These days I spend a lot of time working with people to help them figure out what they ought to be doing with their precious life and time, in a way that fulfills them and adds a healthy dose of meaningfulness (to help them jump out of bed in the morning).
Today I will share with you what I have seen to be the biggest obstacles for people who are a bit lost in the jungle of life. Plus some ideas to overcome them. Given I used to be an engineer in the army once upon a time, there is nothing I like more than dealing with obstacles. Going around them, over them, under them, or for even more fun, blowing them up!!
Common Obstacle #1: The terminology quagmireMany people get stuck before the starting line. They are trying to wrap their heads around the whole terminology of what ‘being on purpose’ or ‘living your purpose’ even means.
Is purpose the same as vision or mission or goals or something else entirely?
Here is what I teach…
We all have a similar general purpose…To fully express the most authentic and unique expression of ourselves in a way that causes us to expand into our full potential, that serves others and serves what I call the ‘greater good’.
Said another way; I think your job on planet earth is to draw on what makes you truly unique, and use the you’ness in such a way that it causes you to keep growing, expanding and evolving, and the results of your being you makes the world a better place.
In essence, your (general) purpose is to bring more YOU to life.
Don’t get stuck on the terminology. Move past this obstacle by getting to know you even better. Someone once said something about ‘Know Thyself’. Makes sense.
Common Obstacle #2: The bad advice barricade
Who are you getting your advice from?
Who is telling you what you SHOULD be doing with your life?
(Be very wary who you accept ‘shoulds’ from. Personally I avoid shoulds like the plague. At the very least, they make me start yawning.)
Who are you listening to that has never done what you want to do?
Who doesn’t want you to change, or leave the state or country, or leave them behind in that dead-end job, or leave them in a disharmonious relationship, or make them look bad?
I think you get the picture.
Bad advice can crush an amazing life adventure. Best to tip-toe around this barrier, and then when you silently get past it run until you put some serious distance between it and you.
Common Obstacle #3: The Hollywood hex
I love the movies. But I often need to remind myself they are just movies. Life doesn’t go for 2 hours, and is often a lot less glamorous and happily ever after, than the most realistic of movies.
Sometimes people miss their purpose, because they think their life is not glamorous enough, or epic enough, or big enough, or it is not the same look and feel as someone else that they might know.
Purpose does not have to equal celebrity status or multimillionaire or gold medals or exotic travels.
Living your life purpose can be seen from the outside as very ‘normal’ while still being deeply and personally meaningful. The measure isn’t external, it is more about how does it make you feel. My last book (The Guidebook to Authentic Success) is all about experiencing success as a deeply meaningful, internal experience, which you feel in your bones.
The final point on overcoming this obstacle is to please, please, please, don’t get caught in the trap of comparing the look and feel of your ‘living your purpose’ with someone else. Yours might be a little messier, or less glamorous, or less clear, or quieter, but that is totally ok. How does it make you feel?
Do you feel like you are being authentically you?
Do you feel like you are stretching yourself?
Do you feel good about what you are doing?
If you got three YESES then you are definitely on purpose. Well done!!
Common Obstacle #4: The hall with 1000’s doors
I know you are awesome, so there are lots and lots of things you ‘could’ do. You are smart, capable and competent at a lot of different things.But what are you specifically doing when you are working in your ‘zone of genius‘? What allows you to bring your A+ game to the table? When do you truly come alive?
I am not that interested in what are you good at.
What are you frikkin awesome at?
What’s your thing? (The thing you do better than most and would do it for free because you just love to do it)
What truly makes your heart sing? (Not what someone else likes to think makes your heart sing)
For me, I love to figure stuff out. Especially when it comes to human psychology and behaviour. I also love to write and to talk (my girlfriend tells me I could talk under wet concrete…which might be true). I love seeing people have ah-hah moments, when they see something clearly for the first time. And I love to teach.
So those are the specific doors (of the 1000) I am looking for. And if the door does not exist, then I will create it myself.
What are the special things you love to do, that will determine what door you will use?
(Tip: You don’t have to try every door. Though you might end up entering and coming back out a few as you journey through life and get clearer and clearer about what you do and don’t want. That’s life!)
Common Obstacle #5: The hologram
The thing with a hologram is it actually takes limited energy to produce something very large and scary. Something can appear much bigger, and much realer than it is.
To change the hologram for something more fun and joyful, you need to go back to the source.
This is my experience after coaching 100’s of people…Most obstacles are not real!
They are ‘perceived‘ obstacles. Aka: translucent holograms.
The perceived obstacles are usually the result of poor internal dialogue, crappy beliefs, untrue stories, incorrect memories, bad advice, and disconnection from reality. That is, the projection room inside your head is playing the scary pictures, and not the happy ones. So stop fixating on the hologram and start looking inside your head.
Ask yourself a very simple question: ‘Is the story I am playing in my head the REALITY and an absolute FACT?’
If the answer is NO, then change the movie in your mind.
The other way to deal with perceived obstacles is to come up with a much better plan. When I am working with clients, I work on changing the movie playing on the projector, as well as coming up with a great strategy to make sure the movie is not changed, and new accomplishments create new movie material (success builds on success).
Common Life Purpose Obstacle BONUS: The right little stuff matters
I was working with a client recently and one of the things that we realised would be most impactful in his life, was to get better at taking care of the little stuff.
I often find there are just small things that can be tweaked or changed that have a big impact on the end result.
I am always looking on the little things that have the biggest Return on Investment (ROI).
So if you are feeling off purpose, or discontent, or like something is missing; know that the solution might not be as earth shattering as you imagine. Maybe there are only minor adjustments to be made, that will have a disproportionately positive impact on your life and results.
Just saying. It might be easier than you imagine.
You’ve got this.
Check to see if you have any off the 5 obstacles showing up in your life.
Then roll up the sleeves and do what you need to do.
I believe in you. And I believe that we all are unique, and special, and here on planet earth to do not only what we do best, but what feels best for us too. Plus when you shine with your own unique signature, you inevitably make the world a better place!
Sending you copious amounts of peace, encouragement and a wee shove if you need it.
PS: If you ever want to work with me to help you get clarity, to understand what might be limiting you, and to come up with a clear strategy for how to move forward, then just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in and see me at The Practice in Bali.