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Life Purpose

Life purpose is something that Catalysts in particular seem driven to find.  It's also a topic that comes up frequently during life coaching.  I have been blessed to help several of my clients find and step into their life purpose.  Following are some thoughts on life purpose.

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Blessed With A Purpose
Your Life's Work

Many people are committed to professions and personal endeavors they never consciously planned to pursue. They attribute the shape of their lives to circumstance, taking on roles they feel are tolerable. Each of us, however, has been blessed with a purpose. Your life's work is the assemblage of activities that allows you to express your intelligence and creativity, live in accordance with your values, and experience the profound joy of simply being yourself. Unlike traditional work, which may demand more of you than you are willing to give, life's work demands nothing but your intent and passion for that work. Yet no one is born with an understanding of the scope of their purpose. If you have drifted through life, you may feel directionless. Striving to discover your life's work can help you realize your true potential and live a more authentic, driven life.

To make this discovery, you must consider your interests in the present and the passions that moved you in the past. You may have felt attracted to a certain discipline or profession throughout your young life only to have steered away from your aspirations upon reaching adulthood. Or you may be harboring an interest as of yet unexplored. Consider what calls to you and then narrow it down. If you want to work with your hands, ask yourself what work will allow you to do so. You may be able to refine your life's work within the context of your current occupations. If you want to change the world, consider whether your skills and talents lend themselves to philanthropic work. Taking stock of your strengths, passions, beliefs, and values can help you refine your search for purpose if you don't know where to begin. Additionally, in your daily meditation, ask the universe to clarify your life's work by providing signs and be sure to pay attention.

Since life's journey is one of evolution, you may need to redefine your direction on multiple occasions throughout your lifetime. For instance, being an amazing parent can be your life's work strongly for 18 years, then perhaps you have different work to do. Your life's work may not be something you are recognized or financially compensated for, such as parenting, a beloved hobby, or a variety of other activities typically deemed inconsequential. Your love for a pursuit, however, gives it meaning. You'll know you have discovered your life's work when you wake eager to face each day and you feel good about not only what you do but also who you are.

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There's an important distinction between your true, divinely inspired life purpose, which is based in and arises from the universal attractive force of unconditional love; and your inherited purpose, which is based in fear, lack, and a need to struggle to survive.

The Life On Purpose Perspective says your life purpose isn't what you do. It is, instead, the context, vessel or container into which you pour your life. In other words, your life purpose is a powerful force that shapes your life and all that you do.

Consider this. For many of us, we've built a wall of meaning that's based in lack and limitation. And many of us hit this wall -- hard and often, like a bug smacking the windshield of a car going 90 miles per hour. SPLAT!

Of course, the Wall of Lack and Limitation is made of the same basic components as the Inherited Purpose -- old thoughts, emotions and feelings based in lack and a sense of scarcity.  Here are some of the ways hitting the Wall of Lack and Limitations might sound:

"I can't really be and express my life purpose until I have more money."

"Show me a way that I can be my life purpose so I can make money at it."

"I don't have time to take on any purpose projects. I'm too busy just trying to stay afloat."

"I'm not smart enough, old enough, young enough, confident enough (or a number of other "not enoughs") to live true to my life purpose."

For most people, the Wall of Lack and Limitations is composed of 4 main parts:

  • Not enough money (which also includes not enough other material things. I use the technical coaching term of "stuff").

  • Not enough time.

  • Not enough talent, skills, knowledge, experience, or expertise.

  • Not enough Self, as in "I'm not good enough, smart enough, confident enough." The "I'm nots."

Take a couple of minutes to capture some of the specific thoughts and feelings that make up your Wall of Lack and Limitation.

One of the common occurrences that can lead to your smacking against your Wall of Lack and Limitations is when you commit to the next leg of your journey along the Purposeful Path, whether that is to bring real clarity of purpose to your life, or to expand your ability to live consistent with your purpose. The larger the possibility you create for yourself, the harder you can hit the wall.

That's why, if you're someone with big dreams and visions, it's particularly important for you to be aware of your Wall of Lack and Limitations, and to take the necessary steps to dismantle it.  Otherwise, you're likely to find yourself splattered against the wall time after time as you attempt to bring those dreams and visions into reality.

-by Brad Swift, Life On Purpose

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How To Discover Your Life Purpose In About 20 Minutes
by Steve Pavlina

How do you discover your real purpose in life? I’m not talking about your job, your daily responsibilities, or even your long-term goals. I mean the real reason why you’re here at all — the very reason you exist.

Perhaps you’re a rather nihilistic person who doesn’t believe you have a purpose and that life has no meaning. Doesn’t matter. Not believing that you have a purpose won’t prevent you from discovering it, just as a lack of belief in gravity won’t prevent you from tripping. All that a lack of belief will do is make it take longer, so if you’re one of those people, just change the number 20 in the title of this article to 40 (or 60, if you’re really stubborn). Most likely though if you don’t believe you have a purpose, then you probably won’t believe what I’m saying anyway, but even so, what’s the risk of investing an hour just in case?

Here’s a story about Bruce Lee which sets the stage for this little exercise. A master martial artist asked Bruce to teach him everything Bruce knew about martial arts. Bruce held up two cups, both filled with liquid. “The first cup,” said Bruce, “represents all of your knowledge about martial arts. The second cup represents all of my knowledge about martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge.”

If you want to discover your true purpose in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false purposes you’ve been taught (including the idea that you may have no purpose at all).

So how to discover your purpose in life? While there are many ways to do this, some of them fairly involved, here is one of the simplest that anyone can do. The more open you are to this process, and the more you expect it to work, the faster it will work for you. But not being open to it or having doubts about it or thinking it’s an entirely idiotic and meaningless waste of time won’t prevent it from working as long as you stick with it — again, it will just take longer to converge.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).

  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”

  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.

  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a counselor or an engineer or a bodybuilder. To some people this exercise will make perfect sense. To others it will seem utterly stupid. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.

For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.

As you go through this process, some of your answers will be very similar. You may even re-list previous answers. Then you might head off on a new tangent and generate 10-20 more answers along some other theme. And that’s fine. You can list whatever answer pops into your head as long as you just keep writing.

At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.

You may also discover a few answers that seem to give you a mini-surge of emotion, but they don’t quite make you cry — they’re just a bit off. Highlight those answers as you go along, so you can come back to them to generate new permutations. Each reflects a piece of your purpose, but individually they aren’t complete. When you start getting these kinds of answers, it just means you’re getting warm. Keep going.

It’s important to do this alone and with no interruptions. If you’re a nihilist, then feel free to start with the answer, “I don’t have a purpose,” or “Life is meaningless,” and take it from there. If you keep at it, you’ll still eventually converge.

When I did this exercise, it took me about 25 minutes, and I reached my final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity.

Here was my final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

When you find your own unique answer to the question of why you’re here, you will feel it resonate with you deeply. The words will seem to have a special energy to you, and you will feel that energy whenever you read them.

Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping it with you on a daily basis and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose.

If you’re inclined to ask why this little process works, just put that question aside until after you’ve successfully completed it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably have your own answer to why it works. Most likely if you ask 10 different people why this works (people who’ve successfully completed it), you’ll get 10 different answers, all filtered through their individual belief systems, and each will contain its own reflection of truth.

Obviously, this process won’t work if you quit before convergence. I’d guesstimate that 80-90% of people should achieve convergence in less than an hour. If you’re really entrenched in your beliefs and resistant to the process, maybe it will take you 5 sessions and 3 hours, but I suspect that such people will simply quit early (like within the first 15 minutes) or won’t even attempt it at all. But if you’re drawn to read this blog (and haven’t been inclined to ban it from your life yet), then it’s doubtful you fall into this group.

Give it a shot! At the very least, you’ll learn one of two things: your true purpose in life -or- that you should unsubscribe from my blog.;)


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Note from Vicky Jo:  I believe one's life purpose statement must incorporate some aspect of one's Temperament name in order to accurately reflect one's true purpose.  For INFJs, that would mean somehow being a "Catalyst."  If an INFJ is not somehow acting as a catalyst, they are not in fact living their life purpose.  I believe Life Purpose is one area where Being + Doing come together in a magical, alchemical combination.  You do what you are; you are what you do.

If you want to get inspired about your life purpose, watch this movie:  The Secret DVD.

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What is your destiny?

"The significant business of your life is alive and well, awaiting discovery, within your very soul. You and I were born to come into ourselves as complete and distinctive persons. Accepting this, we build a valuable life."
                   -Marsha Sinetar

What is the significant business of your life? What is your purpose? Andrew Schneider says that purpose "is more than just having a direction. It is about one’s place in the universe. It is the journey of finding that place and being there and living fully whatever that place is. It is your own unique place that nobody else has, had, or will have."

How would you describe your place in the universe?

"We become powerful in the face of our fears when we have a sense that we make a difference in this world. Affirmations of purpose communicate the truth that we are all meaningful participants in this Universe and that we are worthy of giving and receiving love.

Some affirmations of purpose are:
- I know that I count and I act as though I do.
- I spread warmth and love everywhere I go.
- I am a healing force in the Universe."
                                                   -Susan Jeffers

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Alignment comes down to working on these four questions until they all produce the same answer:

  • What do you want to do? (desire)

  • What can you do? (ability)

  • What should you do? (purpose)

  • What must you do? (need)

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Ways To Stay In Touch With Your Life Purpose Over Time

Remember that one of the functions of the ego is to maintain safety, and one of the best ways to do that means maintaining the status quo.  Change can be threatening to the ego.

As a result, the ego can often act as an obstacle to transformation.  It can do this by a variety of means:

- Filling your schedule with minutiae
- Keeping you in the same old habits
- Making you forget your purpose

If you don't keep your purpose fresh, it will fade.  Your life will go back to the way it was, and progress will slow.

The best thing you can do to keep your purpose fresh is take action.  (In a nutshell, do things that are purposeful; don't do things that aren't.)

The next important way is to stay in touch with the source of your purpose.  Hopefully you got your purpose via direct access with your soul, God, or some other trusted source.  If so, regular conversations with that source will keep you connected.

You can also stay in touch with your purpose by keeping your purpose statement in the front of your mind and heart.  Here are some ideas for doing that:

- Post a note on your bathroom mirror
- Frame it on your office wall
- Repeat it to yourself while jogging
- Set it up on your computer screensaver
- Have a friend or your coach remind you regularly

-byTim Kelley

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"The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."
                                 -Joseph Addison

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