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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

As a mindset and performance coach, I help people achieve success. 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.

The Journey of Finding the Purpose of 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.

In our weeks together, she achieved the following results:

  • 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

A Step-By-Step Guide to Start Living Your Purpose

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.

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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.

    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.

    This guide will be helpful for you:

    The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

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    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.

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

    Check out this article and find what matters to you most:

    There Is More to Life Than ____________

    3. Create a plan to achieve your vision

    Let’s use the bestselling author example again.

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    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. Use SMART goal to outline your plan:

    How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

    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:

      This resistance occurs in many forms including:

      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.

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      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.

      Think it’s too late to live the life you desire? Not true! Here’s the proof:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      Final Thoughts

      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: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

      More by this author

      Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

      5 Ways to Accomplish Your Biggest Goals to The Fullest 5 Keys to Discovering Your Life’s True Mission Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

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      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

      Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

      Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

      Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of motivation that lists five categories of human needs that dictate individual behavior. These five categories refer to physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.[1]

      Motivation plays a big part in athletic coaching. I spent 44 years coaching basketball and each day at practice, I was trying to motivate our athletes to give their best effort. In this article, I will examine Maslow’s hierarchy and five areas of needs from an athletic perspective.

      1. Physiological Needs

      These needs represent the most basic human survival needs. They include food, water, rest, and breathing, and all four have importance in athletics.

      Food has had an evolution in the world of athletics. I cannot recall my coaches in the 1950s and ‘60s mentioning anything about food. As time went on, the pre-game meal became important. Steak seemed to be the meal of choice early in the evolution. Research then indicated pasta would be the better choice.[2]

      Today, I think most coaches prefer pasta. However, if the players are ordering from menus, some coaches believe the players should stick with their regular diets and order accordingly.

      The next step in this evolution was that the pre-game meal, although important, is not nearly as critical as the athletes’ overall nutrition. At our University of St. Francis athletic seminars, we invited nutritionists to speak and to educate our players on their nutritional habits.

      The ultimate change in food intake may be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady. He adheres to a specific, disciplined diet that has allowed him to play superb football at age 43.

      Water also has had an evolution in sports. It went from not being allowed in practices to coaches scheduling water breaks during the practices.

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      Rest is extremely important in all sports, and statistics validate its importance. NBA research found that during the course of the season teams win 6 of 10 games at home but only 4 of 10 on the road. In the NBA playoffs, the statistics change to 6.5 at home and 3.5 on the road. Many coaches believe rest is the key factor to these statistics because the players are sleeping in their own beds for home games.[3]

      Our St. Francis basketball team found the importance of breathing on a trip to play in a tournament in Colorado. In our first game, we were playing great and winning by 12 points early in the game. Then the altitude kicked in, adversely affected our breathing, and we lost the lead and eventually the game.

      In our second game, having learned our lesson, we substituted more frequently! Maslow’s idea of physiological needs plays a major part in the athletic arena.

      2. Safety Needs

      Safety needs include protection from violence, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.

      If a fight breaks out during a basketball game, there can be serious injuries. This is the reason a coach steps in immediately when there is any violence or dirty play in practice. The coach must protect the players. You drill your teams to play hard—never dirty.

      The importance of emotional stability has gained more credence in sports in recent years. Many teams hire psychologists to help work with their players. There is a great deal of player failure in sports and it is critical for the players to stay emotionally stable.

      Health security is much more prevalent in sports today than in my playing days. I once got a concussion during a basketball game. We had no trainers. The coach handled it by telling me after the game, “Sullivan, you play better when you don’t know where the hell you are!” He was right, and my medical treatment ended there! Games today have trainers available to protect the health of the athletes.

      Financial security is predominant in professional sports. Most players today use free agency to go where the money is because they consider sport not to be a sport at all. They believe it is a short-term business at their level. I personally appreciate the athletes who have taken less money so the team can retain teammates or use the dollars to bring in new players.

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      3. Love and Belonging Needs

      These needs can be summed up with two words: love and relationships.

      After teams win championships, you will often hear coaches say, “I love these guys” or “I loved coaching this team.” You can tell by their body language and the tone of their voice that they really mean it.

      I think coaches say this because the season can be a tough grind. Practices, scouting, film work, travel, and problems that arise take a toll on coaches. However, when you have teams that give all they have every night in practice, you do come to love them.

      ESPN did a 30-30 segment on the North Carolina State national championship team coached by Jim Valvano. I was especially interested in watching it because I knew a player on the team who used to come to our camps. Terry Gannon played a major role in their championship.

      The program was a reunion of their players. This was 20 plus years from their title, and if you were to take one thing away from the show, it would be how much the players loved each other.

      In the last analysis, sport is all about relationships. You can meet former teammates with whom you played 40 to 50 years earlier and that athletic bond is as strong as it ever was. Although you may have not seen each other in years, your friendship is so cemented it’s like you have been seeing each other weekly.

      David Halberstam’s book, The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, validates the relationship between athletics forges. Ted Williams is dying and three of his former Boston Red Sox teammates—Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio—make the trip to Florida to see him. Even though 50 years had passed since they played together, the bond among them never waned.

      Love and belonging epitomize the essence of sports.

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      4. Esteem Needs

      These needs are characterized by self-respect and self-esteem. Self-respect is “the belief that you are valuable and deserve dignity.” Self-esteem is twofold—“it is based on the respect and acknowledgment from others and esteem which is based on your own self-assessment.”[4]

      Often the players on the bench are the ones the coach respects the most because they work so hard in practices yet receive none of the glory. The best coaches never let the starters or stars ever denigrate the players on the bench. Coaches must always acknowledge the value and the dignity of those who play little. They often turn out to be the superstars of their professions.

      Some coaches will never get “it.” They think they can motivate their players by degrading them. They embarrass the athletes during games and they constantly berate their performance in practices.

      Great coaches are just the opposite. They are encouragers. They do push their players and they push them hard, but they always respect them. Great coaches enhance the self-esteem and confidence of their players.

      5. Self-Actualization Needs

      “Self-actualization describes the fulfillment of your full potential as a person.”[5]

      I believe three words are the key to self-actualization: potential, effort, and regrets.

      You often hear in athletics that a player has potential. It also is not uncommon for the person introducing the athlete to rave about his potential. I was fortunate to work with an outstanding man in the Milwaukee Bucks camps, Ron Blomberg. Ron had the best definition of potential that I ever heard: “Potential means he hasn’t done it.” Will he do all the work necessary to fulfill his potential?

      Effort is great, but it’s not enough. If you want to reach your full potential, you must have a consistency of effort in your daily habit. Only consistency of effort can lead to success.

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      John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, said that success is becoming all your ability will allow you to be. He agreed with his friend, major league umpire, George Moriarty, even though he used to kid him. Coach told him he never had seen Moriarty spelled with just one “i.” He followed this with, “Of course, the baseball players accused him of having only one ‘eye’ in his head as well.”

      In his poem, The Road Ahead or The Road Behind, Moriarty wrote,

      “. . . for who can ask more of a man
      than giving all within his span, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.

      When your life is winding down and you look back if you can say you gave “all in your span”—that you consistently gave it your best effort—you will have reached your full potential and there will be no regrets.

      Final Thoughts

      Now that you’ve learned more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, consider reflecting on the last two needs (esteem needs and self-actualization needs) and ask yourself the following questions:

      • Are you doing all you can to enhance the self-esteem of those around you?
      • Are you doing all you can to self-actualize the potential you have been given?

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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