The power of purpose
Lorna Jane Clarkson said that, the fitness instructor come activewear designer whose empire now spans 200 stores across the globe. Her brand works by igniting a spark deep down within women the world over – it inspires them to live their best lives through active living and the daily practice of Lorna’s own mantra: Move Nourish Believe.
In short, it gives them a sense of purpose. And having a purpose, is crucial.
Studies have shown that living with a clearly defined sense of purpose not only makes us more resilient, but increases life satisfaction and improves our life expectancy – regardless of what age you are when you uncover your sense of direction. And I get it, why it can have that effect on us. Because having a purpose gives us something to long for, an end goal to focus on when times get tough and an overall reason for being.
I’ve had my share of tough times, including when my first marriage ended or whenever I’ve moved towns. I felt without direction and found myself wondering if I should do this or that, turn left or right, or keep going straight ahead? I was emotional and unhappy; I chose to be negative and didn’t have a sense of just being content in my life. I woke up every day feeling lost.
There were two specific life experiences that helped me find my purpose – firstly working in an orphanage in Kurungala, Sri Lanka, as well as spending time in remote Aboriginal communities. During this time my ambition to make a difference in people’s lives became paramount. Then more fuel was added to that fire when my own two sons joined us earthside – they fill me up with this unwavering desire to be the very best version of my own self.
But it doesn’t always have to be a life-changing experience or the birth of a child that helps you uncover what you’re here to do. If you’re looking for that sense of purpose, begin by defining what it is you value most – your family, peace, excellence or your faith. From there think about what you would want to be known for and how you would want to be remembered if you left this earth tomorrow. Write it down. Write down every goal, dream and aspiration you’d ever considered for yourself and try to remind yourself of it every morning. This has always helped me to remain focused on the things that are most important to me.
It can be a daunting, overwhelming conversation to have with yourself. In fact there are many spiritual disciplines out there that offer a framework to help followers define their life’s purpose – they take comfort not only in that structure, but in the belief that there’s a higher power out there with a set purpose for them in mind. I cannot urge you to read into this, fill your mind with it. Reading is a huge source of inspiration for me so I make time for it on a daily basis. You don’t have to take everything as gospel, but you might just find something or someone out there that speaks to your core values. From there, your purpose will grow. Because regardless of any particular spiritual tradition or philosophical base, there’s enormous psychological value in having a clearly defined, customised purpose. Once we’ve found our goals and intentions, opportunities to achieve our purpose will start to show up – perhaps they were there all along, we just weren’t looking in the right places.
What else helps? My career. It’s offered me structure and an opportunity to lead and inspire on a daily basis. But I couldn’t do that without my support network either. Be it in the form of your partner or your family, supporting your body by eating well and exercising often, or supporting your mind by listening to motivational stories and building on your expertise. Whatever form it takes, follow it, trust in it, draw strength from it and use it to pursue your purpose. Because that’s when it all comes together and you wake up not feeling lost, but excited about the day ahead.
So from one strong woman to another – let’s keep our eyes peeled for each other. Let’s work hard, build each other up and proudly build bright future filled with purpose.
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