“My advice is to live your life – allow that wonderful inner intelligence to speak through you… Don’t climb the ladder of success only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall.” ~Bernie Siegel, M.D., Love, Medicine and Miracles
For more years than I’d care to think about, I’ve known deep down that something was missing. My life would be going along just fine – great family, friends, work – when BAM! This nagging, uncomfortable sense would settle in, reminding me that things weren’t quite right.
Finally, last spring, I could no longer ignore or suppress this feeling, this nagging void. It was far too powerful and persistent.
So, what was missing? Fulfillment. Meaning. I wanted more, and was tired of feeling guilty about it.
Have you always known what you wanted to do? And are you actually doing it? I don’t mean from a career perspective… I mean in life in general. Seriously, do you get up in the morning, driven by the sense that you are doing exactly as you “are meant” to be doing, that you are positively contributing to the world using qualities which make you unique?
I wasn’t driven by any such feeling, and too many years had gone by like this.
I finally acknowledged what was going on – primarily to myself – and decided to actually do something about it. I am fortunate that my husband Chris understood and has been really supportive.
I started working with a life coach, Leslie. This was an important step for me. There are many benefits to working with a coach, but for me, three things in particular made the difference to propel me past internal roadblocks I’d subconsciously built up over the years:
- The accountability factor. Working with a coach means you can’t just read part of a self-help book to solve your issues, then put it on the shelf to gather dust because you get busy. A coach makes you accountable for taking specific action steps and following through on them.
- Compassionate, firm guidance. Self-realization is challenging, so when difficult questions or issues arise and you’d rather skip past them or bury your head in the sand, your coach is there to supportively but firmly guide you through the process so you can break through old barriers and find your own resolutions.
- Objectivity. It’s one thing to tell a trusted friend or family member that you’re searching for meaning – and once their eyebrows lower back into their normal position, that person may well try to help you. But it’s another thing entirely to work with someone experienced who will listen to what you have to say and provide perspective and insight without the distortion of preconceived notions about you.
When I first met with Leslie to talk about what I wanted to achieve, I didn’t know how to define it. It was something nebulous but emphatic like, “I want to feel fulfilled! And I have no idea what that looks like or how to get there!”
So we talked for a while, then she boiled it down to a simple yet incredibly challenging question: what is my life purpose? The idea being, that once I identified and began living according to my purpose (living “on purpose”), I would naturally feel fulfilled.
That’s how the journey began.
Much of my coaching focused on exploring and completing an amazing workbook called Finding Your Purpose: A Guide to Personal Fulfillment by Barbara Braham, Ph.D. (Aptly titled, given my situation). It was a deceptively simple read for such a thought-provoking book.
More on this journey will follow in a future post, but for now, I’ll quote something from Dr. Braham’s book that I found interesting:
“Purpose answers the existential question why… Why are you here, on this planet, at this time? Are you here to do something? Are you here to be someone?
…When you find an answer to the why question, the answer will hold up in every part of your life. It will apply to your family life, your work life, your social life, your community life. If you have not found an answer that fits in every domain of your life, you have not found the answer yet.”
What about you? How do you find fulfillment in daily life?