Increase Your Energy: Align with Your PurposePosted: February 27, 2013
If I were to ask you about your purpose, what would you tell me?
You might say that your primary purpose in life is to care for, provide for and love your family. You might speak of a career-focused purpose. Or you might say that your purpose is to serve a spiritual being.
But, what about those of you who say, “I don’t know”? No doubt, “I don’t know” is spoken with a lowered head, a downtrodden look, and a whisper. A visual reflection of the internal loss and searching that is occurring within.
“I can’t wait to get out of the bed every morning!”
Feel that way? Those are the words of a purpose-driven individual – a person who derives excitement from greeting each and every day, whether by looking forward to the sun rise, seeing a smile express a “good morning”, or hearing the pitter-pat of others’ feet. A purpose is a driver, a motivator, and a stimulant.
Purpose fuels one’s hope and meaning.
I just finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. (To those who have not read the book, it is a must on your To Read list.) As we complain about what we believe to be our everyday “issues” and “circumstances”, place yourself in the shoes of Viktor Frankl and his fellow prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps. Frankl states that it was purpose (hope) that kept those who survived alive. He quotes the words of Friedrich Nietzsche saying, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, in their book The Power of Full Engagement, speak of Nietzsche’s “why to live” as a type of spiritual energy – an energy that connects to one’s “deeply held set of values and to a purpose beyond our self-interest.” That purpose brings about a “source of energy and power.”
My mother lived to the age of 90 – and up until the last couple months of her life, she was full of energy and drive. She had goals. Her goals were very concrete, measurable, and objective: to take the family on a Caribbean cruise; to take her oldest grandchildren to Europe; to visit her ancestral homeland … and the list went on. My mother had purpose. And with that purpose, she had an energy that even a weakened heart couldn’t repress.
Purpose is discoverable – only with an inward search.
Purpose is an outcome of one’s values. So a review of that which you value is in order.
Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and “an entrepreneur, programmer, and avid student of life,” suggests a simple question to help you determine your purpose and identify your values.
Hate is a strong, emotion-filled word – one that we don’t often use – one that evokes passionate, negative feelings. That is the beauty of using this sentence to unearth your priorities. If you were so passionate as to HATE NOT DOING an activity – then you would be very passionate about DOING it.
We could easily ask, “What do you love doing?” But would the response be as thoughtful in its list of priorities? We can quickly reel off a list of things we love to do … but what we HATE NOT DOING brings about a sense of what is missing in our lives. Turning what we miss into passion and purpose is then obviously the next step.
You may have a bit of rearranging to do – but now you become energized. You are living your passion and purpose.
“You can’t wait to get out of bed every morning.”
Look for the “small” instead of waiting for the “big.”
On your search for purpose, Sivers warns against waiting to be overwhelmed. As he aptly states, “If you think love needs to look like ‘Romeo and Juliet’, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly.”
Oh how true. We tend to believe passion and purpose enter our world with a flourish of flags and trumpeters. But in reality, doesn’t our passion unearth slowly – as we experience our lives, our family, and our work?
So, stop waiting for the big “aha” to display in the sky – and start thinking about you, your reason to be, your likes, and your dislikes. Start a list of what you HATE NOT DOING. The answers will put you on the path to your purpose, your passion, your goals … and interestingly enough – your energetic self!
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman