Unfortunately, the above statement is far from reality for many people. In my practice as an executive coach, I largely find three types of clients: people that are in careers that drain them, provide little fulfillment and no answer to the question “What is my purpose?”. I also have clients that do enjoy their work, but wrestle mightily with work life/balance. They want to accelerate their careers, but don’t know how to find the time or energy to do so without sacrificing their personal/home lives. Lastly, I see clients that are in a life transition, facing recent circumstances such as loss of job or divorce, which will require them to reinvent their lives, trying to find that elusive purpose and fulfillment again.
How is it that so many people are left unfulfilled and/or struggling to lead holistic, balanced lives? The root cause for many is that, as young people, the choice of initial career path is based on external considerations. What career will best support a desired lifestyle? What career path do their parents want them to pursue? What job will give them admiration from their peers? Because of these external influences, many people choose an initial career path that isn’t really connected to their true values and interests. As the years go by, the disconnect between their core passions/interests and the job becomes more obvious—with increasing discontent and frustration–but it gets seemingly harder to make a career change. Others do choose a career early in their lives that is aligned with their inner most values and beliefs. But then the pace and complexity of life overwhelms them with marriage, kids, community involvement, financial responsibilities, layoffs, etc. The net result is the same: exhaustion, frustration, and feeling “out of gas.”
The answer to the above dilemmas is having a well-defined Core Purpose Statement (CPS) to guide your life. This is a simple, yet powerful statement that is founded on your personal values, beliefs, interests, and strengths. A CPS will encapsulate who you are and what you’re most passionate about. It’s a statement that, when crafted honestly with self-introspection, will serve as a compass for decision making that will keep your life focused, on track and moving forward in a direction that keeps your gas tank full to live a powerful, inspired life.
With a CPS, it becomes easy to evaluate the many activities and relationships in your life—and identify where you are “off track.” After crafting a CPS, many clients realize they need to make some broad changes—ie, change careers. Other clients realize they need to prioritize activities and let go of others that are not aligned with the CPS. This streamlining ultimately enables them to better allocate their time and energy to activities that harmonize and accelerate their lives toward their goals and purpose. Please note a CPS should be revisited throughout life, as our values and goals change and evolve with time. By updating your CPS, you’ll continue to build a career and life that provides fulfillment throughout every life stage.
Here are some great examples of successful CEO’s who have Core Purpose Statements (CPS’s):
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company: To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.
Oprah Winfrey, founder of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network: To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group: To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.
Taking the time to write a thoughtful CPS is well worth the effort. This simple tool will help you set goals and make daily decisions on where to invest your energy and attention. The result will be a life and career overflowing with purpose, inspiration, energy and fulfillment. The above examples certainly attest to the results.
There are many proven techniques and exercises to craft a powerful Core Personal Statement. At Blue Skies Coaching, we welcome the chance to work with you to write your CPS and help you create a life that is congruent with it to maximize your sense of purpose, fulfillment and joy.