A more meaningful life awaits when you take the time to find your purpose, writes Niamh Ennis
What’s the definition of purpose? It’s when you stop chasing what your mind wants and you get what your soul needs.
I’ve become allergic to the words Covid-19. Not for the obvious health fears it induces or the sadness it provokes, which for me, are very real.
But I’ve become allergic to seeing them being used as a marketing tactic. Let me give you an example. ‘Has Covid-19 changed how you want to live your life – well follow my 3 easy steps and let’s alter the direction of your life forever’.
Or this little nugget ‘Has Covid-19 made you want to work from home? Well let me show you how you can create a six-figure business from your kitchen table in just 10 days?’
Seriously, enough already!
We have had our lives turned upside down and are just tentatively dipping our toes back into the real world again so please don’t talk down to us and certainly don’t use an incredibly sad period in our lives to try and capitalise on our very evident fear.
It’s increasingly hard these days to know what’s real and what’s being created simply to tap into our greatest fears and worries. And so, for what it’s worth, I believe there is only one question you need to answer… What is real for you?
What for you, right now, at this exact juncture in your life, feels real and what feels false?
That’s what you need to ask of yourself, that’s what you need to listen to and that’s definitely all that should be influencing your decisions as you move forward in your life.
We often hear people talking about finding their purpose like it’s some object lying in wait to be discovered. It also usually has a sense of it being an all-or-nothing — an either/or scenario.
My experience and that of most of the women I work with during Covid-19, has been that more people are opening up to the idea of living a ‘life of purpose’ than they previously were.
Mostly, because for many, this was the first time in their entire lives that they had an opportunity to pause, reflect and examine their lives as the world around them went into lockdown.
Choices were all but removed and there, in that space, came a return to the ‘simple’ life.
The distractions and busyness of daily life, no longer present, simply gave room for realisations that move beyond the materialism, consumerism and need ‘to have’ rather than just ‘to be’.
So whether you found yourself baking or gardening for the first time in your life, or you experienced nature in a new way, or you realised that your desire to shop for stuff you just don’t need was not as strong as it once was… whatever your experience, the chances are it may have awoken a need in you towards more ‘meaning’ in your life.
This is a good thing. A very good thing.
This is your inner self saying to you ‘it’s not too late, it’s never too late’. This is your wake-up call.
This is your chance to turn things around, to slow down, to listen to your inner whispers telling you what it is you need to feel more aligned with who you are.
What would happen if you used the experience of lockdown to introduce one new habit into your life?
But, and this is the really important part, it does not nor should not require you to have to walk away from the life you once had to get to the life that you now want to create. It’s not an either/or.
What would happen if you used the experience of lockdown to introduce one new habit into your life? What if you committed (and remained consistent) to getting out into nature for a short walk each day, or to check in on your family and friends a little more often?
What if you decided to dedicate just 15 minutes each day to a new daily practice of journaling or meditating? What if you actually chose to do something just for you, each and every day, and not allow guilt elbow it’s way in beside you? That’s what purpose can look like. That’s what purpose feels like.
I wasn’t in a good place in my life and something needed changing. I knew it because I felt it. I was not happy.
I consider myself one of the very lucky ones, who at one point in my life, allowed myself to acknowledge that I wasn’t in a good place in my life and something needed changing. I knew it because I felt it. I was not happy.
I ended up changing everything – my career, my home, my relationships, even my friendships and here I am now happier and living a life that feels worthy of me saying ‘I found my purpose’ because I’m living it.
I believe my purpose was to get off the treadmill, to stop being the person everyone else wanted me to be and to be honest with myself as to who I wanted to be.
When I did it, and it honestly didn’t happen overnight, I connected with my purpose.
Finding your purpose is simply connecting with who you want to be.
So what questions can you ask yourself right now to help you get closer to your purpose?
- Where do you believe you are living out someone else’s plan for your life and where feels like it is totally yours and in full alignment with who you are now?
- What have you learned most about yourself in the last few months?
- How have you changed? How do you want to change? Who do you want to become?
- What are your values? Trust me, they have changed these last few months!
- What do you want from this life for you?
- What do you need to do to get you closer to that place?
Give yourself permission to ask these questions of yourself and create time and space for the answers to come. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up with all those distractions that life can, and will, provide you with that will allow you to avoid them.
No more chasing. It’s time to stop running.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading change & transformation specialist and founder of The RESET for Change programme.
She works with women who feel stuck, unable to move their lives forward and are looking for someone to assist them navigate change.
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