Deciding to create my own business in my 50’s was driven by the feeling that I wanted to create a conscious business that had a clear purpose beyond simply making a profit. I felt that my business life was no longer in line with my purpose. Although I am not sure that I would have been clearly able to articulate my life purpose, I knew that something was missing from the business life I had. My work life needed to fit with my ‘why’, my ‘purpose’. This subject came back to me again recently working with a client who was facing a ‘big’ birthday and felt wobbly. When we started to discuss her thoughts on her life purpose she became tearful and admitted she had never considered it. If this is you, read on to find out how to find your purpose and why it might be helpful.

My client, let’s call her Jessica, came for coaching as she felt that she had not achieved what she thought she would have by this time in her life, that something was missing! Even though she friends and family wanted a party, she didn’t feel she had much to celebrate. During our work, she admitted she was being hard on herself as she came to acknowledge that she had achieved a great deal, but it didn’t feel like enough to her.  We began to work on her gaining clarity on her life purpose.

As is frequently the case the way we did this was by looking back on her life so far and looking into the future she wanted to have. I detail some exercises you can use later.

Interestingly, the time when we come to find our purpose differs for each generation.   Generally, generation X (born mid-1960’s to early 1980’s) come to think about their purpose when the bulk of their career is over, once they have ticked the boxes of professional development & management responsibility. It is at this time, they start to think about giving back and many begin to work with not for profit sector or volunteer for charities.

Whereas generation Y, (born 1980’s to around 2000) are much more likely to use their thoughts to their purpose and meaning to make a decision about who they want to work for or how they want to work.

So what do we mean when we talk about living ‘on purpose’?

Finding your life purpose is about finding the reason you are here on this planet, your unique contribution.  When you are ‘on purpose’, you are in flow and time passes quickly for you. You feel positive and charged with energy and enthusiasm.

Being on purpose means that you have found your ‘north star’, you know how to navigate your life. You are clear on what’s important to you, your direction and can always find yourself again, even if you get lost for a while!

Why is it helpful?

Being clear on what you stand for is very helpful. It helps us to be resilient and to make good decisions. If we are clear on our purpose, then when we are not sure of how to make a decision you can ask yourself, which option is on ‘purpose’.

How do you live a life & career that is ‘on purpose’?

There are many exercises that will help you clarify your purpose.

You could write a letter to your younger self. In the letter tell the young you all the things you have found to be important and true for you in your life so far. This could include things you didn’t believe when you were younger or things you did that you have found not to be true.

You could then write another letter, this time from yourself in the final stages of your life. What do you now know to be true?

Both of these exercises will help you find out what is important for you.

Another exercise would be to list five values you hold dear. The sit down with the list and prioritise the values by asking yourself the questions…. “Is this value more important than that one?’

Now it is time to write out your purpose. It is important that it is stated in positive terms and in the present tense. Include yourself and others in it.

Try to be brief. It doesn’t have to be grandiose or some long written document. A couple of sentences are absolutely fine. However, it can be useful to have it written down somewhere that you can look at it from time to time, check in with yourself and reflect whether it is still meaningful?

Good luck with finding your life purpose, let me know how you get on.