Are you living with Purpose?

Ah, PURPOSE… whenever I start talking about this subject I feel like I’m in a John Hughes film. 

I struggled for years, and I mean YEARS, trying to figure out what my “calling” was. What was my Purpose? I equated that with a career, or something I was supposed to DO. I had talent, and almost pursued a singing career… but I didn’t. I’m not entirely sure if I chickened out, or if it just wasn’t meant to be.  Looking back, I'm certain it would have been a very hard life, and while some of my college friends went on to successful careers in the industry, I’m rather glad I didn't.

When you’re young and passionate, it’s easy to get sidetracked into searching for the “reason you’re here.”  As we grow and mature, the truth slowly reveals itself, and we realize there are many things we could do, career paths we could follow, but Purpose is much deeper and broader in scope.  

 What I’m getting at here, is motivation

 Each of us has an overarching life “theme” that governs how we live. Brendon Burchard says at the end of his life, he wants to be able to answer three questions “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”  As a Christian, my ultimate purpose is to live a life that is true to, and glorifies God. So my question would be “did I live my life in such a way that others could see Jesus in me?” 

What are your questions? You have them, whether or not you acknowledge them. Something guides you, pushing you grow and develop.  If you’re reading my blog, you’re at least somewhat interested in personal growth… so if you don’t know if you’re living with purpose or not, let’s take a quick look and either celebrate, or help you make a few changes.  

You in? 

Read on.

First, though, I want to state that even if you end up with a few changes to make, that’s just behavior, attitude or mindset - not your value.  You were wonderfully, carefully and personally created ~ with purpose. Therefore, you have Purpose. 

That said, sometimes we need help pinpointing it.  I find these three questions to be helpful. 

Do you know your Why?

You need to know why you do what you do ~ your core values. In his famous TED Talk, “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek introduced the “Golden Circle,” in which he tells companies that before you can sell your widget, you must first know Why your company exists (the core belief), then decide How you will fulfill that core belief, then you can deliver the What that accomplishes that core belief.   

I’m a Values-based Coach, so his message resonates heavily with me. 

I carefully and purposefully (see what I did there?) help my clients determine their Core Values.  If you work with me on any level, you will do this exercise.  Values are not your beliefs or morals. Those things can, and do, change as you grow, learn and mature. Core Values are your most basic, life principles. Who you are, at your core.

When you know your Core Values, you then have guardrails within which to operate and make decisions.  Your goals can then be aligned with your Values, ensuring you’re focused on what's important, not just on a goal for the sake of getting ahead.  

So ~ what’s your Why?

How do you care for others?

Even if you haven't identified your Core Values yet, here’s another good indicator of whether or not you are living with purpose. How “others focused” are you? You don’t need to be Mother Theresa, but taking the focus off yourself, for even a little while each day, has so many benefits, including discovering a “sense of purpose.” 

When you care for others, your mindset shifts.  It’s very difficult to get out there and truly help people without developing a servant heart. If you don’t have one when you start, circumstances will help you develop one, and probably a good bit of humility to go along with it.  Jessica Honegger shares a poignant story of learning this lesson in her book Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared.  She learned, the hard way, that “people are made to be loved, not fixed. People are not problems to be solved.” (p.159) 

Truly caring for others involves more than just doing things for them. It’s a humble mindset, putting their needs first, fostering unity and respect. Seeing people as they are, where they are, and for who they are, opens up your eyes to see yourself more clearly. You might call it “The Golden Rule.”  

 So ~ how are you caring for others?

 Have you picked a direction?

To live with Purpose, you must be actively moving toward something. Choose a point on the horizon, and move with confidence. This is where knowing your Why and having a humble heart come into play. Those things lay the foundation for knowing your overall objective.  

 No need to wander aimlessly ~ seriously.

You may not know exactly what you want to do for a career. You may think you’ve “fallen into” a career (I know all about that). You may be at a crossroads where you have 3-4 directions you could go… well, pick one. If it’s not the “right” one you’ll figure that out soon enough, and you can change. 

You have the power to change direction, if necessary.

Some people have very dramatic “turning point” stories. Brendon Burchard, as I mentioned earlier, had a nearly fatal car accident that caused him to truly evaluate his purpose, and he came up with his three questions. I’m one of those who “fell into” my career, and eventually decided I wanted to do something that better aligns with my core values, allows me to serve others, and keeps me in line with my greatest purpose of serving God.

 So ~ what is your point on the horizon?

How do you measure up?

Do you know your Why? Are you serving others? Are you moving toward an “end goal?”  

If so, and you didn’t realize you were already living with purpose, congratulations!  Celebrate! Do more! 

If you answered “no” to at least one of those, it’s time for a little work. Don’t worry, some of it might be tough, but it’s good work. Perhaps 2020 is a year of change and growth for you.  As a coach, I provide the structure and accountability you need to focus on what’s important and figure out your direction. You don’t have to do this alone. If you find my message encouraging or inspiring, let’s chat about how I can serve you as we head into the next exciting decade.  Contact Me

If you have not yet joined our Intentional Optimist Facebook Group please do so, and share how you are living with Purpose. We are building a global community of women who celebrate the wonder of our beauty and diversity through helping, teaching and mentoring other women. 

Purposefully laughing at the days to come!

~Andrea

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There are events in life that define our journey. Once they happen, we begin describing everything else as “before X” or “after X”. For me,it was the day my mother died. Suddenly, I became aware of my own limited timeline. The drive to find my voice, purpose and place became urgent. I dove in, head first, and discovered the desire to help myself fueled a greater desire - to help others. Soon, I stopped defining myself in terms  of roles (wife, mother, manager),  but in terms of qualities: curious, determined, happy, adventurous. I've come to understand, that the qualities that make us who we are, are what we must celebrate. We each have a special purpose, unique perspective, and unlimited potential. Better yet, we can both discover and develop them.   

I do this through speaking, training, coaching and writing -  with a focus on helping women grow into the leaders they truly are. Intentional Optimism is my philosophy of life, and includes these five pillars:

          Optimistic - Hopeful, Positive Proactive

          Present - Seeking Wonder, Generous, Kind

          Courageous – Leading Others, Adventurous, Resilient

          Energetic - Industrious, Excitement, Life-focused

          Wise - In Respect, Words and having Understanding

          Intentional - Purposeful, Planning, Growth Mindset

I'm building a global community of women helping women. A place where we foster leadership from every stage or position in life. A place where we celebrate wonder; move forward with hope and openness; share wisdom and encouragement; offer each other a helping hand; ask freely, and share lavishly; and celebrate our differences as avenues of growth and expansion.

Let’s  change our understanding of what it means to work, provide for our families, have financial stability, and be a leader in the community. Life is an adventure - let's live it to the fullest!  

It’s time to laugh at the days to come! - Prov. 31:25

Won’t you join me on the journey?