You get approximately 28,835 days to be alive if you’re lucky. I watched a video recently in which one jelly bean represented one day of your life from birth to death, all 28,835 of them. The video went on to subtract jelly beans for the number of days we will spend eating, sleeping, working, commuting, etc. in our lifetimes. It ended with a very small pile of beans representing the limited number of days available to us. The aim of the video was to wake us up to the finite quality of time and to motivate us to use our precious “free” time to live with intention around what matters.
But what if we flipped that entire thing on its head and instead of looking at the precious few moments we have left after all that, what if instead, every one of our beans mattered? What if the moments the video subtracted for work, eating, commuting, etc. were not erased but were also spent on what matters? What if we were able to hear author Richard Bach’s question “You’ve given up your whole life to be the person you are now. Is it worth it?” and answer with a resounding yes. If we spent our whole lives working on the things that matter most what could we accomplish?
Self-exploration and the study of the human condition have been a lifelong interest of mine. I have been through many, many types of therapy, coaching, self-development, read numerous books, listened to podcasts, and searched the web to understand what makes us tick. It seems that meaning, purpose, a why is a key. As Viktor Frankl put it “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” More than bear any how, with a why every single jelly bean can be a source of energy and inspiration.
How does one find this why and how do some people seem to harness that power while others plod along? Enter my dear friend Brent Robertson, founder and partner at Fathom, creator of SIP sessions and now Purpose Practiced. Not long ago he started talking to me about this coaching model he had been developing called Purpose Practiced designed for those who are unwilling to leave the next chapter of their lives up to chance, those who want a future with more intention, love, and purpose. Sounds fantastic and being a lifelong student of self-exploration, I’ve been through many methodologies for finding this elusive why and although almost all of them brought me closer none of them made my bones shake. Prior to experiencing Purpose Practiced, they all left me with a distinct sense of almost- of approaching an answer.
Since I now do indeed have an identified purpose and it is mostly about helping others lead meaningful lives, I’d like to share what I’ve learned in my work with Purpose Practiced.
Living a life of purpose involves three pieces:
- Defining your purpose or your why
- Practicing your purpose
- Sticking to your practice
If you want to change your future, you have to change where you are thinking from. We have so much available to us to draw from as we design our lives. All the elements of our history, education, learning, and experiences, all the stuff that isn’t even real yet like our imaginations, dreams, and callings, they’re all there. It’s all available as source to design your life but most of us remain trapped in a limited view. We can explode all of that and design a meaningful future that gives us butterflies and makes our skin tingle.
Practicing our purpose. We’ve all worked somewhere with values written on the wall. Someone spent a lot of time and money at an offsite to make a fancy poster that did nothing, changed nothing. Creating change takes action. If you want to live a life of purpose, you need to practice that purpose every day. Most methodologies don’t give us an opportunity to look at and recalibrate where we are spending our energy and time – what’s making the impact, what’s making a difference. You need to know what you’re doing that’s contributing to the life you want and what’s detracting from it.
The third piece is sticking to your practice. How many times have you gotten excited about a new diet and gone out and bought all the food and happily made those keto meals for a few days before totally abandoning the idea? The most influential drug that will ever exist to make a habit or break a habit is community. I’m not talking about a new diet here, I’m talking about living a life that makes your heart sing, and that’s a habit I want to make. Connecting to a community that is committed to living and supporting each other in a purposeful life is the third and final essential piece to making this work.
This is a very brief overview of something that has made a huge difference in my life. I leave you with the words of Marcus Aurelius “Nothing should be done without a purpose.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Purpose Practiced community that I’m in you can find us at purposepracticed.com and if I can help you incorporate any of these ideas, it would make my heart sing to do so.