One of the biggest and most common questions I’ve heard as a coach can be summed up as, “What’s my purpose?”
At some point in our lives, I think most of us ask this question. We’ve maybe done all the “right” things so far—school, jobs, relationships—and yet the day comes when we wonder, “What’s the point of all this? What am I really here for?”
The thing that triggers us into existential-question mode might be big (medical diagnosis, global pandemic, kids leaving home) or small (age spots, a gnawing ho-hum feeling about life).
I don’t get to take life for granted anymore, so I’ve done a lot of thinking about what the point is; what I think we’re here for. Here are some of the conclusions I’ve drawn:
- Relationships. What keeps me going and helps me get by is the love of my family and friends.
- Loving ourselves. Seeing everything about ourselves and either cherishing it or forgiving it. Until we can do this, we can’t love others and will keep them at a distance, lest they see the “real us.” This can be the work of a lifetime and may be one of the big reasons we’re here. (Accomplishing this, having warmth and compassion toward myself, is what I mean when I write about feeling shiny inside.)
- Helping others. We all have inborn talents, acquired skills, and hard-won lessons we can share with others. Doing so is helpful to our fellow humans, and it feels great when we do it. This is where we can find our deepest sense of meaning; of being part of the circle of life. And we don’t even have to be perfect at anything to do this! There are always people who know a little less than we do, who are two or three steps behind, who might actually be intimidated by the gurus and want someone just like us.
- Growing through the challenges that come our way. We’re all on some version of the hero(ine)’s journey, trying to learn and live graciously despite all the things life throws at us. I think this is one reason our spirits come here: the wild ride, the growth, the extreme human experiences that teach us the most about life and ourselves. And the better we do this, the more we’re able to support others and feel good about ourselves, so these bullet points become like a big self-reinforcing cycle of love and growth and connection and more love and growth and connection. Then *whew!* we drop into wherever we go after this life saying, “I did it! Wow-wow-wow. I made the most of it, and it was amazing.”
Those are my top four. What would yours be? Hit reply and share your thoughts.