Shelley Bridgman Blog | purpose

Are you connected to your purpose?

One of the few positive things to emerge from the pandemic, was and maybe still is, an opportunity for reflection and reappraisal of our lives, where we are going, why we’re going there or indeed asking ourselves if it’s what we should be doing. In short, asking the question. “What is our purpose?”

Goals will provide a sense of achievement, but the feeling will be short-lived if that sense of achievement isn’t accompanied by an experience of growing. Sir Alex Ferguson who is arguably the greatest football manager in history, was famous for encouraging his teams, and by teams, I mean everyone at the club, to celebrate their victories for twenty-four to forty-eight hours, but then to look forward to the next challenge. 

In short, it wasn’t the goal of winning a trophy that provided lasting satisfaction, it was the feeling of growing. Growing gives us a lasting feeling of satisfaction. So, is growing enough? Not quite, where growing meets contribution and making a difference, that’s where our gifts will be fully utilised. That’s when we get excited about our lives.

The good news is that we all have a unique gift. When you’re a surgeon, what is it only you do in the way you do it? If you’re a coach, what’s your niche and what do you bring to the coaching relationship, and what can you offer in a manner that nobody else can? If you are a cleaner, how can you add value to the environment and be the best cleaner you can be?

When our unique gifts make a contribution, make a difference to a life or lives, then we are fulfilling our purpose.

Although you have the answer within you, it requires a conscious decision to gain clarity and to do some work to become connected with your purpose. Warning, this is a process!

How to begin the process to connect with your purpose.

 1.   The answer is within you

Stop looking outward for an expert to find it for you. They will never know you as well as you do. Turn your attention inwards and do an audit of your strengths and fears. 

2.   Own your story

When you connect with your life story, ask what you learned from your greatest challenges. Take some time out, connect with nature to become grounded, and write a timeline of your life’s events. Notice the patterns. What you loved to do as a child, when were you happiest? 

3.   Focus on your strengths, not your Fears

Get clarity over whether you focus on strengths or whether you are driven by avoiding your fears. Own your gifts and develop a habit of celebrating what you have in your life rather than what you don’t possess. 

 4.   Embrace the journey

Recognise this is a journey, a process, and part of the process is learning by experience and finding where you experience joy and satisfaction. 

5.   Core Values

Undertake an audit of your Core Values. There are dozens of online tools to help you, but it’s important to ensure you establish your real Values and not what you think they should be.

 6.   Vision

What’s your vision for the world, what matters to you and what do you want to see change? You may never see the result, but you want to take actions that move the world towards it. 

 7.   Find like-minded visionaries

However, niche your purpose, you will not be alone with your values. Look for like-minded people who share your vision and have a similar purpose. You will gain encouragement and insights from shared experiences and visions.

 I began by saying you have the answer to finding your purpose from within you. Sometimes we cannot see how we are affecting the world and the gifts we possess. They become implicit over time. Don’t be afraid to seek the views of your friends and associates. They may see things that you have become blind to. If you feel stuck, get help from a coach or someone who can help you free what is locked away inside you.

 Remember, finding your life’s purpose is a continuously evolving journey of a lifetime. As you grow, your purpose will grow with you. How much longer will you wait to begin the journey? The world needs your unique gifts now.