Unlike animals whose primary drive is to survive, humans strive to make the most out of our life, to create, foster, and yes to leave a legacy. To do this we need to know our life’s purpose, our why.
Without knowing our purpose there is a lack of direction and lack of control. Life is missing joy, meaning, and interest. Our happiness factor is diminished and we feel like we’re on the treadmill of life; moving but not really going anywhere.
Understanding our why allows us to rise above a focus on survival mode (the meeting of our emotional and physical needs) to one where we can focus on our purpose in life. It also helps us to contribute to the world around us (heck even to the entire world!) by focusing on not only what we are good at but also what enjoy doing. Living our why provides more joy and happiness in our life. Sign me up for more of that please! 🙂
There is a ton of literature and websites to help us discover our why – there is also no one right way to uncover it. You can spend lots of money, read dozen’s of books, spend hours perusing the web but we need to locate our own why; it is unique for each of us.
To discover our why we need to know what our passion(s) are, our values, our natural talents, and our skills/experience. If we don’t take the time to understand these key pieces to our why we will steer our lives in a direction that won’t deliver us to living our life’s purpose – our why.
Passion fuels everything in our life. It fuels our energy to keep going and our ambition to keep trying. It is the drive to be who we want to be. Passion is the lens in which we see and experience the world – it is the container in which we shape our why.
Passion is more than enthusiasm or excitement. Passion is ambition which materializes into action. We are passionate about something when we put as much of our heart, mind, body, and soul into something as humanly possible. A key to know when you are tapping into a passion is when you enter into “flow.” Flow is when you are doing something that energizes and excites you, time just seems to fly; hours have passed yet it feels like only minutes.
So how do we know what we are passionate about? Try these simple steps to help uncover your passion:
- Act as a Turtle and Find Your Inner Sherlock Holmes. Slow life wwaaaay down. Take time to experience each moment – be actively present as you move through your day. When we can slow down, we can tap into the best version of ourselves and find the answers we are searching for. Notice the clues. Listen to your thoughts and signals from your body. Feel your feelings. Be keenly aware of the messages that we are constantly being fed. When we can quiet our minds, our subconscious and true sell will speak. This is one of the most difficult things to do but is vitally important to uncovering our why! This step will take more time for some than others – some find it easy to slow down and to be present, others need to practice and develop awareness.
- Replace Your Board of Directors. We all tell ourselves stories about who we are, what we can and cannot do, why we are the way we are, etc. Are these stories and inner voices truly accurate? What comments are our inner critics (our Board of Directors) telling us today that are deep seated in the past? Are they helping or are they hindering? If we feel the voices are holding us back, replace them with new Board Members that will support our desire to be more confident and courageous so we may stretch and grow. We must remove these limiting beliefs, the stories that are not true about ourselves so that we can be crystal clear on what we were born to do.
- Eliminate the Groundhog. Remember the movie Groundhog Day? Once Bill Murray realized that he was reliving the same day over and over, he was able to fix the things that were irritating and kept going wrong. We need to be an observer of our daily patterns, habits, and interactions with others. What parts do we enjoy and what do we abhor? Recognition will help us to be clear on what our reoccurring habits and patterns of behavior are doing to enhance or limit our ability to use our passion.
- Turn Off Our Inner Autopilot. We need to take our lives off of cruise mode. Make a conscious decision to un-numb ourselves by picking up our heads and removing the blinders so we clearly see what parts of daily life we enjoy and what parts we want to make a plan to modify. Have you ever showed up at work and wondered how you go there? That’s autopilot. Disengage your autopilot so you can experience life to discover and then enjoy your passions.
- Brain Dump. With the results from steps one through four. For a week (or longer) take time to write down your thoughts and experiences. While you were tapping into your inner turtle and Sherlock Holmes what did you discover about yourself? What answers did you find when you quieted your mind? What joy did you experience when you replaced some Board Members, eliminated the groundhog, and disengaged the autopilot? Write about your experiences. What did you like? What made you loose track of time? What made you happy? What made you pat yourself on the back and say I ROCK! Remember to remain focused on what you enjoyed and can do – loose the attention that we all too often give to what we should do or can’t do. What I like to call the shoulda, woulda, coulda syndrome.
Through being present and cognizant during this time of reflection, we can examine what puts us into flow, what we truly love doing, what makes us excited, happy, and fulfilled.
Passion, values, talents, and skills/expertise are the components to the equation of discovering our purpose – our why. This post is step one out of four to discover our why. We learned our talents/strengths already; next week we will review our personal values.
Have a great week everyone!