Are You Living Your Purpose?
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image by W Brian Duncan

As part of the Get Connected to a Healthy Community initiative, CoxHealth hosted a Purpose Workshop last week. Finding your purpose, your “plan de vida”, is one of the Power 9 – The Blue Zones lessons to living a longer and healthier life. The Purpose Workshop was an offshoot of the regular monthly meeting due to the overwhelming interest in the subject.

As we ate breakfast, we were asked to think how we would introduce ourselves to the group as though it was 20 years from now.

I am a health coach and wellness speaker. I work with a small group of personal training clients but I spend most of my time doing workshops on fitness and nutrition and writing. My husband, who I have been married to for almost 25 years, and I love to travel. We’ve been to every continent, except Antarctica, twice.

That was my introduction. It’s not so different than things are today. I train clients mostly. I do some speaking and wellness workshops, but I want to do more. I am working on a new EBook for release at the end of this year or the beginning of next. I travel as schedule and funds allow. I left out my love of tea and my desire to own some sort of tea related business. Despite the omission, my answer let me know I am on the right track. I am indeed living my purpose.

For the next hour and a half, we talked about the power of purpose and why it’s so important to live with intention. Not only does living with purpose add years to your life (7 years say the studies) but it adds life to your years. It brings us joy. It brings us balance. It brings us those moments of FLOW that keep us committed when following our passion gets rough.

Do you know what your purpose is? Are you living your purpose? Here’s a nice reality check that Dr. Baker, the workshop facilitator, asked us to do. She gave us 10 yellow sticky notes and asked us to write down the 10 most important things in our life. Then we were asked to order the notes, 1-10, with 1 being the most important. Finally, she wanted us to take a moment to reflect on this list and share with a partner how closely this list (and order) reflected how we spend our days. Here is my list:

  1. Brian (my husband)
  2. Mom
  3. My Health and Fitness
  4. My Nephews
  5. My Clients
  6. Books
  7. Friends
  8. Tea
  9. Learning
  10. Travel

Here’s reality: I spend more time with my clients during the week than I do with Brian. But to be fair, he is working too. Our schedules just don’t mesh the way they did when I still worked an 8-5 kind of job. But spending time doing what I love makes me a better (and more tolerable) person when we can be together. Also, after burning the candle at both ends the first two years in business, I have learned how to set boundaries and make better use of my time. This has allowed us to do more things together (like travel, Pancake Sunday, Movie Night and taking regular walks).

Another honest moment: I had a hard time with the placement of tea and friends. One, I really love tea. Two, I don’t have a lot of “in real life” friends. I have many acquaintances who I enjoy spending time with. I cannot say we’re close enough that I would feel comfortable calling on them in a crisis. My best friend lives in another city. I am sad to report I get very busy and don’t call or text her the way I should. I don’t visit her often enough.

My health and fitness did make the top three. That is firmly in line with how I live my day. I make time for my own workouts. I cook, plan and pack my food for the every day. I take my blood sugar 6-9 times a day to keep my diabetes in check.

While my purpose is clear perhaps my priorities need an adjustment. This is why I go to workshops like this one. It helps me check in with myself and make sure I am living the life I wish to live not the one the rest of the world thinks I should.

What about you? When was the last time you checked in with yourself? Do you know your purpose? Try the exercises I did. How would you (hope) to introduce yourself in 20 years? What are your 10 most important things? How do they stack up against how you spend your time?

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