Identifying, clarifying and living your purpose is a life-long process. Many times I’ve thought, ‘this is it’, believing I’d found my one true purpose only to experience the restlessness that is again calling me to dig deeper, be open minded and pay attention. Through this process I’ve discovered that the core of my purpose or calling has not changed and there are additional nuances to consider.
My purpose or calling has manifested in similar, yet different arenas as my course has changed and shifted, each new iteration of my calling building on the previous. I’ve loved all of the expressions of my calling and have come to love its current display even deeper.
I encourage you to pause and explore, with an open heart and mind, where you are being called to share the greatest contributions of your purpose.
This is part 3 in the 3-part series on Purpose by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Once that key is identified you’ll have a life purpose or a sense of calling. Click To Tweet
One of the primary reasons my clients have sought coaching is to take stock of their life and discover meaning, purpose, and passion. They are often successful professionals who experience a sense of restlessness but are not sure why or what to do about it. I see this as a good thing, a precursor to clarifying their purpose and realizing their true north compass.
Writer Tor Constantino of Entrepreneur reviews The Art of Work, a book by Jeff Goins, who offers some unconventional advice to help one ditch the status quo and begin a life work that’s filled with passion and purpose. Goins explores three actionable tactics that one can use to identify calling:
Listen to your life
The best place to begin charting your future is by taking a look at your past. Goins writes, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I need to listen to my life to tell me who I am.”
No one achieves success or realizes their life purpose in isolation. You need to become curious about what brings you joy, a sense of fulfillment, what do others say about you or your work? That kind of help is all around us but we don’t always see it.
Prepare for painful practice
There’s a myth that once you know what it is that you’re supposed to pursue, achieving that purpose will be easy because it plays to your strengths and passion. “The paradox is it’s difficult to achieve the level excellence that your calling should merit, but that struggle for mastery is also invigorating and fulfilling. It’s tough and not everybody realizes that until they’re in it,” says Goins.
The author notes that the key is finding where your abilities and personal drive intersect with the needs of others. He believes that you can find that juncture by answering the following four questions:
- What do I love?
- What am I good at?
- Where do I find meaning and fulfillment?
- What does the world need?
Once that key is identified, you won’t have a job or even a career, but a life purpose or a sense of calling.
How does discovering your purpose play out after retirement? This is what one university study reports:
- A study of retired employees of Shell Oil found that men and women who retired early (age 55) were more likely to die early than those who retired at age 65.
- A similar study of almost 17,000 healthy Greeks showed that the risk of death increased by 51% after retirement.
These studies suggest that there may be some risk in only looking for meaning in your career, and stresses the importance of reshaping your life’s big questions while finding ways to contribute your gifts and talents in order to continue serving your purpose even after retirement to improve chances of a longer, healthier life.
“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling.”