Purpose – Who you are and what you have been called to do – One of my favorite quotes is “The two greatest days of your life are: first, the day that you are born and the second is when you find out why.”
As children, we are constantly on purpose and comfortable in the activities of the moment. It is through the maturation process and the daily grind of life that we become separated from our true selves. “Re-membering” is the key to connecting to our purpose.
Think back to your childhood and remember those activities and events that brought you the most joy – dedicating hours, days, and maybe weeks to – time felt like it was standing still and before you knew it, it was time to get home, get ready for dinner or go to school. The times when you felt so comfortable in your own skin that you were in total alignment with everything around you, maybe even to the point where you felt like you were as one, no separation at all. You had limitless energy and could have gone on much longer but had to stop to get somewhere else. Maybe it was sports, reading, riding your bike, art, helping others, building something, tearing something apart and putting it back together, playing an instrument – what was it for you? Take a moment to picture yourself participating in that activity, how you felt, what was happening inside of yourself, how others were responding. What adjectives would you assign to this picture in your mind? Proud, excited, alive, fun, accomplished, peaceful, effortless, free…
There are clues here in these childhood memories that point to our purpose. These activities reflect our strengths, how our brains are wired and the feelings these elicited. Now many people get stuck at this very moment and I will hear some of the following rebuttals from my clients. Dominic, I loved playing football but given my size and lack of speed I would barely have made my high school team, lone enough making a career at it. Dominic, I loved drawing but now I have a family to support and all kinds of activities that I need to get my kids to – no one has time to draw, and it will not pay the bills. Totally get it.
Start with Why – the title of a fabulous book by Simon Sinek (please pick it up if you have not read it). We are trained, especially in the Western World, to start with the how and the what and then get frustrated when our plan does not work or hits a dead end. This focus on the how and what becomes so dependent on so many forces that out of your control and/or change when your why is not firmly in place. This is not to say that you will need to adapt to the times and changing technologies and trends but without your why, you will be constantly aiming in the dark and not be fulfilled.
So how do you translate these childhood activities and passions into our why? I encourage my clients, at this point, to understand the skills that went into what you would consider your accomplishments to date regardless of your age or if these personal or professional. We all have them and sometimes downplay our accomplishments because “I was just doing my job” or “I haven’t cured cancer” so my accomplishments don’t count. If you go to www.dominickayatta.com, you will find an accomplishments worksheet that will assist you in this process. You can find it under my resources tab.
Finding purpose and staying on purpose provides many opportunities for self-reflection and occasional difficult conversations. As I look back over my life, those times when I found fear creeping in, not feeling myself, not getting the same fulfillment, were those exact times that that I became separated from my true self. I allowed the expectations of those closest to me or what the world told me I should be or to live someone else’s life and doubt those moments when I was truly most comfortable just being myself.
Purpose connects us to our true self, making us feel one with ourselves, our soul, and everyone/everything else in the world. The mistake we sometimes make is searching outside of ourselves to find our purpose and meaning when the answer is always right inside of us. Again, through the hardships of life, how we are conditioned by outside forces on how to define our success, what is expected of us, is what makes us become separated from ourselves. As stated in the beginning of this podcast, it is the process of re-membering (spell it out) and remembering what makes us a member of our own lives. So, who are you? Think about how you would answer the following questions (take out a piece of paper – remember I am old or take notes on your phone if you are so inclined):
1. Where were you born? Were you raised in a rural, suburban or city community?
2. How do you identify culturally?
3. What do you celebrate? Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, milestones
4. Where do you live currently and how would you classify this area? rural, suburban or a city community – what’s the vibe, what are the people like? What kind of activities are close by?
5. What activities did you participate in or currently take part in, ones that you got absorbed in, lost track of time, and spent free time doing? How did these make you feel?
6. What words would your parents/those who raised you use to describe you?
7. What words would your friends use to describe you?
8. What words would your colleagues use to describe you?
9. How is the way you describe yourself different than how others would describe you?
Now reflect on your responses. What themes come up for you? Any patterns? How are the words and adjectives aligned with how you describe your purpose. How are these showing up in your life? Are you able to express, demonstrate, and utilize these on a consistent basis or do you need to hide or feel ashamed of these?
This can be a difficult exercise and I applaud you for having the courage to continue this journey. And sometimes your purpose can clash with those that may be closest to you.
Parents, significant others, friends, and colleagues want to have your best intentions in mind, try to protect you from the obstacles of the world, think they know what is best for you so you do not have to “struggle” or they may even try to control you based on their childhood trauma, lack of emotional intelligence, etc. This can lead us to question our purpose, doubt our inner guidance system, and become pulled in many directions.
Okay, Dominic, what do I do to get back on track?
First, please be kind to yourself. What I just described is part of the human experience. We will all experience moments like this so pause and ask, “what I can do for myself in the way of self-care.” Activities that help me get in touch with the feelings and sensations in my body without judging myself and others. Do I need some time in nature, facetime with a friend who gets me, a road trip, time with a good book? It is okay not be okay but again in a world that demands so much from us, having to be strong and perfect, and the pressure that I cannot be seen as weak blocks us from these vital and necessary activities. Partake in one of these in the 24-48 hours.
Second, commit to one of your childhood activities, hobbies, passions for this upcoming week. If not actually doing it, maybe going to a sporting event, a museum, etc. Set a date and make this as important as any other commitment you have on your schedule.
Third, bask in the feelings and sensations when you are enjoying these activities. What is your energy level like? Are you thinking more clearly and creatively? How are others responding to you when you are in this state? Write this down.
Here is the foundation for what will be covered in upcoming podcasts and the key for success with my patented formula. Feelings are the true goal because they represent our “why”, our true purpose, and this feeling equates with true connection to self – feeling good, peaceful, fulfilled, secure, safe, thriving, giving – AUTHETHIC and no one can take this away from you no matter what happens. Goals are not tangible things or milestones but are rather feelings. When I first heard this in my coaching certification program, I was blown away. That one had to sink in for quite a while. Let’s think about it. It’s what the money, second home at the beach, car, great job, fabulous relationship all represent – the feeling that these things provide – again that can look like security, peace, fulfillment, having options, confidence – you fill in the blank. And here is what magical part about all of this. We are conditioned to think that I will feel peace when I have that second home, I will feel secure when I have a certain amount of money in my bank account. We put the cart before the horse. Instead, what I can do today to feel more (you fill in the blank) and then watch what and who shows up in your life. You have now prepared your brain to be wired to be on the lookout for those situations and events that get you closer to your goals which are your feelings. You will be naturally and unconsciously drawn to activities and situations that speak to your true self and reinforce these positive feelings that are your very essence.