There’s a lot of pressure these days to “find your purpose.” People hire life coaches, consult psychics, do soul searching to determine exactly why we’ve been placed on this earth.
There seems to be some urgency to find that THING you’re really good at; the talents and skills that set us apart. We may even feel unfulfilled, guilty, or somehow lacking if we don’t have a meaningful and important agenda in our lives.
But what if your purpose is elegantly simple?
What if you are here to be you?
There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and I’m afraid you are just another one of them. You are a stitch in the fabric of humanity. This doesn’t mean you are not unique, as you most certainly are. But if you’re holding onto the idea that you are meant to change the world or leave your mark on mankind, do yourself a favor and let go of that notion. Only the tiniest fraction of humans walk that path.
Being the best at what you already are is ultimately more important and more fulfilling than creating a purpose outside of yourself. What if your purpose is simply to love and support someone else (your child); to be a partner (your spouse), or to offer friendship, a listening ear, and maybe laughter (your pals)? Contributions like these – being present, supportive, loving, or authentic – are undeniably priceless. Where would the others in your life be without you?
Maybe it’s because I’ve reached middle age, but when I finally realized this, it really took the pressure off. I breathe a little easier knowing I don’t have to find some way to make my life meaningful. My purpose and its meaning are already here. All I have to do is focus my energies on trying to be the best version of myself.
- Instead of comparing yourself to others, develop and become comfortable with your individuality.
- Stop chasing after physical perfection. Focus on your health and wellbeing, and your natural and age-appropriate beauty will shine.
- Define your personal success on the quality of relationships in your life instead of the amount of money in your bank account.
Finally, this post is not meant to diminish the importance of defining a purpose for your life. On the contrary, purpose brings meaning to our lives, protects us from disease and increases our longevity. It reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and greatly enhances our ability to reach our goals.
In fact, Marie José Shaar, author of Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance, recently blogged on the importance of honing in on a purpose when we undertake goals related to wellness. In her words, purpose “motivates us to accomplish feats we’d never consider otherwise.”
Going on a “diet” with the goal of losing a few pounds, will rarely be as successful as deciding to change your eating habits so as to have more energy, look better in your clothes, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
My upcoming workshop, Happier & Healthier: Balancing Sleep, Food, Mood and Exercise for Optimal Living, is based on the Smarts and Stamina book mentioned above. In the first week participants each create and share a sentence that articulates their motivation for being a part of the course. It’s not about what they want to change, but specifically, why the change(s) matter? The exercise helps us look a little deeper, and the result just might be the ticket to success.
Workshop detail are available here. Sign up soon as early bird prices are only available through August 15th.