What a great time of year to take stock, plan ahead and hit the ground running (with some self care and relaxation as well!) into 2016 whatever your business, personal or financial goals are.
I talk to so many people of all ages who say ‘You know, I’m ok with what I’m doing but I feel like there just has to be more.
It feels like an endless treadmill at times and I sometimes feel like I’m on autopilot instead of fully engaging with and enjoying life.’
It starts with that question that can either excite you or make your want to run the other way as you think ‘oh no, here we go again, that BIG question that just stresses me out at times.’
And what is that question?
‘What is my purpose?’
For lots of people that question stresses them.Makes them feel inadequate at times.
Makes them wonder if they should be doing something different.
And sometimes makes them think ‘OMG I’ve got family, work, social, study responsibilities with hardly any time to myself and I’m supposed to find my purpose?
You’ve got to be joking.
And what about the fact that I have a number of skills and interests that all interest me? Am I really supposed to narrow it down to ONE purpose?’ (the answer is no, all of your skills and interests combine to lead you to your purpose).
And as many of you know, I often refer to the get real factor. I think that’s what transforms feeling inadequate, stressed and not sure if you are on the right path to ”Phew! I’ve got this! I get it! And it’s not some big giant airy fairy thing. It’s real, it’s based on science and it brings amazing results in MY real life context.”
We’ve got bills to pay. Families to look after. Rent or mortgage, insurance and many other overheads that mean we need to earn a stable income. For many of us that also means earning an income in a job that enables us to spend quality time with our children and partners during this phase of life-even if it is not our ideal job-or even close to it.
And what do you do if you ‘discover’ your purpose? It’s unlikely (even though some suggest this) that you can just pack your bags and take the next flight to the life of your dreams. So if that’s not gonna happen why set myself up for disappointment by even thinking about it?
You know…. the one that actually fits into real life!
One that often opens unexpected doors as you continue to follow it, even if you start with just 15 minutes a week as you continue with your real life of responsibilities, work and family priorities.
It’s important to spend a bit of time thinking about what lights you up.
Why? Well there are a few reasons.
One is that research shows if you spend some time doing what you get ‘lost’ in, it makes it much harder to experience burn out. You’re contributing to your well being, most likely opening doors to future opportunities and spending a bit of time doing something that has you so in the flow that you feel a sense of stress relief and relaxation away from the daily grind. It doesn’t have to be hours. It can be just 15-20 minutes to start.
Another reason is that you were brought here with unique gifts, talents and skills you’re meant to share with others to help you grow and evolve and to help others. When you use those skills you feel in the flow. It feels right, aligned, connected and fun. And often others will thank you for what you”ve shared or given and some will connect you to further opportunities to do more of it!
An anchored ship can not be steered. Once it pulls up anchor, it can be directed as it moves through the ocean. Same with you. You have to take the first steps in the direction you desire and you’ll be guided through situations, inner gut feelings and surprise opportunities that would never have happened if you just sat on your sofa waiting for opportunities to show up.
I’ve heard one father describe how he got up early before their newborn baby woke up to spend 15 minutes each morning working on his book. In a month he had a good portion of the book written and when published it went on to be a big seller.
I watched a single mother on TV describe how although, working full time while caring for her three children and managing the house, she found 30 minutes a week to follow her passion of writing poetry. As the half hours fulfilled her, she found more blocks of time in her week (while still being a great mother and employee!) and in a short amount of time was doing poetry reading at the local library and was gaining a reputation as a great poet. She felt fulfilled and it helped her get through some of the daily pressures of managing work, house and family.
So how do you begin to find that path and take one step toward it?
Write down responses to the following questions. Be real. Be honest. Give yourself permission to dream big. Give yourself time. Have fun with it! Let it percolate in your mind and revisit the questions. If you knew there would only be success, how would you answer the following questions?
- What makes me feel alive and fulfilled?
- What lights me up?
- What makes time just fly by?
- What do I really desire-love to do?
- What would my ideal day or life (if I could wave a magic wand and have it) look like?
- What type of lifestyle do I need to create and support the life I want?
- What are some of the first steps I can take?
For many of you, as you start to write down the responses, ideas will come to you. Take a step in that direction and see what unfolds.
If the word purpose seems way too mega mega for you, ignore that word and focus on the answers to those questions. And if you already are doing what you love, then celebrate that and appreciate it.
I’ve always found Wayne Dyer’s quote ‘Don’t die with the music still inside you’ to be sobering, motivating and exciting all at the same time.
Have fun doing this. Baby steps lead to big outcomes. And let your music out so the world can benefit from what only you can offer!
Between now and the end of the year, I’ll send fortnightly newsletters with further ideas to help you end the year with gratitude and walk into 2016 with great excitement and a sense of infinite possibilites.
My new mantra and tag line is find your freedom, live your purpose, manifest abundance and always have fun.
Those four phrases are like the numbers on a combination lock that together unlock the very things you desire to achieve and receive.
What is one step you can take to start asking those questions?