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It can sometimes feel that finding our purpose is an unattainable and self-involved process that requires us to leave our lives behind and go halfway around the world to spend three months on a silent retreat before we can get an idea of what our true purpose is. 

Or that your purpose is revealed only after experiencing traumatic or challenging life events that lead you to question your current existence and leads you to make a 180-degree pivot in your life as you know it.  

And there’s also the idea that finding and living your purpose is all well and good, but it doesn’t pay the bills – so why bother? This is related to the idea that living with purpose has spiritual or religious connotations and requires us to renounce the joy, fun and pleasures of life.  

There’s also a commonly held belief that living with purpose is not compatible with status and earning good money – which is simply not true. In fact – the more connected to our purpose we are, the easier it is to find success (whatever that looks like) and earn money from doing so.  

One of the biggest reasons I see clients shying away from exploring their purpose is the fear that it will involve big life changes that they don’t feel ready for.    And while some people might go through a process of significant change and transformation as a result of connecting with their purpose, this isn’t true for everyone. A lot of people I work with are actually a lot closer to living a life aligned with their purpose than they initially realise.  

Purpose gives us meaning, happiness and a reason to keep going when times are tough. But it’s a different kind of happiness to the short term pleasure of, say spending a few hours watching Netflix, or enjoying a delicious bowl of ice cream. Usually, it’s something that’s bigger than us, outside of us.

For years I felt that my purpose should have been improving people’s health through my work as a doctor – but whilst this is a very meaningful and important purpose, it didn’t truly feel like mine. It made sense and was aligned to the work that I was paid to do, but deep down I knew that it wasn’t my purpose.     Over time, I followed the small pockets of meaning and joy that I experienced and started to get honest about what was true for me.   I realised that my purpose is to inspire others to awaken to their inner wisdom and embody their potential. This is a broad statement and probably sounds quite lofty and overly ambitious – but it’s true for me, and that’s what is important.  

I also know that connecting with my purpose has allowed me to find more meaning and fulfilment in my work.   My purpose supports a broader vision of health and well-being in my clinical work.   But I’ve also widened the scope of my work by creating a portfolio career – initially by training as a yoga and meditation teacher in 2018 and then through undertaking accredited coaching training.  

What I didn’t know at the time was that investing my time, money and energy in these trainings would lead me to do work more aligned with my purpose than I could ever dream possible. I ultimately got to that stage by listening to my dreams and aspirations and taking brave but manageable bites at the cherry. Not rushing or forcing myself to make huge leaps into the unknown,  but instead listening to my truth without judgement and having the courage to follow my curiosity.

Over time, I’ve refined this process with my clients and now I use a process called the  3 C’s when approaching the topic of purpose.  

  1.  Curiosity:  being curious and open-minded as to what is revealed to us when we explore the topic of purpose
  2.  Clarity:  seeking clarity about what our purpose looks like currently. Getting clear about how aligned we are with our purpose right now and what steps we want to take to move closer towards it.
  3. Courage:  the courage to take brave but manageable steps towards living our purpose and supporting ourselves to do so and the courage to follow where it leads us and what it shows us.

I share more to support you through this process over in my weekly e-mail newsletter, called “The Part of You That Knows” where I share a weekly question to ignite a ripple of awareness, curiosity and reflection on a deeper level. You can sign up here if you’d like to join us