Over the years, I have experienced four basic types of people in regards to purpose. 1) People who are financially successful but not particularly passionate about their work — “it’s just a job” — many of whom I found myself working with in the corporate world. 2) People who are doing meaningful work that feeds their soul, but who struggle to make ends meet. 3) People who are really struggling financially and are also not involved in meaningful work. This group has expanded greatly in the last year and a half as many people making good livings have lost there jobs. 4) People who are financially successful as a result of work they love. This fourth group consists of people who are living in vocational ecstasy.
Regardless of whether you fit into type 1, 2, 3, or 4, the solution to arriving at vocational ecstasy is the same. It begins with defining your life purpose and applying it consistently in your daily life. The key is to guide our life from the perspective of what brings us the most joy. The general definition I use for life purpose is what we love to do that makes the world a better place or somehow contributes to the lives of others.
When referring to life purpose, what I mean is not a job or any kind of activity, but a basic intention that can be applied through any job, vocation, or activity and any moment in time. The first important dynamic that occurs when we fulfill our purpose consistently in the moment is that we connect with our passion and our soul power.
We step into the most powerful presence we can possibly be in at any moment in time. Our purpose mantra is not an affirmation that we have pulled out of the air, it is the most powerful statement about who we are and why we are here. The other important dynamic that occurs when we are living the passion of our purpose is we create opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be realized.
I have a developed a simple formula that I use in my coaching program to help people define life purpose and the most important and revealing question in the formula is: “What quality or guidance did you not receive enough of as a child that you wish you had more of?” And the follow-up to that is “How does it feel when you inspire the experience of that quality or guidance in someone else?”
If you don’t already have a life purpose definition, or if you want to clarify it even more, take a moment to answer these two questions... In fact, one way to start with your life purpose definition is to take the word that most represents the quality or guidance that you didn’t receive enough of and use that word in an action statement starting with the word “I.” This works remarkably for about 98% of the people who have done this process, which is in the thousands.
I didn’t receive enough acceptance, so my life purpose is “I empower people to accept themselves exactly the way they are.” If I didn’t get enough love, it could be “I help others to feel loved” or “I open people to love.” If I didn’t get enough encouragement, “I encourage others to recognize their power.” One other helpful hint — keep it short — definitely 10 words or less, and seven words or less is even better. Generally, the shorter your definition, the more powerful it is as a mantra.
What is remarkable about recognizing the gift in our childhood deficiencies is that if the quality or guidance we didn’t receive enough of is what inspires us to create it in the world — to fulfill our purpose — then it is not a liability. It is, in fact, our greatest asset. As Robert Bly, the great poet said, “My wound is my gift to the world.”
Isn’t it true that we tend to think what I didn’t get as a child, what I am healing, or what I have struggled with all my life is what is holding me back from achieving my greatest goals? I absolutely know that I would not be as good at empowering others to accept themselves if it weren’t for the lack of acceptance I felt in childhood.
It is what I have struggled to develop for myself all my life, what has led me to develop the Life Purpose Coaching Formula, and what has driven my passion to do the work I love. It has made me an expert at self-acceptance, just as you are an expert at the quality or guidance lacking in your childhood.
If what you have felt is your greatest block turned out to be your greatest strength, then no-thing can hold you back from realizing your full magnificence. It means you don’t have to get over anything to succeed except the belief that you have to get over something. Isn’t that a freeing realization? Freedom to live your passion is achieved through the understanding that you are perfect just the way you are — that you don’t have to reach any higher level than where you are right now to fulfill your purpose.
It doesn’t mean that you will not continually strive to become more proficient at offering your gifts. It does mean that there is no reason to wait and the freedom to live your passion lies in your intention to fulfill your purpose in this and every moment.
Reverend Patrick J. Harbula, will be giving a lecture on “Radical Gratitude: An Entrance Into the Sacred” on Sunday, May 23 at the 10:30 a.m. service and offering a workshop from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m on “Live Your Passion: Life Purpose Here and Now” at the Pacific Center for Spiritual Living, 23685 Birtcher Dr., Lake Forest, CA, (949) 768-3545. He offers a free life purpose coaching session with one of his certified coaches to anyone who calls his toll-free number or sends an email through his website. You can also use the life purpose clarification tool at the website and in about 5 to 10 minutes develop your life purpose definition.
Patrick is Founder and Director of the Living Purpose Institute in Thousand Oaks CA and author of the acclaimed “The Magic of the Soul: Applying Spiritual Power to Daily Living.” He can be reached at (866) 204-2261 or visit: http://www.livingpurposeinstitute.com