What’s it all about?
Last weekend was the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. She’s reigned for 60 years! It got me thinking; all of her life she’s known exactly what her purpose is. How many of us can say the same thing? Isn’t that one of the biggest questions we ever ask ourselves – why am I here? What’s my purpose?
Some people are very talented at certain things, like singing or painting and so naturally find their purpose in life. But, this wasn’t the case for me – I wasn’t particularly good at anything and for a few years I felt really lost, because I didn’t know what my purpose was. How are you supposed to find your ‘why’ in life, when you don’t even know where to start looking? I think figuring it out is all part of the adventure of life – I even went all the way to Australia in search of my ‘why’!
However, on my discovery I have read some great books, watched some amazing videos, been inspired by brilliant quotes, heard some great advice, and picked up some great tips, so I thought I’d share them with you.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what your purpose is. For me, this is really important. I use to worry all the time and feel really defeated by the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and what my purpose was. It used to drive me crazy, until I let it go. I changed the way I thought about it – from focusing on not knowing what it was, to being excited by the adventure of discovering it. That tiny change in perspective started a chain reaction – my attitude changed and then so did the actions I took and the way I felt. Life is an adventure and we’re all, in some way or another, living to discover the purpose of it all. How liberating is that?
Getting the adventure going. Once I had changed the way I thought about discovering my purpose, I realised that I needed to adjust my sails and get my adventure going in the right direction. There’s a great quote I read, which says,
“You decide every moment of every day who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance every second.”
To me this meant that I could walk down different avenues, try different things, explore and if the shoe didn’t fit I could take it off and keep searching. Here are some of the things I tried…
- Volunteering – I love animals, so I thought I’d volunteer at an animal rescue sanctuary. It was fun, but after about a month I realised that it wasn’t for me, so I moved on to something else. I then started to volunteer as a mentor for The Prince’s Trust – I loved it and realised that it really fulfilled a part of me. So, I stuck with it. It wasn’t going to fulfil me completely, but I felt it formed part of my ‘why’ in life.
- I went travelling to Australia. In 2012 I made the decision to go travelling around Australia. I was hoping I’d have a epiphany whilst I was there and miraculously discover what my life was all about. It didn’t happen. But, it was fun and I realised that I missed meeting new people and it got me thinking about how I could connect with people I felt I belonged with, who were like me. It was the beginning of an idea, that eventually turned into the Female Entrepreneur Association, although I didn’t realise it at the time.
- I came up with loads of different business ideas. When I look back now I realise how much this confused me – there was a telecoms idea, a marketing and media idea, there was the idea for FEA, but I didn’t know which was the best option to move forward with. This is when it al fell into place for me…
Discovering your purpose and your ‘why’ in life, is much easier when you know what your values are, what you believe in and what kind of person you want to be. I had started to write down my values, beliefs and the kind of person I wanted to be after reading The E-myth by Michael Gerber. In the book he says, imagine walking into a room and you seeing all your friends and family sitting down – at the front of the room you see a box and when you look inside the box you realise that it’s you and it’s your funeral (morbid, I know). He says, imagine the kinds of things you want people to be saying about you – how do you want to be remembered? What kind of person do you want them to remember you as? When I read this it really got me thinking about the kind of person I wanted to become. Here are some of the things I wrote down…
- To always have integrity, no matter what
- To be kind and generous
- To help others and want nothing in return
- To inspire people to believe that they can make their dreams come true
- To be a good person
- To be happy
- To always see the best in people
These are just a few other the things I wrote down and I know they’re things lots of people would write, but when I saw them on paper I realised that every decision I made had to pass that criteria. The thing which meant most to me was inspiring people – that made me happy and so I knew that the telecoms idea that I’d had didn’t pass the test, so I stopped focusing on it.
Once you know what you believe in – no matter how small, those things will help you to make the decisions which align most with who you are as a person and to me that’s all part of not only figuring out your purpose, but actually living it.
Investigate. Take time to investigate what you love doing, what you don’t love doing – read books, watch videos, take on board advice – you’ll know when something doesn’t sit right with you, because it will feel wrong and when that happens let it go and move on to new ideas, adventures and pieces of advice.
Have patience. I think this is a big one. I was interviewing someone recently and I asked him what his advice would be for people who feel lost and don’t know what to do with their life. He said that they have to investigate and have patience. Once you have discovered a few of your values and beliefs you will have a better idea of where you want to do in life and this can be as vague or as specific as you like. Maybe you just know that in 18 months time you’d like to be doing something you love – you don’t need to know anymore than that. Once you focus on that idea and start to investigate it things will start to happen, maybe not right away – and this is where you need to have patience. You might read a book that says great things, but it doesn’t completely click into place for you – that’s perfectly fine, because maybe 6 months down the line someone will say something to you and all of a sudden that book will make perfect sense. The point is that once you start to focus on your goal, as vague as it is, you will start to move towards it. It might take a week or it might take 2 years – but if you stay focused and true to yourself, you’ll get there. I’d say it took me around 2 and a half years of proactive searching for it to finally fall into place and even though there were days when I felt like hiding under my duvet and never coming out, I never gave up. And somewhere deep down inside I believed that one day I’d figure it all out and live my life doing what I love.
Don’t think that you have to pick one thing. I used to think that you could only have one true purpose in life and that was it. I have since completely changed my opinion on this. I think life is about doing all the things you want to do, no matter how big or small. If you want to run a business, run a business. If you want to write a book, write a book. If you love yoga and want to be a yoga teach, be a yoga teacher. I really do believe that in life you can do and be anything you want as long as it aligns with who you are (I know I’m never going to be the world’s strongest women – but that doesn’t align to who I am, so it’s not right for me.) You are allowed to love more than one thing, you are allowed to be and do more than one thing over your lifetime. So never limit yourself to what you can and can’t do or to what you think is and isn’t possible.
Lastly, the power to live an amazing life is within you and nowhere else. Only you can choose to live an amazing life, only you can choose to be happy, only you can choose to be fulfilled. Some of the most successful people in the world feel totally unfulfilled and unhappy. Why? Well, I think it’s because they focus on getting their happiness and fulfilment from material things that exist outside of themselves. I once read a great quote by Carl Jung, which said,
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
who looks inside, awakes.”
On a final note, another great book to read is Start With Why, by Simon Sinek – it’s a brilliant book and may help with your discover of ‘why’.
These are just some of the things that have helped me and some of the ideas I have formed over the past few years. I don’t think anyone can ever tell you want your purpose is, I think it’s something only you can discover for yourself, but I do think that different advice, tips, books etc can help you along the way.
Life is an adventure, so make sure you get out there and discover new things, meet new people, try something new and live an amazing life being true to yourself.