As we look forward to emerging from lockdown and connecting to our lives, there is excitement in the air as we can finally get back to normal but for many, it can bring about a lot of anxiety. After prolonged separation from our friends, family and from the things that make us who we are; detachment, disconnection, loss of purpose and direction are common themes.
The truth is for many of us, as hard as lockdown has been, it has been a massive time-out, it has been easy to put our dreams and goals to one side, prioritising survival over progression. The thought of once again entering into real life and coming face to face with where we are can be overwhelming. It’s a scary realisation and an uncomfortable thought to know we’ve lost sight of who we are, what makes us happy and how we are able to express ourselves in the world.
We often come around to that seemingly unfathomable question “Is this all there is to life?” before promptly running in the opposite direction and burying that feeling of discontentment deep within us for another day.
My mission is to smash any preconceived ideas you might have about purpose.
So, what exactly is the purpose?
It gets passed around a lot in the coaching world, it can feel unobtainable, out of reach, something that is reserved for those who are on a mission to save the world or have some perceived higher purpose.
Here’s the thing: It really doesn’t need to be that complicated. You can live out your purpose by simply reconnecting to yourself.
When I was at my lowest point two and a half years ago, I had lost all sense of my purpose, I simply didn’t know the value I had to bring to the world.
Community is important to me; I thrive off the value that connection brings. I live out my purpose by being present in my community. Sometimes that can be as simple as striking up a connection with the owner of a coffee shop. No, I am not saving the world but it makes me happy and feel connected.
Have you ever sat with the question: “What value do I want to bring to the world”, through a simple lens of chatting to the person who owns your local coffee shop?
Your purpose is your why
It is your compass in your life
It is how you connect to the world
- The purpose isn’t a single goal
- It isn’t a destination
- It isn’t reserved for who we perceive as “gifted” people
- It isn’t necessarily defined by your career (I know shocker)
I like to say that purpose is the value you bring to the world as you see it.
Three myths on purpose:
Direction rather than a destination
Avoid defining the end as your purpose. Your goal is your milestone or destination. Your purpose is the direction you want to travel in. France is destination whist how you choose to get there is a direction. Likewise, becoming a teacher, nurse or singer are our goals. Educating, helping or entertaining people is a purpose.
Resonates with who you are
What do you love doing? Your purpose should reflect your passion and values. This requires a certain level of self-awareness because you can’t know what your passion and values are unless you are prepared to do the work to uncover them.
Rooted in love, not fear
Your purpose should liberate you and be aligned with love and not fear or your EGO. Purposes like “to be rich,” “to be successful,” or “to have status” are fear-based. Your purpose should come from within.
Where to start?
- What do you love to do?
When we’ve lost sight of who we are, the act of reconnecting to something that made you happy as a child can have a huge positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
- What comes easily to you?
Living in purpose shouldn’t be forced, it should feel balanced and integrated.
- Ask yourself, What are two things I most enjoy expressing in the world?
- Then ask, What are two ways I most enjoy expressing these things?
- When have you felt the most fulfilled? What has changed since that time?
We don’t have one purpose, life isn’t that linear, it will change as we do and the world around us does. It isn’t surprising that after such a weird time in our lives that we are feeling lost. The good news is that through some time and attention you can once again find a path that will guide you to emerge with purpose.
Nadra Shah is a certified CBT and life coach, she spent her career working with award-winning purpose-driven organizations, helping social entrepreneurs get clearer on their WHY. She was voted one of the top 100 creative leaders with a social heart by The Dots. She has been featured in The Guardian and Women’s Health. Nadra helps women who are stuck, overcome fear to live a more purposeful life, getting out of their heads and into the life they deserve to be living.