A purpose-filled life.
(By Janifer Wheeler, Certified Life Coach)
I’ve been thinking about this topic, and the children’s magazine Highlights keeps running through my mind. Remember “Fun with a Purpose™”? Of course, the purpose of Highlights is to provide kids with interesting articles, pictures, games, etc. that, while reading, teach a valuable lesson or reinforce academic skills — all neatly hidden in an entertaining format. But doesn’t that also describe life in general… a series of events, interactions, and experiences from which we learn and grow, sometimes without even realizing it?
What does it really mean to live a fun life with purpose? The dictionary defines fun as “enjoyment,” and purpose as “a reason, goal, plan or intention.” So, if you combine the two, you’re having fun intentionally, while also achieving your goals. If it’s this easy, though, why are so many people unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives?
How can you regain that childhood notion of fun, but also live with purpose?
(One of our favorite muses rewarding herself for losing 30 lbs.! Congrats Diane!)
Start by weeding out the activities, relationships or tasks that are stealing your joy. Misery, even within the grieving process, should always be a temporary state. If you can barely drag yourself out of bed every day because you hate your job, or if you’re sending every call from that certain someone straight to voicemail, then it’s probably time to make some changes. (Example: I recently got a new smartphone and as I transferred the contacts, I deleted every person who did not truly enhance or bring a smile to my world.)
Removing the dead weight can be hard and make you feel guilty, but it’s a necessary step if you truly want a life that is enjoyable and lived to its fullest.
Your next step is to evaluate why you do the things you do. Last year, I decided not to return to teaching after eight years in the classroom. I realized I was getting burned out and actually made a written list of all the reasons why I was a teacher: it kept me on the same schedule as my child… I enjoyed the content… had summers off… it was in my degree field… I was in a good school system… I had a steady paycheck. All of those things were great, but nowhere on this list was changing lives, making a difference, or molding the next generation.
Those were the reasons I’d started teaching, but they had faded as the years went by – overshadowed by parents’ unrealistic demands, scorn and blame for society’s ills, and a very unbalanced work/family existence. Leaving the security of a guaranteed income was a bit stressful, but then I started my own Life Coaching business, Wheeler for Life, and found a new purpose. Now, I’m able to help others employ the tools and strategies they need to live their lives on their own terms – finding both the fun AND the purpose.
Sometimes, the word “purpose” can be daunting. Not everyone’s a planner or has a grand scheme for his/her life — I certainly don’t! My idea of a five-year-plan is to still be alive; who knows what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be? Flexibility, creativity, and spontaneity DO reside within goals, plans and intentions. In fact, I’ve found that if you intentionally look for the fun, the wonder, and the beauty in your life and the people traveling the path with you, your purpose will present itself.
A Purpose Filled Life
Janifer Wheeler, Certified Life Coach