#8 Claiming Your Purpose
Research shows that people with a strong sense of purpose have better health, improved well-being, increased cognitive function and enhanced longevity. This is likely because purpose provides us with a sense of meaning. The commitment to a long-term goal that is aligned with our values and our vision for our life, helps ensure that our life’s contributions matter.
Claiming your life’s purpose, though, can be a daunting task. It feels big, and with that comes the pressure to feel as though you have got it right. The search for purpose can also leave us feeling inadequate, especially if clarity does not come easily. However, there are a number of ways you can approach the exploration of your purpose.
You can reflect on the legacy that you want to leave behind, visualizing the impact that you want to have on the world. You can refer back to your core values and consider what it would take to embody those beliefs. You can also build upon your Inner Mentor vision and think about what it would mean to live out your most authentic, fully expressed version of your self.
Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why has a useful exercise that helps you to create a WHY statement. Your WHY statement is your unique reason for being and is designed to inspire both you and those you impact. It’s a way to both discover and articulate your purpose. Your WHY statement is structured as follows: I (my contribution), so that (impact I have on others).
My WHY statement looks like this: I support women to recognize and activate their unique brilliance, so that they can confidently pursue their dreams. This statement, although not perfect, begins to capture the ambition of my excellence value, the self-assuredness of my inner mentor and the sense of service that is core to the impact that I want to have on women leaders.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the notion of a big, gnarly purpose, consider the smaller commitment of an intention. Intention has the same deliberate focus of purpose, but somehow feels less final or permanent. Try setting your intention for the year, the month or even for the day. For as Alice Walker says, “look closely at the present you’re constructing, it should look a lot like the future you’re dreaming”.
Lingering Thought: What commitment (purpose or intention) can you claim today that will bring more meaning to your life’s contributions?
*Exploring your purpose and setting intentions is the focus of Session 4 of the Women’s Coaching Circle that I cofounded with Laura Bennett. This program is designed to help high achieving women develop a deeper sense of self as a way to bring more meaning and fulfillment into their lives.
The Spring cohort of the program begins on April 1. See here for details and registration information.