The metaphor of running on empty conveyed meaning long before Jackson Browne made the words iconic with the title track to his 1977 album. The song reminds us that too often we can be running blind, going through the motions instead of living a life of purpose.
Many people are searching for purpose in their lives, for meaning. They desire to make a difference on their own terms.
Having a guiding purpose is about more than working or achieving. It’s about living a life of meaning that is personally fulfilling. It’s about what you do when you aren’t working and how you feel about that. It’s about relationships – how you connect with others who are important to you; your family and friends. It’s about how you get your energy and keep your tank full for the long haul.
So, where do you start when you find yourself running on empty? Do you a) complain and do nothing, or b) take action? The obvious answer is b) take action. The good news for those who decide to act is there are terrific resources on the web and in print about identifying, pursuing and living your purpose. There are even apps for this now! Coaching also can be a very effective means to help you identify and align with your purpose.
Helping clients determine their core values and define their purpose is a key part of the coaching process. In fact, it begins most successful coaching engagements. Each person is unique, and coaches often use a discovery process to understand the values, desires, strengths, gifts and other factors that bring the most fulfillment to their clients. Coaches help clients identify what’s most important to them and help them visualize what’s possible in the future based on their values and purpose.
Some people have the perspective that a life purpose needs to be something huge, but it need not be so big that it seems impossible to fulfill. It can be part of our everyday experience. For example, consider the tremendously positive effect on students and gratification found in work and life for a teacher whose purpose is, “I am the spark that ignites learning in the classroom.”
Living your values and having a purpose that provides context propels you because you are driven by something greater than the day-to-day. You have a reason to get up in the morning and move forward with authenticity. You’ll notice a new energy and others will also see a new, more engaging version of you. In the process, you’ll likely find people who support your purpose and join you on your journey. You’ll no longer be running on empty.
How can coaching help you identify your purpose and achieve what’s next?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is an executive coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Find out more about Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at oppnacoaching.com