A confession – What if I don’t have a purpose?

A confession – What if I don’t have a purpose?

‘I’m supposed to have a purpose aren’t I?’ is what many clients say to me.  ‘What’s wrong with me if I don’t know my purpose?’

They stress about it and worry that their life is wasted because somehow they’ve reached their thirties or beyond and haven’t found the answer to this illusive question.

And all as they watch their friends and colleagues #livingmydream with #purpose whilst hitting #goals and #lovinglifeonmyterms.

And deep deep down they’re truly scared. Scared that they’ve failed. Failed at being a business owner – as all business owners who set up on their own had a driving purpose right? Failed at being a leader – because all leaders have to find their why yes? And ultimately failed at being human, because without purpose what are we here for, just to selfishly live life?

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if it’s ok to live without purpose? What else can we do?

All purpose gives us is a navigation tool. It’s like GPS pointing us in the right direction, but we forget that there are many ways to go on a journey.

You may be someone who chooses to travel by water, following meandering streams, jumping off waterfalls, dancing with the ocean tides. And on the way you find mermaids.

Or you’re someone who only wants to travel the back roads, through misty glens and thatch hatted villages, skipping over stiles and stone walls to explore ruined castles.

Or you float in a balloon over landscapes so vast that you can see enticement on the horizon, in gold shredded sunlight.

You see we have principles that guide us too, whether we are conscious of them or not. And there’s no one way to live a life: some us are driven by purpose and some of us are guided by principles, and some of us mix it up!

Let’s stop stressing about whether or not we have purpose and consciously work out how we live to our principles. It might be that family comes first, or that we exercise every day, or that work is there to fund our travel, or we need to see the stars at night, or we make someone smile every day, or we learn something new every week, or we tell those close to us that we love them.

Principles are our guidelines on our journey, and we never know where they might take us. Start writing yours down and see what you come up with.

What’s this got to do with leadership? Well leadership is about knowing ourselves and knowing others. If you are purpose driven, don’t dismiss those in your team who aren’t. Instead understand their principles and use them to help motivate. Similarly vice versa.

And always ensure you have both clearly articulated for your team i.e. the direction in which you’re heading, and how they are all going to partake in the journey. In that way we encompass everyone.

Rebecca Livesey
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