5 Essential Ingredients for Living a Life of Purpose
How to become the master chef of your life.
In my last post, How to Find Your Life’s Purpose | Flow + Fulfillment Point the Way, I talked about how to know when you are on the right path, following your soul’s purpose. So today, I want to continue on that theme with some practical steps to find your path if you are not there yet.
And you know what? You may have already found your path, but strayed a little from it. And that’s okay, we all do it! It’s not easy to stay on course and follow your soul — especially in a world that pushes us toward conformity!
You might have noticed that the soul tends to whisper to us, whereas everyday life and “reality” tends to shout. The voice of our authentic self gets drowned out.
So let’s talk about finding your way by paying close attention to these five essential ingredients.
#1 Adjust your mindset
Living a life of purpose requires taking action. The first action is to check your mindset. Remember that finding and following your purpose is an internally driven and internally assessed thing. So you cannot compare yourself to societal standards, or seek approval from outside of yourself.
Sure, if approval comes, that’s all good. But don’t chase it down. Your ability to tune into your internal compass will take practice if you’ve normally just followed what your friends, family or media suggested was the ‘right path’ to take. So be aware that there may not be many models to follow. In time, your authentic self will become your own role model!
Also, self-compassion must become part of your standard operations. You will make mistakes, you will push boundaries, that’s all part of living outside of the box. Forgive yourself.
Remember, the only judge that matters when it comes to your life is YOU. So check in with yourself daily to see what mental operating system is active. Is it the ‘Please others, follow the herd’ mentality? Or is it the ‘I follow my heart, trust my soul’ mindset?
#2 Find a mentor
Find a mentor or a coach, someone is a few steps above you, and who sees the same vision for you. Sometimes we need someone who can call us on our BS — and the right mentor will do that well!
Not so long ago, I hired a mindset coach for myself. Now, this guy normally only works with athletes, but I was sure I wanted him because I wanted the mental toughness of an athlete. My Olympic athlete friends have a totally different makeup — they are people who can fall 99 times and get up 100, even with the embarrassment of a crowd watching.
This coach told me a story about Tiger Woods, who at the time was working on changing his golf swing. Changing your swing, as a pro golfer, is a big deal. It’s kind of like starting from scratch, so at the beginning, he was going to be a beginner again; forming new muscle memory for his new swing position.
In a nutshell, his performance was going to suck for a while. And he was going to have to deal with that.
And this is what so many people find off-putting, even terrifying, about the idea of leaving the path they are on, albeit the wrong path. To get onto your soul’s true path, you will have to be a beginner again!
And as it goes, when Tiger stepped back onto the golf green to use his new swing technique in competition for the first time, he did struggle, and he did suffer a lot of negativity from the press.
But you know what he said in response to the press?
“I’m building something here.”
This phrase stuck with me and I bring it to mind often, especially when I feel self-critical or notice outsiders looking at me like I’m a little crazy.
For most of us, the negativity is mostly an evil little voice in our own heads. But for sports stars, when they stumble, it’s really public. And the criticism comes in huge waves, and from outside of themselves too! And that’s kind of why I wanted a sports coach for my mentor — what amazing mental toughness these guys need!
You and I are on a path to build a life of no regrets. And all excellent spiritual guides and mentors remind us to bring the ‘beginner’s mind’ to our approach to life. I highly recommend that you do the same. (Listen to a recent episode of Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Pleasure where my co-hosts Malcom and Barbara and I explore the many benefits of good mentors.)
Consider that following your heart, living in alignment with your soul, while a totally natural, innate skill for humans, requires practice. It required un-learning the conformity and rule-following we were taught as children.
So be easy on yourself. Open your mind to getting support, in the form of a mentor or coach, who can nurture and guide you as you explore bringing more of your potential to the world.
#3 Play, experiment and explore more
I want you to ask yourself a ‘what if’ question, such as:
What if I spent the whole day painting?
What if I didn’t respond to my emails?
What if I allowed myself the freedom to just dream?
Keep asking those questions and see what bubbles up. Try to just allow your internal guidance to spring forth, without judgment.
For most of my life, I played and explored only when the ‘work’ was done. Which meant that my priorities were dictated by doing what was expected, taking the ‘safe’ route to security and success.
Despite all of the achievement and accolades my work brought, I did not feel fulfilled. And so many of the celebrities and über-rich clients I work with say the same thing.
We often feel most alive, fulfilled and in flow when we are free to explore, play and experiment. So allow yourself space and time to prioritize free self-expression and exploration. Consider it ‘work,’ if you must. Schedule time for play or discovery it in your calendar so that you don’t push it to the side. You may find that your soul begins to sing and point you in new directions in life just by having the space to breathe and be.
And don’t worry about your performance or achievement while you’re in play mode. Being open to make mistakes and look like a ‘fool’ will open you up to bringing new talents to the fore.
Here’s another question to explore; what is success? How would you define it? Society tells us that success is about money and ‘stuff’ — but what is it for you?
Defining success for yourself can open you up to discovering what really matters to you and what would bring you the greatest feeling of fulfillment and appreciation. The best part is that when your success is defined internally and is found through naturally expressing your authentic self, you’ll never have to worry about external praise or recognition.
#4 Choose your environment and your community wisely
We’ve all heard the Jim Rohn quote — “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Your tribe or community is important because the people you hang with do influence you. As a physician, I know the research shows that people change their eating habits and even their body image to match that of their social group. There is so much data that shows slim people becoming obese over time if their friends are.
And it’s the same with mindset. Hanging out with negative people keeps you stuck in negativity. As brutal as it may sound, sometimes you do need to move on from some friends for your own sake.
Surround yourself with positive people and you’re already on your way to improving your mindset, your outlook on life and trusting your inner wisdom in life.
When I began connecting online with people I met at conferences and workshops, I found that the people who naturally think positively, who have huge hearts and who are committed to bringing more light and love to the world, I no longer felt so alone.
I also found that being in community, even a virtual community, allows me to express my true feelings and to receive real feedback from real people — instead of the imaginary critics in my head.
Associating with people who are big thinkers, soul-conscious change-makers, and heart-centered Lightworkers has brought me such peace, inspiration, and companionship. We encourage each other to dream big and to go after our goals with gusto. Instead of worrying about the social media trolls who throw shade, we are a tribe of joy-keepers who throw shine.
In the words of Halina Goldstein, “Connect with your soul. Share your light. The world will follow.” Taking her words to heart means being in community with like-minded individuals is of paramount importance!
#5 Become the conscious architect of you life
Just like the idea of choosing your environment wisely, I want you to become more conscious about how you spend your day. What are you focusing on? What are you allowing into your awareness?
What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? My tip here is to spend the first part of your day getting centered and checking in with yourself.
If the first thing you do is check your email or social media, then straight away you are allowing other people into your mind; telling you what THEY want from you.
Take charge and be strong on this point. You are the architect of your day, and emails can wait until you are ready to deal with them.
As the master architect of your life, how you craft each day will determine whether the life you build is a luxurious palace to be cherished or a dump that you dread going home to.
Your life is the sum of its parts
When you can bring all five of these elements together, you will really start to feel a sense of living on purpose. And I, for one, can’t think of a better way to live.
Where are you on your journey? I’d love you to leave me a comment here, or come and say hi on my Facebook page. I also host live videos every week there where you can ask me questions.
And be sure to tune in to get fired up with daily insight & inspiration on living your life out loud. Listen to Liberate Your Authentic Self on the America Out Loud radio network. (Starting July 1)
Originally published at www.andreapennington.com on June 17, 2017.