Purpose and Meaning – What is yours?
Do you have a sense of purpose –do you know what it is you were put on this planet to achieve, to become?
This is a question that I didn’t even think to ask myself until a few years ago, during my recovery from depression. I realised that knowing why I am, was important for my recovery. To be authentic and true to myself and to live in a way that respected my mind and body, I had to discover my purpose. In this way, I made sure that I didn’t get trapped by the allure of my previous treadmill again.
Victor Frankl wrote an amazing, if harrowing, book about his experiences during the Holocaust – Man’s Search for Meaning. By observing himself and his fellow concentration camp prisoners, he discovered that those with a sense of meaning, of purpose were more resilient and survived the total inhumanity of that time. It is a book well worth reading.
What is a purpose and what could yours be? It’s a question that clients and I invariably explore at some stage during our coaching relationship. It is rarely easy to find and is frequently difficult to articulate. For some, it is more of a feeling and for others it is a picture that they see in their minds. Invariably, your purpose reflects your values in life, and, as highlighted by Frankl, it gives you both a reason and instruction on how to live your version of a fulfilling life.
My purpose is to improve health and well-being, individual by individual. This statement embraces my vocation and core training as a health professional; it also, to my surprise, rebuffs my previous focus on disease and population health. I no longer see people as broken and requiring fixing; and I now take the time to see others as individuals and to listen to their unique, and fascinating stories. In turn, my purpose informs my personal life goal – to be active and content, aged 92 (at least!).
When I have a decision to make, either personal or professional, I use my purpose as a compass. It really helps me decide on which course of action to take and how to prioritise my time. And importantly, it helps me maintain a great work life balance – if I can’t live “health and well-being”, how can I work with others as they seek to find their purpose and bring it into their lives.
As I ask on the home page of this website, do you know that it is time for you to forge ahead, to navigate the choices ahead of you. Are you aware that it is time to explore into the haze of uncertainty ahead of you? And yet you find you hesitate …
Perhaps the missing part of the map is your purpose? Is it time for you to rest rather than strive, and ask yourself why it is that you were put on this planet?