A friend said yesterday, ‘I keep wondering what is my life purpose?’ I felt he was in a beautiful space as he asked this question. In today’s busy world, how many corporate executives/leaders pause to ask such profound questions? It is good to stay in that space and allow things to manifest. The Universe will guide you to bliss, at your own pace, in a way that works for you… After all, it is the journey that matters…
I spent 21 years in the corporate world. At the beginning of my second decade, a few thoughts occurred to me:
● who am I? (not the profound spiritual question). I was deep into banking and doing well. But deep within, I was not happy.
● why am I here? A question that would occasionally nag me was, ‘Am I going to spend my entire life in banking?’ And very clearly, I did not feel light. I knew then the answer was an emphatic “no.” Looking back, I am grateful I stayed in the thought process, and that perhaps helped me pivot to entrepreneurship and then professional coaching, and later coach training/mentoring. Also, healing along the way.
● what do I need to do? I had my financial goals to achieve. Or loans to repay. And also the destination to reach at least basic financial independence. I was not even dreaming of becoming rich! Later I discovered we have multiple reasons to delay the start of our own ‘Hero’s Journey’ (Joseph Campbell), The call to adventure. I was perhaps not ready for it.
● what is my #LifePurpose? Now, as a professional coach, I do this for a living. Helping leaders live their life purpose. Also, mentor aspiring coaches to live to0 their full potential. It is the same as living life purpose, I realized later.
Looking back, that set off a series of changes in my life that brought me to what I am doing now… a coach & mentor. I would like to believe I am closer to my #LifePurpose.
My favorite quote on life purpose is ‘the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.’
● Only self-satisfaction can lead to real giving.
● It is about living. That is at the core of existence. Being Regal!
● Living thus for others, not for I/me/mine. That is why our scriptures remind the importance of sacrifice to attain immortality.
To live a life aligned with purpose is a matter of choice. Everyone has a choice; a few exercise choices. Regal@60, one of our popular coaching tools, is a way to identify and live a life of purpose.
The Problem With Looking for a “Life Purpose”
Can there be a potential downside to looking for a life purpose?
“What is my life purpose?” is, in a way, an existential question. It is not easy to ask and not easy to arrive at the answer. The road to a purpose-driven life is often not easy, not a bed of roses or a walk in the park! It does not need to be full of thorns, either. We end up manifesting the journey based on our beliefs and values.
But then, what is the risk of perpetually avoiding the question?
Another potential problem is when we take up something without looking at all aspects but decides on impulse. In other words, misguided in any way, internally or externally.
If you are guided by a professional coach, and they are also using powerful tools such as #Regal@60, you can avoid the potential pitfals of looking for your life purpose. Just as age is just a number, 60 is just a number. You can be regal, at all levels of existence, before or after 60. But if you are not reached your peak, on all important aspects of life as you define it, the odds maybe against you. A KFC founder, or a Warren Buffet are more exceptions. In the Indian context, 60 is a milestone.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life, he can only respond by being responsible.” – Viktor Frankl
How Do You Define Life Purpose?
The definition of life’s purpose differs from person to person. Our outlook toward life defines it. And that is molded by our experience from early life until now. Who I am at this point of time is the summary of all my life experiences, good or bad. I may ignore, suppress or ride on some experiences. But deep within, we are the summary of all life experiences. And we all work in progress.
The beauty of life’s purpose is it is not a moving target. Once we pause to ask the deep question and take time to arrive at it, that would be the goal of life. It is beyond career, relationships, wealth, and health. All of these and more. It is thus much more than passion.
Passion has a negative connotation based on the root and the early dictionary meaning. The underlying emotion is suffering. The purpose is never about I/me/mine. Hence it is not about passion. It is always about others.
For example, For a professional coach, the purpose of life can be to become a successful coach – in terms of the number of clients, top-line and bottom-line equivalent. But when linked to purpose, it will be about touching lives. Looking back over the last 10 years of coaching experience, ‘I am blessed to witness the transformational shift in my clients.’ The success for the client was not because of me, nor despite me. It was because we operated at the confluence of
● The coachee, the sponsoring organization where it is corporate-sponsored,
● Me as a coach.
● Most importantly, the process of coaching.
Why You’re Seeking the Purpose of Life?
The trigger to move from the unknown to the known as part of our deep journey (Joseph Campbell). It is within all of us. We do not listen to it.
How Does Life’s Purpose Evolve?
It does not evolve if it is life’s purpose. Anything else will evolve. We have administered Regal@60 with almost all of our clients and learner coaches. When we look at the purpose from a cognitive space, it will change, or even evolve. If we look deep within, and then come up with the purpose, it is for “life”. Will not evolve.
The need to evolve is also coming from our belief and biases.
The Things That Keep You From Finding Your Purpose
‘This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his current circumstances,’ As Joseph Campbell will put it. (Wiki). Add to that social pressure, to peer pressure to family to the financial obligation in the form of monthly EMI (equated monthly installments for loans)
Benefits of Knowing Your Purpose in Life
The journey of life will be very different. The way we will handle small to big setbacks. The forces in the ecosystem that is not supporting you. The reason for living.
It is said most adults live as a victim of circumstances. Many others operate from a position of command and control. Managers are good examples. Only a small percentage of people are living their life aligned with their life purpose. Some call it they are doing God’s work, beyond religion and faith.
A lot of friends in corporate/business space are too busy with hamster-wheel-like life! Very few are blessed to pause for perspective. Often it is too late…
Coachees who reach out to us are usually struggling (in a positive way) with this question. It is a good spate to be… to start with! Most likely I am off the hamster-wheel.
How to Find Your Purpose in Life:
“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
There are different ways to find life purpose. All are related at some levels. Even any one of them can help us find the real purpose in life.
Some of the popular approaches to find the life purpose are:
1. Read, Write, Journal –
Read as much as possible, sharpen your knowledge, language, and communication skills. Make it a habit to journal every day. Find some time to reflect as a daily habit. Writing journaling, to all other writing, including fiction to storytelling, helps the brain to grow. We human beings are blessed to learn and grow all through life. But how many of us do it? ‘Just Do it’!
2. Move from Victim or Control mode to Contribute –
Be part of that exclusive club of people who are not operating from a space of victimhood or control mode. Let go, and heal all relationships, including your relationship with the past.
3. Set audacious goals –
We are wired to stay within our comfort zone. Dream big, work hard.
4. Develop curiosity, Manage judgments, Avoid bias –
not easy, but these muscles can be built. All professional coaches are trained to develop these strengths.
5. Find your community–
We were always social animals. But our work and gadgets are taking us away from it.
Based on my personal experience and interaction with leaders and coaches as part of coaching & mentoring, here is my take on it.
Regal@60 is a very powerful tool. It identifies the top eight elements of life in order of importance. Goals are set at 60 when we can be at our full potential. 60th birthday is the end of the 3rd Ashrama of life, Vanaprastha. Then it is Sanyasa. Hence 60th birthday is celebrated too. : By setting goals, we can start holistically working towards them. No rush, but daily focus. We will never end up regretting not living our life well.
1. Health & Wellness
2. Wealth, Abundance
3. Career, Learning
4. Family, dog
5. Professional Volunteering, Environment
6. Hobby – writing, music, speaking/storytelling
7. Travel (less for me, more for my wife)
8. Spirituality (Sadhana & Seva)
Regal@60 is a coaching tool we actively use as part of our leadership/business/executive coaching. It is about stopping to ask what I want to BE… from there, what I want to DO, aligned with my #LifePurpose
Living my life-purpose, I am closer to my self-actualized state (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Philosophically, Nirvana or Samadi. Still better, as Master calls it,
‘Hands in Society, Head in Forest’
Let us not forget, ‘What you are seeking is seeking you’!
What is your life purpose?