life on purpose process, peace,

There is something that we all have that I personally feel is one of our most valued and cherished treasures. It’s peace of mind, and when I use that phrase, I also include peace of heart. I often refer to both as my spiritual serenity. I so value it that I’ve given it a revered position as the last thing I say in my life purpose statement:

My life on purpose is to live an inspired and inspiring life of purposeful, passionate and playful service, a life of mindful abundance balanced with simplicity, and SPIRITUAL SERENITY. There it is — ahhhhh. I often take a deep breath after saying that as a way to deepen my connection and awareness to this state of spiritual serenity, this peace of mind, this connection to the cosmic consciousness and creator of this incredible cosmos within which we live.

Is there anything more important than our peace of mind? Yet, how often do we trade something less for this most valued treasure? I walk into my daughter’s room in the morning to find her dog has chewed up another one of her shoes, and at that moment, I have a choice IF I choose to take it. Often I don’t take that moment of choice, but instead, operate in reaction mode. That d— dog! Why can’t Amber put away her shoes? Boy, did I do this when I put the dog in her room last night? On and on. Yet, the good news is that the moment of choice is still there. At any given moment, I can notice that I’ve sold out on my peace of mind, and in the next moment, I can trade back.

A deep breath and slowly let it out. I acknowledge the trade I have made, and I forgive myself. I take another deep breath, as I realize in the Big Picture of this incredible cosmos, a chewed shoe is just a chewed shoe, and hardly worth another moment of my peace of mind. I take one more deep breath for good measure, and I go about cleaning up the debris … And begin working on how I can break the news to Amber in a way to minimize the amount of peace of mind she may lose.

Peace of mind. Don’t leave home without it and don’t trade it for anything less than more of the same.

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Living a life on purpose may also include considering what you are prepared to leave behind. What do you want to be known for when you’re ‘gone?’ When you’re no longer in the business you’re in when you’re no longer in the ‘limelight’, what will people remember you for?

Consider this example, which comes from CBS’s Sunday Morning about J. M. Barrie, the author of ‘Peter Pan.’

When Jim Barrie wrote the Peter Pan, it became an instant sensation in print, on stage, and on the silent screen, and royalties came pouring into the author, who, although he loved children, had none of his own. So when he died, James Barrie left it all to one of the earliest pediatric hospitals in London, Great Ormond Street.

Over the decades, the royalties have continued to flow from remake after remake of the beloved tale. The money has helped keep Great Ormond Street on the cutting edge of pediatric care.

‘James Barrie gave his copyright to the hospital and it was the most generous gift anyone could have done,’ hospital spokesperson, Laura Redmond told Sunday Morning contributor Elizabeth Palmer as she pointed out the plaque in Barrie’s memory in the hospital chapel.’

Pretty amazing story, right? But it gets even better as the legacy continues. You see next year, the copyright on ‘Peter Pan’ runs out and so the royalties will dwindle. What to do? Well, the hospital organized a contest to find an author who could write the sequel to ‘Peter Pan’ and they found her in the form of Geraldine McCaughrean.

‘Of course when I got the job – oh, oh I’ve got to find time to write this book,’ she said. ‘I’ve got to really, really write the sequel to ‘Peter Pan,’ but luckily it just seized me by the heart and um, just swallowed me in.’

And so, J. M. Barrie’s legacy continues as Geraldine McCaughrean’s begins. What will be your legacy? How will your life purpose live beyond you?

Questions worth pondering, perhaps even as you bring further clarity of purpose to your life.

Business plan, working on life, Life On Purpose Process

“Our first challenge is to answer the question, ‘How should I spend my energy in a way that is consistent with my deepest values?’ The consequence of living our lives at warp speed is that we rarely take the time to reflect on what we value most deeply or to keep these priorities front and center. Most of us spend more time reacting to the immediate crisis and responding to the expectations of others than we do making considered choices guided by a clear sense of what matters most.” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement

One of my favorite business distinctions that originally came from Michael Gerber of E-Myth fame is captured in the question, “Are you spending all your time working in your business so you have no time to work on your business?” By working with this distinction between working in a business vs. working on the business for a number of years with my clients, I realized that much the same is true in our personal lives.

Are you spending so much time caught up in the busyness of your life that you devote little or no time working on your life? As the quote from Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz points out, most of us spend time in reaction mode to the circumstances around us and what others expect from us. We’re all too familiar with what it means to be caught up in the busyness of our lives, but what does ‘working on our lives’ look like? Well, here are a few examples.

Design Your Year

Over 10 years ago, Ann and I decided to devote time at the end of our year to design what we wanted our next year to be like. We started with a popular coaching tool known as the Wheel of Life exercise and then looked at each area of life in detail. It worked so well that we vowed to continue it each year. Spending quality time with your loved ones envisioning what you want in your life is highly leveraged ‘working on your life’ time.

Weekly or Monthly ‘Life Meetings’

Once you have a plan for your year, it’s important to schedule time throughout the year to be sure the plan is being implemented. These weekly or monthly ‘life meetings’ will help you stay on track as well as helping to keep your vision for that year in your awareness. The more aware you are of your vision the more easily you attract all the resources to you that you need for the vision to become real.

Working with a Life Coach

I truly believe that one of the reasons life coaching is growing in popularity is that being in such a coaching relationship ‘compels’ us to carve out time to work on our lives. This is highly leveraged time because not only are you focusing on your life, you are doing so with an experienced coach who can assist you to stay focused and on track.

Group coaching can be another powerful structure for fulfillment, in that you bring the combined energy of an aligned group to bear. That’s one of the reasons I included the Group Coaching Telegatherings into the Life On Purpose Community structure. I’ve witnessed through the years the incredible added power that working in a group setting provides. Besides, traveling along the Purposeful Path with others is a lot more fun. 🙂

Clarify Your True Purpose

As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz point out in their book, The Power of Full Engagement, “Connecting to a deep set of values and creating a compelling vision fuels a uniquely high-octane source of energy for change. It also serves as a compass for navigating the storms that inevitably arise in our lives.” Not surprising, one’s core values and vision for what’s possible are two of the key ingredients that make up a life purpose, so one of the highest leveraged activities you can do is to invest the time in becoming crystal clear about your true life purpose.

Significant Transitions Start with Significant Transformations

Designing your life to be a true and consistent reflection of your true life purpose is a significant transition that can often take 1 to 3 years or longer. But the journey becomes much easier when it starts with an inner transformation. In fact, I believe all truly great transitions that really work and flow with relative ease and grace start with an inner transformation, like the transformation of becoming clear about your life purpose and also uncovering the ‘saboteur’ of your Inherited Purpose that often keeps us from living on purpose.

Business Deal, Handshake, Life on purpose process

‘The primary purpose of an organization is not to make a profit. It is to help human beings grow, express their creativity, contribute their life-source and make the world a better place. The purpose of an organization is to inspire the soul.’ Leadership expert and Fortune 500 Business Consultant, Lance Secretan What does it mean to build a Business On Purpose? What role does a person’s life purpose have to do with building a business?

Let’s start with a visual metaphor. Have you ever seen a skyscraper being built? If so, you may have noticed that it often takes weeks, or months after constructions starts before any construction is visible above ground. That’s because it’s important the building be built upon a solid foundation, and the same is true for a Business On Purpose. In this case, the foundation is clarity of purpose, which is made up of 3 components:

** Being crystal clear about you true, divinely inspired purpose

** Knowing and recognizing what shapes your life when it’s not being shaped by your true purpose

** Committing to designing a life that is a reflection of your true purpose

Just a few quick purposeful pointers on these. Remember, from the Life On Purpose Perspective your life purpose isn’t about what you ‘DO’ but is more of who you are as a spiritual being and what you came here to experience. Once you really tap into this overarching meaning for your life, it has the power to shape and form all of your life, which includes all that you do. Then the doing, like work, becomes your way of expressing who you are.

What often keeps people from really tapping into this power of purpose, is the ‘fear, lack and struggling to make it’ force that I call the Inherited Purpose. That’s why it’s so important to uncover your Inherited Purpose so you can see it as it’s beginning to shape your life and can be responsible for it and not have it bump you off purpose.

When you do, you can authentically commit to designing your life to be a reflection of your true purpose, including at work. So, this is the foundation upon which a Business On Purpose is built. And since a key ingredient of one’s true, divinely inspired life purpose is Universal Love, when you design your business on purpose, you end up loving your work, which often attracts other people who want to share in that love. Why? Well, as we’ll learn in the next installment of this series when you know your life purpose with crystal clarity, you have the means to tap into a wellspring of passion. So, stay tuned. In the meantime, let me ask you a couple of questions.
Q: When you look at your experience at your place of business with the notion that your work is either being shaped by your true purpose which is founded in Universal Love, or it’s shaped by your Inherited Purpose which is based in fear/lack struggle, what do you feel is shaping most of your work life?
Q: If you knew your true purpose with crystal clarity, and also were able to recognize when your Inherited Purpose was shaping your life, what difference do you feel this could make in your experience at work this next week?

Patience & Persistence ,Spider

“Purposeful Patience & Persistence: The process of staying on purpose and balancing the realization that bringing a new level of purposeful living into your life takes time, and at the same time staying persistently inaction towards the fulfillment of your Purpose Projects.” ~~ From Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life by Dr. Brad Swift

I recently had a new client come to a coaching call frustrated with herself for not having been more on purpose since clarifying her life purpose during a Living & Working On Purpose Retreat that her place of business had sponsored for their employees.

“I know how valuable the work we did was, and I just don’t want to lose it, but over the past few weeks I feel it slipping away,” she shared, and I could hear the anxiety and frustration in her voice.

I asked her, “How old are you?” To which she replied, “27.”

“And how much of those 27 years would you say the fear, lack, and struggle of your Inherited Purpose has shaped much of those years?

“Probably about 25 years,” she replied.

“And how long have you been clear about your life purpose and your Inherited Purpose?”

“About a month,” she replied a bit sheepishly.

“Then, do you think you could give yourself a break? You’re just now beginning the process of designing your life to be a reflection of your true purpose. It takes some time and continual dedication.”

And this is where the Power Tool for Living On Purpose of Purposeful Patience and Persistence can pay big dividends. Here’s the definition of this power tool: The process of staying on purpose and balancing the realization that bringing a new level of purposeful living into your life takes time, and at the same time staying persistently inaction towards the fulfillment of your Purpose Projects.

I can understand my client’s frustration. It’s a factor of our culture that says we should have everything immediately if not sooner. But becoming masterful at living on purpose takes time. As George Leonard writes in his classic, Mastery: the Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment: “The modern world can be viewed as a prodigious conspiracy against mastery. We’re continually bombarded with promises of immediate gratification, instant success, and fast, temporary relief, all of which leads in exactly the wrong direction.” That is, away from the path of mastery.”

So, for all of you traveling along the Purposeful Path, whether you are using the Life On Purpose Process as your roadmap or not, please ‘GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.’ Practice a little purposeful patience and persistence, and love yourself along the way.

Professional Burn Out, Life on purpose process

Even though I had wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 7-years old, after 12 years in practice, I found myself at the point I didn’t know if I could stand another day in the office. I was frustrated, tired and worn out by the constant stresses of practice that included staffing headaches, client turnover, and financial strains. On top of it all, the stresses at work were having a profoundly negative influence on my personal life.

I felt disjointed and disconnected from those I most cared about. My life was out of balance and nearly out of control. The pain of burnout became so bad that I started abusing alcohol and drugs in an effort to numb myself so I could make it through another day. I even contemplated suicide before I finally woke up and realized the practice of veterinary medicine didn’t have to be so hard and unrewarding. In fact, life itself didn’t need to be such a struggle. It was at that point I finally sought help, and with that help, I turned, not only my practice around, but also my life.

The 4 Facets of Burn Out

Professional burn out is a growing concern in many business settings. There’s no question that work offers many challenges that can leave the most dedicated person as burned out like an overcooked French fry. National statistics suggest that many people are being adversely affected by the stresses of their jobs.

According to data collected by the Gallup Organization in 2001, less than 30 percent of American workers are fully engaged at work, and 55 percent are “not engaged,” while another 19 percent are “actively disengaged,” meaning not just that they are unhappy at work, but they are regularly sharing those feelings with their colleagues.

These statistics suggest to me that at least 1 out of every 5 people at work is in some advanced stage of burnout. Burn out is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual shut down and exhaustion usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. It’s like trying to run a car with a dead battery, with no water or oil in the engine, and no fuel in the tank. Let’s look closer at the four inter-related facets of burnout.

In a state of burnout, you are often physically exhausted and frequently overwhelmed by work and life in general, which complicates matters because it increases the chances of stress-related illnesses. Mentally, you may experience confusion, a lack of clarity and often an overall negative attitude. Emotionally, you may become depressed, frustrated, resigned, fearful and angry, while spiritually you feel disconnected, empty, wondering if this is all there is to life.

You can think of each of these four facets of burnout as a different colored string, with the four strands wound together in a tangled gnarl. The question is where do you start to unravel the knot of professional burnout. Here are a few strategies that others have found to be effective.

Physical, Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

A typical sign that you’re in this stage is that there’s simply nothing left of you at the end of the day.  You’re used up, finding yourself vegged out in front of the TV, perhaps with a bowl of your favorite ice cream or a couple of beers.  You’re suffering from a case of “brain strain” and it’s beginning to show in your work, and in your self-esteem.

Shame and Doubt

In this next stage you begin to doubt yourself, second-guessing your choices and decisions.  You may even begin to think that you chose the wrong line of work.  As Gorkin says, “You’re not feeling confident about the future; and you’re feeling pretty lousy in the present. Not surprisingly, you may even start discounting your past accomplishments. Beware…This is not a logical process; it’s a psychological one.” Left unchecked, this stage can quickly devolve into the third phase.

Cynicism and Callousness

In this stage people often develop an “attitude” as a way to protect themselves from others.  By developing an abrasive or obnoxious attitude, you train people to avoid you. Unfortunately, some of the people who end up avoiding you can be your staff members and your clients.  Again, this is not a sound strategy for growing a successful business.

Failure, Helplessness and Crisis

In this final stage, you find yourself in a “Catch-22” of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” You’ve been trying to win a marathon by running full out the whole way, and you now find yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally burned out.

If you find yourself heading down this path to burnout, there are some simple and effective strategies you can use to start yourself on the road to recovery.

S. T. O. P.

S. T. O. P. is an acronym for a powerful strategy that can be used in stressful situations, and that can help you prevent or recover from burnout. The steps are:

S ¬ Step Back

T ¬ Think

O ¬ Organize your thoughts

P ¬ Proceed

Taking such STOPS on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to recover from the stresses that build up at work

Ignite Your Passion Through Purpose

Schedule a weekend or longer STOP devoted to getting back in touch with your purpose for going into practice in the first place. Look beyond just he financial motivation.  Look deeper to see how practice is consistent with your core values

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Many practitioners aren’t naturally skilled at delegating and end up trying to do everything, including a lot of the details like paper work, scheduling, payroll, etc.  Make a list of the detail work that you find unpleasant, and then either delegate it to one of your employees or hire a new person to take it over.

Seek Assistance and Support

Don’t try to be ‘Macho Man’ or “Super Woman.”  Reach out for support either in the form of a trusted friend, personal coach, or therapist.  Burn out is not something to take lightly.  It can be a killer.  Treat it with respect by seeking assistance.

Burnout is not something to ignore. It can have devastating effects on your life and those around you, and as with many things, becoming aware of the issue is the first step to rekindling your life.


Crawl, Walk, Run Fly, Life on purpose process

One of the principles I operate from in my coaching practice is that you can only coach people where they’re at. So, it’s important to find out where people are in their life so we’ll know where to start with the coaching. For example, if I’m coaching someone in their life purpose I have them fill out a short questionnaire which includes the following “life purpose scale:”

___ I have no idea what my purpose in life is, not a clue.
___ I have a vague idea what my life purpose might be but I need to be much clearer.
___ I have a fairly good idea what my life purpose is.
___ I am clear what my life purpose is but I’m not living true to it.
___ I am certain of my life purpose and about 25% of the time I’m living true to it.
___ I am certain of my life purpose and about 50% of the time I’m living true to it.
___ I am certain of my life purpose and about 75% of the time I’m living true to it.
___ I am certain of my life purpose and I’m living true to it 100% of the time.
___ I don’t appear to fit anywhere on the scale. Please explain:

It’s easy to see that it would be difficult to coach somebody in living true to their life purpose at the 75% level if where they are on the scale is that they haven’t a clue what their life purpose is.

I have recently seen a new facet of this coaching principle in operation. I call it the “crawl, walk, run, fly” principle. As children, we all had to learn how to crawl before we could walk, then run and eventually fly, as in fly or soar through life. Sometimes, people want to skip one or more steps, but this doesn’t work too well.

But in real life what does crawling, walking, running and flying look like? Well, the crawling stage is the stage in which we handle our basic survival needs; things like food, clothing, shelter, companionship, etc. It’s the stage where we building a basic foundation of financial integrity. I believe it was Mother Teresa who said that people can’t spend much time contemplating about the state of their soul on an empty stomach, or something like that. We have to learn how to handle these basics needs before we can go to the next step which is working on our wants and desires.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having wants and desires. After all, most of us do. They are the spice of life. However, if you spend all your time focused on your wants and desires without handling your basic survival needs, you’ll run into trouble.

The same is true if you ignore your wants and desires and try to go straight to flying which I equate as the level of self-actualization or enlightenment. This doesn’t mean that every whim, no matter how small or fleeting of thought, needs to be materialized before moving on. No, just the basic wants and desires. Those that are really important to us.

Life on Purpose, Soul, Starvation Diet,

Remember, the old adage about how important it is to “eat three square meals a day?” While I’ve never quite figured out what a square meal is, I do know that the main point is that, if we want to stay physically healthy, we need to feed our bodies a healthy diet on a regular basis.

Pop quiz time. (Don’t worry, it’s an easy question to answer.) On average, how many times a day do you eat?

Your answer goes here:

Now, if you’re like most people, you probably answered somewhere between 2 – 4 times per day. In other words, we all know that we need to eat on a regular basis to keep our bodies fed and fit.

But how about your soul — your spirit — your ‘beingness?’ Are you regularly taking time to feed it or do you have your soul on a starvation diet?

We all have heard about the ‘body-mind-spirit’ triad and how all three of these aspects of ourselves are interconnected — a bit like the 3 legs of a stool. In just the same way, if one of those ‘legs’ is getting the short end of the stick in the area of nurturing and nourishing, then you’re going to end up out of balance — may be a little, maybe a lot.

Now I’m going to make a bold assertion so hang on (and keep reading) —

“Many people in our Western Culture are significantly out of kilter when it comes to the degree to which they nourish and nurture their soul/spirit/being.”

Now, granted my viewpoint may be a bit slanted. After all, a lot of my work is with people who are either overwhelmed, overworked, burned out and/or who have lost their sense of purpose and meaning. So, granted I’m likely to see more than my share of emaciated souls.


The Cost of a Starved Spirit

I have a long term client who has also become a friend over the 15-plus years we’ve known each other. We recently resumed a coaching relationship in part because of the challenge of dealing with some health issues with a family member, coupled with a severe dry spell in his business.

Though he’d been one of the most successful real estate brokers in his region for the past several years, he’d been experiencing a dry spell like never before. He was trapped in a vicious cycle of worry — worry about his family member’s health issues, which adversely affected his effectiveness at work, which led to more worry about his work slump.

All of which led to his feeling like he needed to work even longer hours to make up for the lost revenue, thus escalating the downward spiral.

Meanwhile, his soul/spirit/being was starving for nourishment.


Why Vacations Often Don’t Restore the Soul

Unfortunately, many people, when they are feeling a bit frazzled about their life, use a strategy that can make matters worse — they take a vacation.

How many times have you heard someone returning from their vacation comment that they now need a vacation to recover from their vacation because, once again, they tried to cram too many activities into their time off? And, as if that’s not bad enough, they often then return to a massive amount of work that was put on hold pending their return. Urgh.

No wonder we Americans take the fewest vacation days of any group in the world. So what does work?


Creating a Balanced Diet for Your Soul

After discerning that my friend/client’s soul was starving for some nourishment, I asked him what he felt would be a balanced diet that could revive his spirit. Here’s the list we created:

1- Sharing compassion and love with others

2- Times of quiet serenity (without feeling guilty about not being at work)

3. Quiet time to read, write, and exercise (mostly alone)

4. Time for some adventure and exploration (parts of his true life purpose that had been being ignored) 5. Time with the family for traveling.


The Good News — The Turnaround is in Process

While my client’s spirit isn’t fully rested and restored yet, there has been steady progress. He informed me during a recent coaching session that he’s closed on his first sale in quite a while with others pending. And interestingly, the family member with the health crisis is beginning to improve as well.