The second coaching session, after the intake session with my clients, is the Your Life Purpose session. During this session we spend about an hour to an hour and a half together. This session is very gratifying for both the client and me because it offers perspective to the client while I am invited to share personal and private moments. For me it is fundamental that the client knows what his or her Life Purpose is and how it can be used. Only by knowing your Life Purpose you will be in a position to make better decisions, take time outs, understand how issues arise and discover how to resolve them. Life Purpose is what makes us wake up in the morning. What we love doing the most and what we naturally do best.
Many of my clients announce that they do not need to do the Life Purpose exercise because they already know theirs, but after talking with them what I have discovered is that they have a Mission Statement or long-held dreams but not necessarily a Life Purpose. Often people draft a Mission Statement during a training program. Many times the Mission Statement reflects their team's, or organization's, Mission Statement. Sometimes the Mission Statement is merely a personal plan for the next two to four years.
You need to know your Life Purpose before you can draft your Mission Statement. The way I explain Mission Statements and Life Purpose is as follows:
Life Purpose is your destination; this destination does not change through time, it adds value to your life and the lives of those you meet along the way. Mission Statements are plans or short term goals made with the intention to grow and move forward.
Let me explain this with the example I use with my clients. Say your Life Purpose is to travel to Rome and experience Rome as the Romans do. Then, if that is your goal, you need to ask yourself some questions:
1 How will I get there?
2 When will I go?
3 What must I pack?
4 What will I do when I get there?
Questions like these are typical of your Mission Statement. They illustrate your short and medium term goals, your plans, the lessons you need to learn, the stopovers and activities you will make in order to reach your destination – in this case Rome. But in this example your mission is concerned not just with how you go and what you will do when you get there. It also ensures that you go to Rome in a way that lets you enjoy every stage of the planning and the trip itself as well as the experience of being in Rome and enjoying Rome ‘like the Romans do' when you arrive.
As soon as you have achieved your short and medium term goals you need to revise them and, based on the results, adjust your plan. You need to know where you want to go. This knowledge is going to help you stay focused (your Life Purpose). OK, sometimes you will need to take a detour or make an unscheduled stop. This is fine, but only if you consciously make this decision.
When you know your Life Purpose this will:
Create self awareness and allow you to be more passionate about you.
Inspire you to keep on track and take the necessary steps you need to reach your goals.
Support you in developing strong relationships.
Give you energy, peace, and fulfillment.
But it also is:
An incredible decision making tool.
Fun and helps you grow and stay focused.
The state in which you want to live .
You can ‘find out' what your Life Purpose is by doing the exercise below. Completing it will be fun and will give you a sense of well being and perspective. At the end of the exercise you will know more about what drives you, where you want to go and how to get there. You can do it alone or ask someone you trust to guide you through the steps.
Before you start take some time to clear your mind of negative beliefs, emotions and energy (for more information you can refer to the article: A Compilation of Clearing Techniques, E Schalkx 2009)
Good Life Purpose examples are:
- I am a better man when I communicate through music and share it with my surroundings.
- When I am in silence I create space for things to happen.
- My Life Purpose is to be a safe and whole being so I can allow flow pass through me and let harmony guide my peace, balance and needs so I can keep it within me and let it reflect to others.
- When I stop and look around I create dances.
- Through silence I give back.
- Through my music I can touch, share and grow.
- My Life Purpose is to be proud to use my empathy and trustworthiness, happy to be a proud partner, friend and family member and to be good to my clients.
- From out of love I give myself and others the space to grow.
- Sharing what I know to help others to grow.
Now you have your Life Purpose, what now?
Incorporating your Life Purpose into your daily life is not easy but with practice and intention you will notice the added value it creates for you and your surroundings. Your Life Purpose is a way of being and enhances the quality of every area of your life while helping you to create the perfect environments in which to work and play.
I recommend that my clients write down their Life Purpose and pin it up in different places. Places you will see it all the time: in your agenda, on the computer, on your fridge. I tell them to add a drawing or symbol, as this makes it easier to remember. Learn your Life Purpose by heart.
Look at your Life Purpose every time you need to get ready for a difficult situation. It will help you get grounded and do things with intention.
Remember that you can use your Life Purpose as a managing or problem-solving tool. When you talk to your child and or partner, talk out from your Life Purpose. You will notice that most difficult conversations will be more manageable.
When you have ‘lost it' or feel a bit down ask yourself: I am living my Life Purpose
For example, in my Life Purpose there are three very important keywords – balance, harmony, flow. When I am having an argument with my teenage daughter or experience a difficult coaching session I ask myself one to three questions.
Am I in harmony?
Am I in balance with the person or situation?
Am I allowing flow pass through me?
Usually, asking one of these questions helps me to be aware of what may be wrong in the situation and to find a solution. I feel better allowing things to happen in a harmonious way.
Example of Life Purpose:
John the orchestra director
Early in 2006 I was hired by an orchestra director I'll call John who was feeling a bit lost.
"I have everything I can dream of," John said, pacing the floor up and down my office. "I have enough money, a job I love, a hobby that pays me well and takes me places, a wife and a child I adore."
I noticed he said this with great sadness in his blue eyes.
I found myself thinking how odd this sadness was for someone who was telling me how lucky he was. I had not finished my thoughts when John added that his life was not as full of laughter and music as it used to be and it was having serious repercussions at home. His wife had just told him that things had to change if they did not want to head for a divorce.
"I don't want to lose her," he said, flopping down into a chair and putting his head into his hands.
We talked for a while and then he decided he wanted to start his first coaching session with me there and then. We went for a walk in the woods near my office. It was March and the first buds of spring were just beginning to appear on the branches. The daffodils were in full bloom and we stopped to admire them for a few moments. When we came back John began his Life Purpose session.
The result of his Life Purpose session was this:
I am a better man when I communicate through music and share it with my surroundings.
We talked about the impact his change in lifestyle had on his family and how he could use his Life Purpose to be the man he wanted to be. When John had created his Life Purpose he was a different person to the one he had been when he had arrived. He left in a rush as he could not wait to get home. About two o' clock in the morning I got a telephone call from a very excited man. He told me that when he got home he shared his Life Purpose with his wife and after a while she encouraged him to play the piano – this was the first time he had played the piano at home since he had found out his child was deaf, about three years earlier. To their surprise their child came down and sat beside John. The child put his hands on the piano and after a little while he started playing the same notes Daddy was playing.
John realized that by not making music at home because he felt guilty of the handicap of his child he had robbed them all of precious times.
Edmée's Life Purpose
Is to be a safe and whole being so I can allow flow to pass through me and let harmony guide my peace, balance and needs so I can keep it within me and let it reflect to others.
I am a visual thinker, and therefore my thoughts go faster than my words or the thoughts of other people. I see this as an advantage as I have a great helicopter view. I am a very creative and fast thinker, so when I am coaching, in a meeting or any other kind of conversation I can see the issues, visualize a solution in my mind and communicate it in a split second. For my audience this can sometimes be difficult to witness, even disorienting. However, the truth is that I solve issues quickly. I see things clearly and my clients can feel slow in comparison.
Can you imagine how much miscommunication and frustration can be created when people are not attuned with each other?
When talking to others I try (though, of course, I forget many times) to have my Life Purpose present, especially the words: balance, harmony and flow? When I feel frustration, irritation or simply lack of concentration I always ask myself: am I in harmony? Am I in balance? Am I letting flow pass through me?
I can tell you that when I ask one of these questions I usually find the harmony and balance I require and like magic, things begin to happen at the appropriate moments.
Of course people still find me a bit chaotic and are baffled by my thought processes. The difference is that now I have a tool to manage the frustration and chaos.