New Year’s Day is not only one of my favorite holidays but one of my favorite days of the whole calendar. It recalibrates my mindset for the coming year. By the time December rolls around, I usually have things flying everywhere, and my year’s efforts are leading to a culmination and a time for review. This day beckons me to focus, trim back what isn’t working, and begin anew. ‘
While having coffee with a young client recently, I asked him why he thought he was put on this earth. The standard answer is often “to help others” and this is exactly what he said. I explained that I was looking for the thread that weaved together the experiences of his life, some sort of common theme that no matter what role he played, he could find joy in what he did.
My young client was silent, and then remarked, “I have never given this much thought. What is my purpose?’ He liked the idea of trying to determine, as specifically as possible, what that might be. Are your experiences random or intentional?
Many of us don’t think about our purpose and so life is experienced but not lived. New Years is a good time to ask ourselves some important questions:
1. When I look back on my life so far, what experiences were energizing and what experiences were just ok.
2. When I look at this past year, which projects and commitments were carried through to completion and which ones were difficult to complete or not completed at all?
3. When I look at what I want to do this year, what excites me?
4. Are there any common themes in my answers to questions 1,2,and 3?
Briefly, when I answer these questions for myself, I am certain my life purpose lies in helping others uncover personal potential. Whether I was helping a brain injured client return to a meaningful life, or raising my family, or coaching- the common theme is helping others see the possibilities that life has to offer. I imagine when I am a grandma someday, I won’t be known for my cooking or crafting- instead I will be toggling perspectives around until the world of possibility opened up to them.
I have tried side careers in sales but they never really gain traction because they don’t fit the above theme. I might get excited at first because it is a new adventure but in the end, it doesn’t have the same zap of energy I get when someone I care about sees themselves in a whole new,exciting light.
I went to a meeting once and several people were talking at lunch. One man told me about how he had changed his career because even though he was good at what he did, that was all he did and it wasn’t very satisfying. Another lady leaned in and said she had been the “go to” data person at her job for the past 10 years because she was competent. Nevertheless, she didn’t like it very much but felt stuck because that was expected of her. Pretty soon, two more people joined the conversation with similar sentiments. It seems that sometimes you go round and round on the same track but never get a chance to get off, all because someone else has put you there.
The new year is a good time to take stock of what you’ve been doing and to ask if it fits with your reason to be on this earth. You may find that you are right in sync with who you are or you might find that you are badly out of harmony. It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything to the wind and start over necessarily but it may be that you may need to make adjustments in how you are doing what you do, perhaps changing your approach. Who knows? But I urge you to take the energy of the new year as a time to dial into what makes you want to get up in the morning.
And so…. my uncover your potential wish for you in 2014 is that you find the satisfaction that comes from knowing your life’s purpose. No matter what you do, may it reflect your gifts, your values, and your intentions.