Today’s episode is a follow-up on some of the concepts I talked about in Episode 19. If you haven’t listened to that one yet, it will give you some context, so you may want to start there.
In this episode, we’re going deeper and looking at what it means to say yes to your purpose. That is, once you have done the work to clarify your purpose on this earth, then you have to step up and step into that purpose.
We're going to uncover the most common blocks I've seen in my clients and in myself that keep us from fully embracing our purpose. First, I want to remind you of a couple key points from episode 19:
* We think about purpose as a grandiose and sacred thing. While it is sacred and there's a great deal of meaning behind it, I don't want us to feel like we can't bring levity to it. I want our purpose to be exciting, so that's the energy I bring to this conversation.
* We are not locked into our purpose. Your purpose may evolve over time just as we evolve as humans. We're talking about your purpose today and it's okay if that looks different than your purpose five years ago. Let’s focus on the here and now and what you want to bring forth into the world.
* In Episode 19, I talked about five factors that can help us clarify our purpose. I created a free guide called “Finding Your Purpose”. If you haven't already downloaded it, I would encourage you to click here and work through that process. At the end of that guide, you’ll have the beginnings of a purpose statement, which is where we start off from today.
Making Your Purpose Statement Come to Life
(3:25) If you downloaded the free “Finding Your Purpose” guide from Episode 19 and worked that through, you’ve got the clear beginnings of a purpose statement. Now we have to say yes to that purpose.
Of course, it’s not always easy to say yes to our purpose. Through my practice and my own life, I’ve learned that once we get clear on our purpose, we feel really empowered. We feel motivated. But then we start to feel blocked, paralyzed, or stuck. We know what it is we want, yet we're not acting on it.
When I thought that through, I identified five key blocks that keep us from fully stepping into our purpose and saying yes to our life. In this episode, we will talk about what they are, why they happen, and what we can do about them.
Five Blocks that Keep Us from Taking Action on Our Purpose
1. Not Having a Clear Vision
(5:15) You may have a strong sense of purpose, but perhaps it still feels vague or a little out of reach. There are so many ways that we can create positive change in people's lives, and we need to get even more specific and clarify our vision.
How? First, identify what your purpose looks like played out in the world. Get really specific on the desired outcome. After that, we think about how you want to feel as you are creating that change.
Many times, how we feel about something informs how we show up in the world. When we’re clear about how we want to feel, we can create the thoughts that support that feeling, and we can influence the energy we bring to our work. Focusing on the emotions we would like to see in those we work with can also inform our vision.
When I talk about vision, I am talking about something that's big and bold; the end all, be all of what you want. It shouldn’t be something easily attainable. We are really thinking big and broad about the ideal future.
If you need some help clarifying your vision, Natalie Gingrich has a fantastic podcast called The Ops Authority. She also has a guide that goes along with Episode 4 of that podcast that helps define or refine your mission, your vision and your values.
Many big companies have broad and bold vision statements that describe the ideal future for their company. That's what I want you to think about when you're creating your vision statement: what is the ideal end result that you're working towards? Once you have your vision, it becomes easier to say yes to your purpose.
2. Not Having a Clear Strategy
(9:35) Maybe you’ve clarified your vision, but you don’t have a strategy to move forward. Again, we’re talking big picture here. I'm not talking about the individual steps or actions that you're going to take; that's more of a tactical approach. You need to have a strategy in place before you start getting wrapped up in the details. But how do you clarify your strategy?
First, reverse engineer your strategy. Start with your vision. Once you have a clear picture in your mind of what your ideal future looks like, imagine yourself 10 years into the future. What is different in 10 years? What would indicate you have achieved everything you've wanted.
Next, for that to happen in 10 years, what would your life need to look like in five years? For your life to look like that in five years, what would it need to look like in three years? And then one year, six months, three months, and even one month. That’s reverse engineering. We start with our ideal outcome and work backwards. That’s how your start to create a structure around which you can build your ideal future.
Now, we still haven't talked about exactly how you are going to get there. We start with the big goal, and then narrow it down. Once you’ve narrowed it down to under a year, you can start talking tactics and exploring specific action steps for the next quarter or two quarters. Then, take the next best step.
3. A Limited View of Opportunity
(13:45) The third block that I often see is that we have a really limited perspective of opportunities to express our purpose. We are conditioned to view success as the only good outcome. We think that if everything doesn't work out the way we want it to, it's not a success and we're not living our purpose.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We often we find more opportunity when things don't go as planned. In Episode 17, I talked about the four F's of fear-based action and I shared my story about my so-called failed launch. When things don't go well, but we roll with the punches and mine every experience for a life lesson, then we can always find an opportunity to live our purpose. Perhaps those things that we didn’t want or didn't expect may actually lead us down a path for even greater success.
If we can reshape our perspective of how we view both opportunity and failure, we open ourselves up to finding more ways to live out our purpose. Saying yes to your purpose requires flexibility and resilience. It means holding our goals lightly so that we don't get too attached to the outcome. It means being open to change and adapting our goals accordingly.
While it’s important to have vision and strategy, hold them lightly, because the more we try to make it happen, the more we bring out the energy of force. As we talked about in Episode 17, force is not going to help us grow a business rooted in our values.
Even though your vision and your strategy may change, your purpose can remain the constant because it's rooted in your values, your strengths, and in the things that make you unique.
4. Saying Yes to Everything
(17:35) Saying yes to everything is the shadow side of entrepreneurial energy. As entrepreneurs, we view the world differently and see opportunities where others don't. Therefore, we see so many possibilities and sometimes we want to do them all. Sometimes we have to say no to the wrong thing – or at least the less right thing – in order to say yes to the right thing. It’s important that we stay focused on our true purpose and vision.
When we say yes to everything, it dilutes our vision and we get off track. This is where finding a niche is important, helping us be clear about who we serve and how we serve them. Narrowing your focus makes it easier for our clients to find us and for us to find them. When we can get really specific and show up for our people, it leads to greater conversion rates and greater success in our business.
I have a tendency of saying yes because I really want to show up and support people. But I'm learning that I have to be singularly focused on what I'm doing. If I say yes to everything, I scatter my energy and my focus, and I'm not able to show up fully for my business, my family or myself.
5. Getting Caught Up in Negative Self-Talk
This is the block that I struggle with most often. I see so many talented entrepreneurs who are afraid to go all in on their purpose because it means stepping outside of their comfort zones.
If you haven’t read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, I highly recommend it. In his book, he talks about how many of us get caught in our zone of excellence. That is, we are doing wonderful work and we are excellent at what we do, but we hit a ceiling that keeps us from moving into our zone of genius.
The zone of genius is where we can create new things and use our innovation, stretching past what we're good at and getting into our life's purpose. This process can feel scary because as we move outside our comfort zone, we feel vulnerable.
When we feel vulnerable, our mind kicks in to keep us safe. One of the ways it does that is by filling us with self-doubt. That’s the negative self-talk that keeps us stuck, that paralyzes us, and that we buy into so easily.
For me, this is where impostor syndrome comes in, and it’s the main internal struggle that keeps me from saying yes to my purpose. My mind starts questioning, saying, Who am I to do this? I'm no expert. People are going to think I'm a fraud. I have nothing new to say. There are other people out there already doing it and doing it better than me.
This is when I remind myself that these are stories my mind is creating to keep me from moving forward. I must really examine them and ask myself if they are true, or if they are just my mind’s way of reining me in and keeping me safe. When I can see it as a protective story, I'm able to disconnect from it and I can keep moving forward.
If you ever need inspiration, go to Shark Tank star and business woman Barbara Corcoran’s Twitter feed and you will have all the inspiration you need to keep going for weeks. She recently shared this quote:
“We are all slow to learn that we are far more capable than we think we are.”
And it's so true. It takes us so long to stand firm and the knowledge that we can do this.
It’s not a problem that I'm having these thoughts unless I allow them to stop me. The thoughts themselves are not the problem. It's the action that I take as a result. I don't want to let them stop me anymore.
This is especially important with the thought that there's other people out there already doing it better than you. Yes, other people are doing it, but they are not doing it like you. What you bring is vital and unique and I believe that someone out there is waiting for the way you do it. They are waiting for you. Do not withhold yourself from them. They need you. So get out there and do it!
Make It Work Moment
(29:00) This week's Make It Work Moment is brought to you by the Clarity Summit, a five-day virtual event designed for intuitive helpers, healers and coaches who are ready to grow their businesses. During the summit you will learn practical business strategies and resources directly from over 18 industry leaders.
At the Clarity Summit, we will cover the basics of creating and growing a profitable and fulfilling business. At the end, I will be hosting a very special Masterclass that takes a deep dive into an aligned approach to the art of coaching.
It’s absolutely free, so head over to ClaritySummit.com and sign up!
And for a more in-depth look at this week’s MIWM, sign up for the weekly Deeper Dive where you’ll get bonus content delivered directly to your inbox each Sunday.
This week, I want you to think about the five blocks that I've described in today's episode and I want you to choose one that really resonates most with you. Then, I want you to put into practice some of the suggestions I have for each one:
|Not having a clear vision||
|Not having a clear strategy||
|A limited view of opportunity||
|Saying yes to everything||
Once you’ve identified which block is the biggest obstacle for you, and you’ve tried to strategies to overcome that block, I want to hear about it! Share your experience with me at the Work Your Inner Wisdom Facebook Community under the Episode 21 discussion thread or connect with me on Instagram at lcmcdonough.
Remember – you have everything you need to say yes to your purpose. Until next time, let your inner wisdom lead the way.