honey

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, shallots, mustard and thyme. Once those are combined, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while whisking vigorously. It should take several minutes to add all the oil to the mixture. Once all of the oil is added, add salt and pepper to taste.

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About the Author

Angela discovered the joys of taking deep breaths, stopping to listen for the sake of listening (instead of for the sake of waiting for a chance to respond), assuming the best of intent behind people’s actions, and general mindfulness after experiencing a major life change in recent years and brings a bit of that to every client interaction. She has found her life (personal and professional) and tennis game have improved dramatically as a result. Namaste!