What is your purpose?

I find this question frustrating as it suggests that some beautifully formed statement has been lounging in the recesses of my mind, just waiting for someone to call it forth. And that if I really thought hard enough, I’d be able to squeeze it out of my brain, like toothpaste.

It also assumes that I have a purpose, or that I want one. What if I’m just happy living my life, day-day without any notion of purpose? I’m playing devil’s advocate, anyone who knows me is likely rolling on the floor at this moment laughing hysterically at the notion of me quietly getting along with life.

There is evidence however that health benefits are associated, if not directly attributable to a sense of purpose. Stanford psychologist William Damon  defines purpose as,

A stable and generalised intention to accomplish something that is at once meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self.

After much grappling with these concepts, I’ve decided that my purpose, is simply my best guess at the point of me being on this big rock: the thing(s) I’m good at, that people tell me they find useful, and that seem to lead to better things in the world, or at least my part of the world (I’ll admit ‘purpose’ is catchier)

On this basis, my purpose is to be someone that other people are comfortable having brave conversations with. The types of conversations you might not relish the thought of, but help you tease things out and move forward. This isn’t just something I do in my work as a coach or a physio, it shows up in how I parent, in my close relationships and friendships. It’s a common thread in all that I do.

And then there is this idea of having a mission. For me, a mission is the thing you’re currently doing, which makes good use of your purpose. In this part of my life, my mission is,

To create a network of support for clinicians, so that they might have fulfilling careers and be pioneers for a more compassionate and sustainable healthcare system.

There are a couple of things I need to keep an eye on whilst I’m on this mission, you’d probably call them values. These are,


Absolute honesty

Staying open to what people are telling me

And finally, to stay true to these values, there are some basic things I need for myself.


Alone time

Time in nature

Trusted friends who are up for the conversations I need to have

Sources of inspiration (books, films, poems, music)

Regular opportunities to practice speaking honestly and openly

Sometimes, I let things slip. I don’t get enough sleep, I allow work to take over time that could be spent in nature, or belly laughing with friends, I stop reading novels. And its okay for a while, the world keeps turning and from the outside it seems like business as usual. But eventually I notice that I stop speaking so honestly. I second guess my opinions. I get small.

The remedy is straight forward. Look at what’s fallen by the wayside and put it back in. It’s not complicated but it does require a bit of thought to first establish what you need, a bit of self-compassion to ask or create time for those things you need, and a bit of humility to recognise that this is something you will work on again and again.

Purpose, mission and values can sound like lofty concepts. I think this is a classic case of look after the small stuff (your basic needs) and the rest is more likely to fall into place. Or as a client recently put it, these things are not the cherry on the cake, they’re the bloody cake!

Our connection with others can only be as deep as our connection with ourselves. If I don’t understand what I want, need, and believe, I can’t share myself with you. I need to be connected with myself, in my own body, and learning what makes me work. This is how I start to develop the grounded confidence I need to move through the world and cultivate meaningful connection with others. Before this work, I didn’t give enough importance to spending time and energy connecting to myself. I made that optional if I had anything left after connecting with others. It wasn’t working, now I know why. (Brene Brown)

Do you have a sense of what your purpose might be? Maybe you’re crystal clear, maybe you have no idea.

Is there something you’d like to be creating in the world?

How can you best stay fit for that?

Where do you start connecting with yourself?

If you’re interested in these ideas and you’d like clarity on what you need, join my webinar ‘Fit For Your Purpose’

Lots of love


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For general enquiries, booking information or anything else please email jo@mehab.co.uk and I'll get back to you asap. Alternatively you can book a call with me here.