The Joy and Challenge of Finding Your Purpose

I love this article (below) on the secret to a long and happy life… which, to paraphrase the article, is…. To do what you love, or more specifically what brings a sense of meaning and purpose. It seems like a simple equation: Do what makes you happy in order to be happy.

But somehow this gets all complicated for us, doesn’t it? Worrying what others will think, how to find what you love, how it all fits with making a living, and all that practical stuff.

The article has some good hints and inspiration. They talk about a Japanese philosophy called “ikigai” which loosely translates as sense of purpose, or doing what you love, or following the call of your heart. The article contains some fruitful yet simple questions to ask yourself to help you find your purpose in life. I’ll provide some tips below too.

A helpful excerpt from the article:

It’s not as easy as that sounds, of course. ‘Modern life estranges us more and more from our true nature, making it very easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning,’ García and Miralles write. ‘Powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) distract us on a daily basis; don’t let them take over your life.’
Instead, they advise, follow your curiosity and intuition, which are the paths back to ikigai, as is self-awareness. Find the activity you love, surround yourself with people you love, and stay true to that internal compass.
~ David G. Allen, CNN, in “Ikigai, the Japanese path to live longer, happier”

I know what they’re saying is true. But it’s not so simple, is it? “Internal compass,” huh? I’ll explain. That’s one of my favorite topics.

image - happiness

Happiness is not all about rainbows. But in this case, a rainbow did make me happy, and I danced with it. For me, following the happiness that appears is so key. Those moments of trusting and following instincts add up.

“How do I get one of those Internal Compasses?”

From what I’ve seen up close and personal as a coach, most people, in Western cultures, have a very hard time understanding what is their internal compass and how to hear it.  Continue reading

Your Inner Compass Is Better Than You Think

You know those success models you think you’re supposed to be following? Like from the loud guy on that marketing webinar that left you hyperventilating?

Consider the source for those models:
It is almost always from someone trying to sell you their course by using words like “This is THE way or you’re doomed.” Right?

Too many people are letting those salesy messages get under their skin, which makes them feel like a loser. I’ve had people come see me in tears after taking on those external expectations as gospel. With all the email and social media messages like that, it can be an onslaught of “You’re not enough.”

I’ve been there, comparing my messy side to those supposed success stories. And comparing my quiet style to those extroverted ways of selling. Their messages can be so compelling! And so paralyzing.

[Image: Your inner compass knows the way.]

Your inner compass knows the way.

When I naturally resisted doing it their “expert” way, because it just didn’t feel like me, I found things went much better! Wait, you mean my way, off the beaten path, can actually work for me? It was freaky to me when that first happened, and I didn’t believe it for a while, even after it kept on working.

I see in hindsight that doing it my way IS where the gold is! It’s not a fluke, it’s what works for me.

Ya gotta tune into your own instincts and your audience’s responses, not someone else’s prescription for you.

Your inner compass is better than you think. So much better than you think.

How Do You Hear It and Trust It?

Continue reading

Do You Like the Sound of SOULpreneurs?

How do you like the sound of the word SOULpreneur? More relaxing than the word “entrepreneur” I bet. I find a lot of introverts, women, and many others don’t like the word entrepreneur even if they like the idea of being self-employed. Entrepreneur can feel too salesy or money-focused for some people’s taste.

When you tweak the word entrepreneur to something that has more soul, it’s a lot more appealing to me and to a lot of people. And that’s what business really should be — ethical, purposeful, authentic. Right?

A popular word for solo self-employment, solopreneur, doesn’t do it for me either. When I think of that, I feel lonely, dull, and tight-fisted. It feels like swimming upstream. When I call myself a SOULpreneur and think from that more expansive perspective, I feel trusting, inspired, connected to purpose, and connected to something bigger than me. It feels like swimming downstream, in sync with natural flow.

Many of us are following this new SOULpreneur paradigm for business… and making it work! Yes, aligning our hearts and wallets. It can be done.

One of the secrets is connecting with SOULpreneur community for refreshing validation, practical support, and inspiration. I’ll explain.

[Image: SOULpreneur connections are about heart-centered abundance.]

Connecting with SOULpreneurs feeds our heart-centered abundance.

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I Opened My Heart and Found Strength, Not Weakness

I learned an important lesson about the heart when I went to my father’s funeral many years ago. The day he died, a friend came over and took me for a walk in the February chill and listened to my worries.

I told her I was afraid I couldn’t handle all the emotions, and that I was especially afraid to be at the funeral and feel raw emotions in front of everyone when I felt so vulnerable. It was one of those major shy moments when I wanted to hide.

[image: rose quartz heart]She gave me a gift that has helped me with that fear ever since. She gave me a rose quartz heart to keep in my pocket. She said it was a symbol that I could be strong like a rock, and have an open heart at the same time. I started to imagine that maybe strength could coexist with an open heart.

So I tried it at the funeral.  Continue reading

Are Introverts Better than Extroverts at Online Networking?

I can make a case for why the answer could be Yes.

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013 (Click to view my photo album on Facebook.)

At the recent Podcamp Western Mass (an unconference about social media), I led a session with this exact same title. I got both introverts and extroverts to give their opinions.

To make it easy for both introverts and extroverts to participate equally, I had folks move to a spot in the room that represented their opinion on questions like “Introverts should become more extroverted.”

Here’s a hint about the discussion outcome. One of the extroverts said something like this at the end: Continue reading