As I write this it’s the ‘new term’ that is September. For me, more of a new year than the 1st of January ever is. That lovely new pencil case feeling of opportunity, promise and ideas. If you’ve managed some rest and recuperation over the summer, you might even be feeling energised and poised for adventure! In reality, many of us are feeling a mix of all that hope but with a dollop of dread about the speed that life will go over the next few months.
Last week, I hosted a workshop about how to make the most of the last quarter of the year (see Member Hub for recording) and we talked about the importance of purpose. I want to revisit that for this first How To Guide after the Summer break.
I want to focus on our own personal purpose. You may have started your micro business with clear purpose – perhaps around what it would do for your life, how you could spend your days and what difference you could make to people’s lives. However, in a busy and noisy world, we can become tired or disconnected from our purpose. Our purpose may have changed over time or got a new focus. We may have had a false sense of purpose that has left us drained and a little lost.
Here are a few little tips I have picked up over the years to help re establish our purpose or perhaps simply reconnect with it in readiness for the new season ahead. With purpose, we feel more energy, more clarity and more rooted to what we’re doing in our businesses & lives, even on days which have worry or uncertainty.
Start with your personal values
Our values are the foundations of our own self. They are the base on which we can build a life's purpose. We may have a whole set of values in our minds like putting others first or being empathic or always taking care of the environment or family first etc. This is great but what if you had to narrow these all down to two core values that captured everything? Brene Brown, on her website, does a great tick list exercise to help you narrow down your values. Despite identifying with lots of the values she mentions like authenticity, balance, caring, family, giving back & wisdom, when faced with only two choices, I realise that mine are connection and making a difference. If you could narrow down your values to just two...what would they be?
Connect your values with what you do
Imagine that you've managed to choose two core values in your life (not easy!!) and you now want to see how these influence your best life. Write down your values and then ask yourself, what am I doing when I am living within that value. For me, I am able to connect 'making a difference' to many areas of my life from working with you to being there for family and friends. The result of this exercise is that you can start to map out the things you do that are within your core values to identify when life feels at its best, in the flow, fulfilling etc....when you're living with purpose.
Don't muddle purpose with goals
Often when we think of purpose, it can be easy to start to talk about something you want to achieve. For example, 'my purpose is to be the best business coach in the UK' (not my goal btw!!) but what that can do is start to accidentally disconnect you from your core purpose which might be more like 'helping other achieve their dream every day'. What is in your everyday that makes you feel like you're headed in the right direction? Does it feel easier to make sure you're purpose led each day before you set a goal?
Purpose from the present day can help
If you're trying to reconnect with your purpose, it is useful to make sure that the purpose comes from what you already have. We can never find our real purpose if we are focussed on what we don't yet have. For example, if we are focussed on a bigger house or more money (check the next point about how to dream big too!) then we can start to live outside our purpose in pursuit of those things. We might make decisions out of fear or 'lack of things' by mistake instead of great decision that help you live in your purpose each day...which will much more likely result in more abundance, money or your version of success.
Build a life vision
This is the space where we can start to build in some of those dreams and plans but keeping them 'purpose led' rather than hanging baubles of achievement on some sort of tree of life. So....if you dream of living in a bigger house surrounded by open fields, then add it to your vision but framed as part of your purpose. For example, instead of just seeing the house and writing that down, it might be more like, a vision of the house as a place for you to live in your values, where you can achieve your purpose, where you will continue to feel connected to your purpose. Perhaps focus more on how that vision, when it's achieved, will feel? You can use this type of life vision as a way of helping you stay on track and living/working with purpose each and every day, rather than a list of hopes and ideas for some point in the future that aren't connected to what you can do today.