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Published on March 27, 2018

How to Find the Purpose of Life (A Case Study of a High-Powered Woman)

How to Find the Purpose of Life (A Case Study of a High-Powered Woman)

As a mindset and performance coach, I help people achieve Success that Matters®. My clients create high performance in what matters most to them, resulting in a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment. I’m going to share with you the transformation of a recent client and how you can use these same strategies to create a life of purpose and find your true meaning of life.

How to find the purpose of life and live a fulfilling life

“Ding,” my phone beeped at me, signaling a new potential coaching client had filled out my pre-interview questionnaire. She was successful in her career and enjoyed the challenge of her work. But like many of my ambitious clients, she was struggling to balance her work and her personal life. She started to feel lost about her goals in life.

This is how I met her, Jenny (alias), a high-powered career woman.

Jenny’s career had gradually crept all over her calendar, and she was trying to cram her personal life around the edges. From the time she woke up in the morning until going to bed, emails marked ‘urgent’ from colleagues and clients flooded her inbox. She spent a lot of time putting out fires and responding to the demands of others. Her self-care had dwindled. She had little time to nurture her most important relationships with family and friends.

She was feeling overwhelmed with her never-ending to-do list and was wondering if the life she imagined living was even possible.

During her interview call with me, I knew I could help her. I’ve helped hundreds of high achievers with the struggles she faced, and was confident that 8 weeks later her life would look much different.

And it did.

The positive results 8 weeks later

In our weeks together, she achieved the following results:

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  • Achieved her ideal work-life rhythm (without sacrificing her career success)
  • Began an exercise habit
  • Created time to nurture new friendships
  • Streamlined her workflow in her career and personal life
  • Created the space to realize a big dream and make an action plan to achieve it
  • Defined success on her terms and built her life around what matters most to her
  • Felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment

Here is a breakdown of the 4 strategies I used with Jenny. You, too, can use these strategies to find your purpose of life and your sense of significance.

1. Define your true priorities and eliminate false objectives

To live your extraordinary life, you’ll need to live YOUR life, not somebody else’s.

Often, we live our lives how others want us to live. We build our daily habits and schedules around what our families, friends, and society want for us. We are a product of our surroundings.

It takes guts to live your life according to your true priorities, especially when your priorities differ from the people around you. When you have the courage to build your life around what matters most to you, you live authentically and your days become filled with a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Remember:

    In today’s high-pressure, crazy-busy world, it is very easy to stray away from your true priorities and build a life around false objectives. False objectives are the goals you’re working toward that don’t align with what matters most to you and the person you most want to be.

    For some people, climbing the corporate ladder is a false objective because they desire more than anything to take some time away from their career to stay home with their young kids. For others, having a large home mortgage is a false objective, because they would love the freedom to travel the world.

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    In order to feel fulfilled, it’s important to closely evaluate your life and be 100% honest with yourself on the following questions:

    • What matters most to you?
    • What false objectives are you working toward?

    It’s important to identify and eliminate the false objectives in your life. When you eliminate the false objectives, you begin focusing your life on what matters most to you; and, it gives you the space to create your authentic, extraordinary life.

    2. Develop a crystal-clear vision of the life you desire

    As you define your true priorities, you can start developing a vision for the life you desire.

    How will you build your life around your priorities?

    Write down everything you can think of about the life you desire. Then work on believing it’s possible to achieve it. This can be really difficult, but it’s crucial.

    If traveling is one of your biggest priorities, and you deeply desire to create a freedom-based career with a laptop lifestyle allowing you to work from anywhere in the world, you’ll need to believe it’s possible. If deep down you believe that it’s not possible for you to break free from the 9-5 in the cubicle, you won’t take the steps necessary to break free from the office.

    If you say writing is very important to you and your biggest ambition is to become a New York Times bestselling author, but deep down you believe that you’ll never finish writing your book, the actions you take every day are going to align with your disbelief. When you’re not feeling motivated to write, you won’t. When you’re feeling defeated, you’ll quit.

    What you believe about yourself–and what you believe is possible for yourself–affects how you show up every day to achieve your biggest goal.

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    Get clear about the life you desire, and work on believing it’s possible to achieve it.

    3. Create a plan to achieve your vision

    Let’s use the bestselling author example again.

    If your biggest ambition is to become a New York Times bestselling author, because you want to write about a topic that matters a lot to you and make a difference in the lives of many with your words, you’ll need a plan to achieve that vision.

    Hope is not a strategy. You’ll need a plan.

    You’ll need to develop a writing habit. You’ll need to research how to get published. You’ll need to learn how to effectively market the book or how to hire somebody to market it for you.

    Create a specific plan and give yourself deadlines to achieve it.

    4. Deal with resistance effectively

    Every day, when you are working on building your life around your true priorities and your big vision, you’ll face resistance. Your life will probably look something like this:

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      This resistance occurs in many forms including:

      • Fear of failure
      • Fear of success
      • Fear of standing out from the crowd
      • Fear that what you believe is possible maybe isn’t really possible for you
      • Feeling tired or unmotivated
      • Distractions
      • Interruptions

      You will be bombarded every day with many things that attempt to distract you away from your true priorities.

      It’s important to run YOUR race, live YOUR life, focus on what matters to YOU, and build your life around YOUR vision.

      You’ll face a lot of resistance, and it’s important to have strategies in place to deal with your resistance effectively, so you’re able to stay on track even during tough times.

      Follow those steps and everything changes

      When you’re clear about what you truly desire and what matters most to you, and you develop a plan to achieve your big vision, everything changes.

      You feel more focused and you make decisions that align with your true priorities.

      You find the purpose of life.

      You show up with more passion and enthusiasm.

      You build your life around what matters most to you, and life becomes very fulfilling.

      Featured photo credit: Leah Kelley / https://www.pexels.com via pexels.com

      More by this author

      Dr. Kerry Petsinger

      Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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