“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
The Dalai Lama
So – who are you when nobody is watching? Are you the same person? Are you authentic? Are you living your life, or just existing?
Recently, I was walking to the beach and I walked quickly past the local hospital, listening to my music, and simply enjoying the feel of the muscles in my legs working, the breeze ruffling through my hair, and the simplicity of just being alive. I found myself smiling genuinely and feeling completely content, comfortable, sure about who I am and knowing that despite problems around me, life is pretty good. I found myself thinking back to 4 years ago, when I could not even walk past that hospital or same pathway to the beach, because of past old unprocessed memories, I was so much in psychological pain, – I was existing.
I can definitely say that I feel that I am living my life now – not just existing. And it feels good, free, and authentic.
Four years – two very different end points, from existing to living, thanks to the life transforming power of adopting a coaching practice and accompanying lifestyle.
We all wonder what the ‘meaning of life’ is; why we are here and what we’re meant to do with our lives, but what if life isn’t about finding the purpose. What if life was about achieving purpose instead?
Imagine the horrible trauma that cancer patients have to go through; the decision between continuing treatment and deciding to stop. For those who decide to continue; they put themselves through emotional and physical pain, hoping that their condition will improve somehow. But why would they subject themselves to all this pain? Because they believe that life is precious, and want to do all they can to hold onto it.
If they are willing to fight that hard to keep their life, I believe each of us should fight that hard to find purpose in it.
I want to share with you 10 ways I now live my life with purpose:
- No longer sweat the small stuff.I know just how short life can be from my late father who died young to my cousin’s child who is a teenager suffering from cancer. Therefore, I don’t want to waste time on things (or people!) that really don’t matter.
- Cherish the people who really matter to you.Life taught me who my true friends were and my circle became much smaller. That annoying friend that you’re always ducking… just cut them loose. That family member that makes you so uncomfortable…you may not be able to cut them loose, but you can cut them back… seriously, way back. Your time is precious. Choose to spend it with people who matter.
- Stop living in the past.Don’t let your bad experience keep you from living. So live… like never before.
- Enjoy life. I hardly ever took vacations. Typically, I would take one in the summer and another at Christmas. I never thought I had enough time, money or a break in the workload. You have to rest and reset. All work and no play… you know the rest!
- Let go of what’s holding you back.When you are faced with mortality, you start thinking of all the things that are left unaccomplished or need a do-over. You have to learn to let those things go. For me, it was finally realising that a certain level of my career would never be obtained. I fought it for years, but the truth is that I’m so much more passionate about different things now. My priorities have completely changed. So, I let it go. I made a new, more up-to-date list of goals and I am going for it.
- Enjoy every little bit.I enjoy everything. Seriously. Every bite of food, drink, kiss from my son…everything! You don’t know when it’s going to be your last. So savour it.
- Be adventurous.Do things that scare the crap out of you. Why? Because they remind you that you’re still here. I’ve hiked in Nepal and had to parasail down (I have a fear of heights); (I had to climb it first); I’ve learned how to ski (something that’s very hard to do as an adult); I’ve learned how to sail (it’s very scary and unsteady out there if it is windy and in the ocean); and I took a chance on love and all of its endless possibilities (yay, for love!)
- It’s OK to reflect.You can’t truly appreciate how far you’ve come unless you look back on where you’ve been. But, remember it’s just a reflection. Don’t let it consume you.
- Give back.Volunteer, give financially, get involved. There are so many people and children in need out there. I believe we are given to give back. Think about what you needed while you were going through tough times. What would have made a difference to you?
- Be happy.You are ALIVE! So go and be happy. When my father was alive, he would often say to me, “You are always so happy. I hope you are always happy.” So, I make it a point to be just that – happy!
Don’t get me wrong – I still am human. So, there are times when I find myself sad, angry or just plain unhappy. It is in those moments that I remember that I am still here blessed , loved and healthy and I decided not to waste a moment being unhappy.