How often do you get to press pause on the warp speed of life, re-evaluate, and possibly hit the reset button? This has been the gift of the pandemic for many of us.
It hasn’t come without a cost, of course. The losses have been great. Many have lost loved ones as result of the virus. The shutdown aimed at saving lives has brought it own losses: Jobs, businesses, time with loved ones. And it goes on and on.
But hope is rising from the ashes. When we lose the things we thought we couldn’t live without, we find ourselves lighter. We see that we are more resilient than we thought. We realize that holding on to some those things cost us of our dreams. Some discover that they were living life in a box and that the events of the last two months have knocked down the walls of that box. The air smells a little sweeter and options appear that we never saw before. We start to dream again.
One question you may have been pondering during the idle hours of this pandemic—or over the heads of your children while you try to simultaneously act as teacher and work-from-home warrior—is about your life’s purpose and whether your current path is fulfilling that.
If you have been sheltering in place with family or friends, you may have been getting to know them better or becoming re-acquainted with them after years of a too-busy life. Why not use this opportunity to get to know yourself better? To discover your purpose.
Life coaches and authors, Patrick Williams and Diane S Mendez have said:
“Many people in the United States misguidedly believe that the only way to have what we want is to work hard and long. There is an alternative: be who you are first. When you focus on being first, this lets you do what you want to do, which lets you have what you need. We need to allow ourselves to be first; the rest will follow.”
Our current situation has brought the truth of these statements into sharp focus.
But, where do you start to craft a life on purpose?
It starts with vision. Life coaching is all about the questions, so here are a few to get you started with visualizing the life you truly want:
- What are the top ten things you love to do or have always done and loved? Name things that have been a consistent part of your life such as helping others, your faith, creativity, your ability to act under pressure, etc.
- What are the characteristics of the context or environment that support those things?
- What are the qualities of people you want and need around you to accomplish your top ten? Try drawing a series of concentric circles around the central circle labeled “me.” Each circle represents a person or group who are important to you. Start with the names of those closest to you and move out to family, friends, colleagues, and groups such as your church, your community, etc.
- What other resources are essential to you? What do you require to be at your best? These could be things like a close connection to God, time in nature, creative people or whatever is important to you.
Using what you’ve discovered, write one or two sentences that express your vision of the world where you want to live. According to Williams and Mendez, “this is the path of least resistance for you, the world you flourish in and want to create for yourself through purpose-full action.”
It can also be helpful to visualize your ideal day. Imagine your surroundings, the people around you and the quality of your relationships, the work you do, and how you spend your free time.
The world as we knew it is shattered and like our old friend, Humpty Dumpty, can never be put back together again just as it was. If your life must change, then why not orchestrate something more compatible with your essence? This vision will be the starting point to uncovering your purpose. More to come!