Want to be more focused, fulfilled, successful, confident and passionate? Would you like to stop floundering, struggling and getting nowhere and instead have a life that flows with grace, beauty & ease? Then it’s time to find your purpose, your reason for being.
Having a strong sense of purpose fuels your internal engine. It gets you out of bed in the morning and propels you forward. Your purpose enables you to find value and meaning from your life experiences and make focused, intentional decisions. The more purpose you inject into your life, the brighter your internal spark, the more productive you’ll be and the longer and deeper you’ll live.
The Japanese have a name for following your purpose. They call it ikigai (生き甲斐). Ikigai literally means “referring to life” (iki) and the realization of what you expect and hope for (kai). In Okinawa, a part of Japan where people live exceptionally long lives, ikigai is THE reason to get up in the morning and enjoy the day.
If you’re stuck on a passionless path and feel dull rather than brilliant, it’s time to realize your ikigai. The first step is to identify your core values—what orients you in life. Once you’ve uncovered your core values you can turn them into a vow or value statement and use that statement to guide your life.
Your core values are unique. They’re your personal internal GPS system, your North Star guiding you through life. Examples of core values include: love, vitality, humor, ecology, art, adventure, generosity, peace, education, open-mindedness, courage, success, connection, hope, growth, intimacy, health, creativity, meaningful connection, acceptance, compassion, significance, family, happiness, faith, patience, intelligence and wisdom.
Not only will knowing your core values guide you through life, they’ll also help you stick to your goals. For example, one of my clients, Tanya came to me because she wanted to lose weight. She’d tried countless times before and would always drop a few pounds and gain them back. The key to success was connecting her goal (lose weight) with her values which included family, wellness and confidence. When she realized eating right and exercising would be a good example for her son, increase wellness and build confidence she was finally able to change her lifestyle for good.
Ready to find your core values? Here’s my easy 5 Step process:
First spend time thinking about what’s important to you. Write down all of the things you value—freedom, strength, courage, connection, compassion … Imagine it’s the end of your life and you’re looking back to today. What would you have liked your life to have stood for?
Next list all your strengths and the strengths of people you admire. Don’t censor yourself. Relax and remain open. Be curious. Let the ideas flow, and ignore your internal critic. Remember, your inner critic wants to keep you safe and doesn’t want you to grow and glow.
Once you have a list of values, narrow down the list. Take your time and spend a few days with this step. Look over your list and pick the 6 or 7 words that really resonate with you. Ask yourself: “What values excite me?” or “If I had to live my life guided by one of these values which would I choose?” Notice how you feel when you connect with them.
Don’t be afraid to commit. The values that shape your life are like clothing. You get to try them on and take them off as you grow and change. And just as you can get training and increase your qualifications for a job position, you can change your values to help you better qualify for your life purpose.
Once you’ve selected 6-7 values, write them down, memorize them and watch your world start to transform
Take your top three values and define what they mean to you. For example, if you selected “success” ask yourself: “What does success mean to me?” or “How will I know when I’ve been successful.” If health is a core value define what being healthy means to you—having more energy, glowing skin, eating right or getting a good report from your doctor.
Now use your top values to determine what actions to take so your life, relationships and work reflect your core values. For example, if you selected family you might decide to spend more time with your kids and really listening to them, eat family meals more often, help you daughter with her homework or go out on a date with my spouse.
Each week select one or two actions you WANT to help you live by your core values. When you complete an action write it down so that you can track how effectively you’re living according to your core values. For example, one of my core values is creativity so every day I write three pages in my journal and an original post on my Facebook page. I also work on my creativity by reading books on the topic. Another of my values is God, so each morning I meditate, pray and ask for guidance and direction. I also offer support to my clients who are looking to have more of a connection with the Divine.
- Live with a vow
Select one value that you’d like to manifest and turn it into mantra. To do this write it in the form of a vow: “May I be (fill in your value)” or I vow to (fill in your value)” Repeat your vow every morning and before you go to sleep at night. You can also put your hand on heart as you say your vow or create a simple ritual such as lighting a candle before saying your vow.
Life is a journey and if you want to travel it well you need strong sense of purpose. Without purpose you get stuck on a path you have no passion for. Consciously identifying and working with your core values will give you the direction you need to make your life amazing.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things with matter least. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe[/pullquote]
Need help finding your purpose? Apply for a complimentary Clarity Coaching Session today by clicking HERE.
Wow! This is pretty amazing, Dr. Ellen. You’re a great coach! I vow to consider and determine my core values. Thank you for sharing this!
Thanks, Emmie. Glad you liked the post.
Thank you, Dr. Ellen – precisely what I needed today!
Hi Trace, glad it supported you. Thanks for sharing.