Unlocking the Power of Purpose

When I typed ‘How do I find my purpose in life?’ into Google, it came up with 1,750,000,000 suggestions! Which tells me that there an awful lot of people looking for the answer!

I guess it’s not surprising, given that NOT having a sense of purpose can leave us feeling aimless, unfulfilled and disconnected. In other words – lost. At least, that’s how it felt for me!

Is this it? I’m here to make a difference… but doing what? Why can’t I just find the thing I’m meant to be doing, once and for all? Am I really doing what I was born to do? Isn’t there some way that I can leave a lasting, positive impact on other people?

A yearning for that all-important ‘something’

I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’ve had each and every one of these thoughts in my time! And the thing that all these sentiments have in common is a yearning for purpose.

And THAT is a very powerful a feeling!

Purpose is unique to each and every one of us. For some it’s to do with legacy, fulfilment, motivation and for others it’s a blend of ALL that and more.

And by the time we reach our 50s and 60s, this yearning for purpose takes centre stage as we start to re-examine whether the way we’ve been living our lives still works for us now.

And when the answer is ‘no’ the realisation that we’re not ‘on purpose’ can become a powerful catalyst to actually DO something about it. The feeling that there must be ‘something more’ leads us to become a ‘seeker’ and sets us off on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

The 4 ‘P’s’

Plan P Jigsaw

Passion, purpose, potential and prosperity: 4 words that form the heart of my business manifesto and indeed my entire business. But out of these four, ‘purpose’ is perhaps the element my clients find the most elusive and intangible.

I think part of the problem lies with the whole concept of a ‘life purpose’ – it somehow sounds loaded with lofty expectations! No wonder we find it intimidating and overwhelming to contemplate!

But when we break it down, isn’t the question we’re really asking ourselves, “What can I do with my time that’s of value?”

The magic ingredient

You KNOW when someone is ‘on purpose’. You can see it. You can feel it. It’s a very attractive energy to be around! When I thought of all the people I know who have this energy, I realised that their purpose is about giving, not getting. The magic ingredient sprinkled into everything they do is ‘contribution’.

The ripple effect

To me THIS is the most exciting thing about purpose. Not only can our purpose create a radical transformation for ourselves and our own life but also for the people who are part of our purpose.

That’s the ripple effect.

Expressing your purpose through business

For most of my clients, creating a ‘business’ is the way they choose to express their purpose. Their business is not their purpose – it’s a vehicle for their purpose. They build a business in order to deliver their purpose.

My purpose is helping women over 50 create their unique Plan P at the intersection of their passion, purpose potential and prosperity.

And my business is a vehicle for my purpose. In helping my clients use their skills, talents and experience to make a difference, make an impact and make a solid income, they create businesses which enable them to deliver THEIR purpose. The ripple effect in action.

Which brings us to the question we started with…

How do you find your purpose?

Well, you could type the question into Google in the hope that somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of answers that come up you’ll find the one that works for you! But it’s not a process I’d recommend because you might be looking for a very long time!

Purpose lives HERE

The thing is, your purpose isn’t ‘out there’ somewhere – it’s actually much, much closer to home than that. It’s a deeply personal thing and because it’s a deeply personal thing, it comes from within.

The good news is, it’s already there inside you – to find your purpose, you just need to dig deep and dig in the right place and start exploring how the threads of your unique experiences and perspectives weave together.

Here are a few ways you can get started:

  • Pay attention to the activities you gravitate toward in your free time. What do you most love doing that feels aligned, absorbing and enjoyable – the things you become so immersed in that you lose track of time? What part of you do they speak to?
  • What do people ask you for help with?  What do people compliment you on?
  • Make a list of people you most admire and then list their qualities. Chances are, you either already have those qualities, or you would like those qualities.. What can you do to cultivate them?
  • When you’re feeling most satisfied with your life, who are you with? What are you doing? What sort of environment are you in? What do those answers say about what’s important to you? And what can you do to bring about those conditions more often?
  • What have you struggled with in your life?  What challenges have you overcome? How can you make life better for others facing the same challenges now?
  • What do you stand for? What principles are most important to you?What would get you up on your soapbox? What do you stand against? What outrages you? What do you most want to change?

Everyone has a purpose within them

‘What is the purpose of my life?’ is as much an invitation as it a question – an invitation to reconnect. To reconnect with who you are and what gives you joy. To reconnect to the dreams and aspirations that are deeply important to you.

And as with anything that’s worthwhile, it does take effort. But the effort is an investment in what is arguably the most important reward available to us – the assurance that our lives matter.

Need a little help?

I fervently believe that if we ALL lived our purpose the world would be a better place.

If you need a helping hand with this, do check out my free Guide to Uncovering Your Purpose .

Using the acclaimed Ikigai framework, it gently guides you through a process to help you find that all-important inner clarity about who you are and what you uniquely have to offer.

UPDATE: I was recently invited to discuss the idea of ‘purpose’ and how it links to our well-being. You can catch the conversation here – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Over to you…

How about you? How do you define your purpose? Has your purpose evolved and changed? Or are you still searching? Leave me a comment below – as always, I’d love to hear from you.

The 3 R’s Process – Reflect, Review and Realign

I don’t think any of us could’ve imagined what lay ahead of us when the clock struck midnight on 31st December last year! 

It’s been a bumpy road for sure but thankfully we’ve made it through this far AND there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

I’m guessing that changes of some sort will be on your agenda for next year in part because it’s become clear that you need to do things differently. 

I know there are 101 things to do at this time of year but a little time spent thinking about your business NOW is time you won’t regret… which is more than can be said for all those mince pies!

When I say ‘thinking’ about your business, I don’t mean planning – I mean getting yourself ready to plan. There’s a distinct difference between the two!

I’m bang in the middle of what’s best described as my regular, ‘end of year reflections’ which requires a LOT of thinking about my business, along with a fair bit of dreaming, evaluating and THEN (and this is the good bit!) capturing all the useful bits in a simple, useable Year in Review* format. (*There’s a download link at the end of this blog if you’d like a copy!)

The whole process is a matter of gentle questioning:

How satisfied am I with the way things are going? What could I have done better? Do I feel on track and on purpose? What lessons can be learned? How do I best respond to what’s now calling me?

All of which combine to form one all-encompassing question:

What needs to change?

Because something always needs to change! I’ve never reached this place and thought, ‘well everything’s trucking along tickety-boo, so let’s just keep everything the same....’ Have you? No, I thought not – and there’s a very good reason for this.

WE are constantly evolving and changing

…..and because our business is a direct reflection of who we are, when WE change, it makes perfect sense for our business to do the same…. after all, as solo business owners, we ARE our brand!

Being in alignment is key

So I like to think of this reflective time of year as a natural opportunity to move both my self and my business back into alignment. But of course, to be able to do that, I’ve got to first identify exactly which bits are OUT OF of alignment – which bits no longer ‘fit’ and which bits have become pinch-points and which bits I need to let go of to make space for something new that DOES fit!

To actually get this information, I work through a process I refer to as the 3 R’s: Reflect, Review and Realign. (Catchy eh?)  Having worked through this process for a few years now, I can honestly say that it works for me every time.

The ABC principle

Awareness before change

The 3 R’s process is based on the ABC principle – Awareness Before Change. I’m not one to dwell on the past but if we don’t look back, how do we move forward? There’s an ENORMOUS amount to be learned from looking back over the last year, to help me get a real feel for what’s IN and OUT of alignment, so that I can make meaningful adjustments rather than blindly carrying on in situations that just aren’t working for me.

There are two parts to this awareness – heart awareness and head awareness.

Heart first

I’m with Michael Gerber all the way when he says,

“Traditional, head-centred, static business plans don’t work. A plan that starts in the head, with logic and reason and thoughts, lacks passion and excitement and purpose.”

I’m with you all the way on this one Michael!

The best way to reconnect with our all-important ‘passion, excitement and purpose’ is by doing some internal groundwork first…  by going ‘within’ and tapping into what’s calling and THEN get ready to respond to what excites and inspires.

I’m talking here about feelings. The feelings that tell you things have somehow moved out of sync. The feelings encouraging you to make a change in direction…. the feelings urging you to step up and create something completely new.

Never underestimate the power of your feelings!

Your feelings are precious indicators that can help inform your decisions about the way forward for you and your business.

It makes absolute sense to start with your feelings, with the emotional connections you have to your business because these are the things that connect you to your natural energy and to the brilliant vision you are trying to build.

It’s about taking some time to acknowledge the things you are grateful for and to focus on the abundance that is already present but often overlooked in your life and business – the things you enjoyed, the times when you where totally in flow and effortlessly in your element.

  • What went well?
  • What lit you up?
  • What felt easy and light?
  • Which activities felt most aligned with WHO you are?

And yes, you know already know what comes next…. it is just as important (if not even MORE important) to examine the outcomes that did NOT meet your expectations, so you can learn from them and help you make decisions on what needs to change

  • What caused you to feel most disappointed? Why?
  • What felt like an uphill struggle? Why?
  • What was it, specifically, that made it difficult?
  • Where did you feel you were just not ‘in sync’?
  • What no longer feels authentic?

The mindset piece….

I guess this is the bit that straddles BOTH heart awareness and head awareness and as we all know, often to our cost, the stuff that goes on INSIDE our head has an enormous effect on…. well, just about EVERYTHING!

Your thoughts and beliefs are incredibly powerful. They can take you to a place of positivity and empowerment or a place of devastating negativity and powerlessness. So no review could ever be complete without taking an objective look at what’s been going on inside your head and what effect that’s had on your actions (….or more likely, LACK of actions!)

  • Where have you become tangled in the ‘mindset weeds’?
  • How have fear, procrastination, self-doubt and perfectionism impacted on you?
  • What behaviours have tripped you up in the past year? How?
  • What techniques have helped you to quiet the voice of your inner critic?

Facts are feedback

The phrase ‘there is no failure, only feedback’ is one of those much quoted gems worth remembering here because the facts – good or not so good – will put you in a position of power. These facts, when combined with your intuition, will help you create strong, aligned decisions and solutions.

It’s time next to turn your attention to the tangible, evidence-based bits of your business and the measurements which are significant to your business growth – the audiences built, clients served, programmes run and the revenue generated from each of your services and products.

Amplify. Eliminate. Create.

One of the simplest, quickest and most useful exercises I know for getting a clear sense of what’s in and out of alignment is by reviewing the key areas of your business in turn, and running them through the ‘amplify, eliminate, create test’.

Take some time to work through the key areas of your business

  • Audience building/Client attraction
  • Adding value/Being of service
  • Marketing, visibility and promotions
  • Sales conversations
  • Programmes and services
  • Personal development

…..and for each area ask yourself:

  • What was satisfying and enjoyable in this area? What felt easy?
    AMPLIFY: Do more of them or improve them
  • What’s draining me in this area? What’s sapping my time and energy? What feels hard and is causing resentment and doubt?
    ELIMINATE: Let it go, outsource or do less of them
  • What’s missing here? Is there something I’m excited by, keen to make, do or try? What feels as if it has real potential?
    CREATE: Start doing these.

So, for example:

  • Maybe that opt-in you’ve been using is no longer resonating with your audience and it’s time to introduce a more aligned, more enticing resource.
  • Maybe your heart is no longer in running your Facebook Group and it’s sapping your time and energy so you decide to let it go.
  • Maybe you’ve been ‘hiding’ behind your laptop too much and it’s time to get visible by creating monthly videos for your community.
  • Maybe you realise how much you absolutely love group work and perhaps decide to introduce a Mastermind element to your services.

Personal reflections…

Having concluded my personal 3 R’s process, the biggest take-aways for me are these:

  • If it feels hard, feels misaligned, feels like a should rather than a want to, it’s probably not right for you
  • Business planning and strategy is really important but it’s not the place to start
  • Start with your feelings, your desires, your vision
  • Listen to the guide within first and foremost and follow your heart
  • Respond to what’s calling you
  • If what you’re doing doesn’t actually align with who you are, your results are likely to be short lived
  • Letting go of ways of being and doing that no longer serve you, opens up a space for something new

I feel a whole lot more in balance now that I’ve completed my 3 R’s and having reflected, reviewed and realigned, I know exactly where I most need to focus next year. Now I know the most important actions I want to take…. so planning is going to be a doddle!

Fancy trying this approach for yourself?

If you do, I guarantee it will be time well spent. A good place to start is by using the questions in this blog as journaling prompts – journaling is one of the BEST ways of having a deep and meaningful internal dialogue with yourself!

Then, when you’re ready, download 2020 A Year in Review’ and use the sheets to capture the essence of your thoughts in a format that’s easy to ‘see’ and access – I find using bullet points works really well. Et voila, you will then have a simple, useful big-picture overview of your past year – a vantage point from which you’ll be well-placed to make informed decisions for the year ahead.

And as always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Making the Most of Your PMZ? (Post Menopausal Zeal)

If anyone had told me during the menopause that I could look forward to experiencing a shot of ‘post-menopausal zest’ once I made it to ‘the other side’, it would have given me some much needed optimism to help me through!

Although to be fair, I may not have paid much attention to the possibility because at the time it seemed an unlikely prospect!

It’s been called post menopausal zest, post menopausal zeal and even post menopausal zing… but no matter what you call it, it is without doubt a wonderfully powerful phenomenon, which for the purpose of this blog, I’ll be referring to as PMZ for short!

Even though it’s something that’s been recognised and well documented for over 60 years, it’s not exactly a common topic of conversation – although why that’s still the case is beyond me!

Even if you haven’t heard of it, if you’re a woman over 50 you’ll have certainly experienced it – and there are plenty of women in public life, too, who seem to abound with PMZ – just think Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, or Angela Merkel, to name but a few!

A physical and psychological surge of energy

It’s that special time of life when many of us emerge from the ‘menopause tunnel’ blinking into the light, with a renewed sense of vitality and energy, accompanied by a desire to do something different and to make a difference in the world.… a time when we discover an inner life force that knows no bounds. Bring it on!

post menopausal zest

The term post menopausal zest was coined in the 1950’s by the legendary American anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said:

“There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a post menopausal woman.”

And, speaking as a post menopausal woman who works exclusively with other post menopausal women, I think she’s absolutely right!

A time of positive change

Heaven knows, we’re all well aware of the physical changes associated with this life stage but far less is said about the changes we experience once we emerge the other side of the transition – freer, clearer and more confident – when things like passion, purpose and potential suddenly move to the top of the agenda.

It’s a completely natural life transition – a liberation and a transformation – that results in a significant shift in how we see ourselves and what we want for ourselves.

The start of a dynamic new life stage

PMZ can kick-start a brand new chapter of our lives where, for the first time in a very long while, we have the opportunity to prioritise ourselves rather than being driven to nurture everyone else.  It’s a chance to focus on and take ownership of what matters to US – our needs, our dreams and our priorities. An opportunity to take stock and start exploring new possibilities and new ways to live a bigger, bolder, happier life. It’s what creating Plan P is all about.

As a coach and mentor to women in their 50’s and beyond, I know – and they know – they have so much still to offer. I also know how incredibly exasperating it can be to have all this PMZ coursing through your veins and not know what to DO with it!

Because I felt it too.

And I can remember all too well the sheer frustration at not being able to channel my energy in a way that would allow me to ‘do my thing’ and make a difference – my difference- in the world. Consequently, I spent years trying to find my thing before finally having the big realisation that I’d been looking in all the wrong places. I am now on a mission to help others short cut this journey by looking in the right places from the outset so that they can shine their light, make a contribution and share their purpose with the world, especially now, at a time when this has never been more needed.

So, are you noticing a shift in priorities in your own life?

  • Are you feeling an increasingly urge to follow your own star?
  • Have you felt a growing confidence to try things you once thought impossible?
  • Do you have a strong desire to make the absolute most of the next half on your life?
  • Have you found the courage to explore new horizons or start new adventures?

I’d absolutely love to hear from you in the comments below. It’s time we let our younger sisters know what a treat they have in store.

And if you’re not there yet, where would you like your PMZ to take you…. what possibilities would you like to explore?

If you’re ready to start gently opening up to possibilities, a Power Hour session is a great way to explore where and how you can add your unique value and be of service to others. Book yours and let’s see if we can get the ball rolling.

Now is your time.