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May 13, 2017

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Finding Purpose: Understanding and Incorporating What Is Fulfilling in Your Life

 

Are you thriving or surviving? Does your behavior reflect your beliefs? Do you ever wonder about your life’s purpose? Nobody’s watching - tell yourself the truth.


I encourage my executive coaching clients to let go, answer these questions honestly, and engage in a process that will enable them to discover—perhaps for the first time—what they really want. In other words, their life purpose.


But how can we find our life purpose? What does it look like? Ancient Indian philosophy teaches that finding your life purpose comes from knowing your Dharma, that is, your true Nature. Dharma is made up of the actions that bring you harmony and fulfillment. These actions arise as a result of knowing and being your “true self.”


Psychologist, educator, and University of Pennsylvania PhD Martin Seligman’s study of what constitutes a fulfilled life identifies three basic elements that predict an increased sense of satisfaction and gratification: “ . . . being in a stable romantic relationship, making a living from a vocation or calling versus just having a job, and believing in something larger or higher than the self . . .”1


Finding your Dharma and life purpose is a major, yet very amazing, process. When you connect your life purpose to your actions (Dharma), it brings you joy and fulfillment. When you’re disconnected from Dharma, your purpose may be confused and misaligned and you may feel out-of-balance.


How do you recognize that you need to do some work on your life purpose? Here are some clues:

  • Feeling lethargic, fatigued or disenchanted.

  • Having undergone a significant life transitions – for example, children have grown up and left, retirement is near, divorce.

  • Being overwhelmed by circumstances forcing the question “Is this the life that I really want to lead?”


The real art of achieving balance in one’s life and finding and integrating one’s purpose is in living in the present with an ability to focus on the future. One of a number useful tools I use in my coaching practice is a version of the tool commonly referred to as the “Life Balance Wheel.”


The Life Balance Wheel essentially has a number of spokes emanating from its hub. These spokes create sections that represent elements associated with a fulfilled life. The lowest value for each element is located at the center of the wheel, and the highest value is at the perimeter.

Look at each category and shade the level that you feel represents its influence in your life presently. Ideally, once you’ve shaded all the values, you’ll see a very round circle close to the wheel’s perimeter. Unevenness, or “bumps,” in the wheel represent gaps in your life – areas in which some effort would be beneficial.


In my executive coaching practice, I use the wheel to help my clients identify the gaps and visualize why they might be having a “bumpy ride” in life. This model facilitates potentially life-changing discussions in which we examine what is behind a client’s shading of each section of the wheel. At first, some clients are a bit uncomfortable with this approach, generally because they expect that the wheel of life will indeed be bumpy and they feel there might be little that they can do about it.


“Bumps” in life are, well, just a part of life. For coaches, the Life Balance Wheel is an effective tool for doing life-design work with clients. It offers an opportunity for a client to adjust the wheel in a positive direction so that the he or she can move through painful times as smoothly as possible; it also helps infuse life with the spirit of hope so that real happiness (Dharma) occurs more quickly, naturally, and frequently.


Our goal at SourceOne Innovations is to narrow and eliminate the gap between where a client is today and where he or she wants and needs to be tomorrow and into the future! If there is one positive thing that you do for yourself today, please reach out to me on our website www.bill-hooker.com  so I can send you a complementary wheel-of life to complete. It’s simple and very revealing. From there we can begin your journey.


There are countless articles on the history and aspects of the wheel of life including www.startofhappiness.com. And if you’d like a musical view of this exciting subject, check out a Blood, Sweat and Tears song, called “Spinning Wheel” .

1 Martin E.P. Seligman, ”Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment”, 2002
2 Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez, “Becoming a Professional Life Coach”, 2015

 

 

 

 

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