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  • vanessabelleau

Let's Talk about Purpose

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

The theme I want to focus on for September is Purpose. Over the years, Purpose has become a bit of a buzzword. There is a certain societal pressure to go on some sort of Eat Pray Love type journey that is full of groundbreaking revelations.

Considering all of this, I want to share my thoughts on purpose and what it means to find yours.

Now, before I dive in and tell you about my purpose, I want to say that I don't think everyone needs a purpose in life. It is not like food or water, which are basic needs according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Some people are happy living their lives each day without a clear purpose, and that is fair enough!

But there are some of us who need a purpose, something that is bigger than us, something to work towards and be part of. Some people might think that having and having a purpose is very selfish as it is focused on you solely, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Finding your purpose, connecting with it and organising your life to deliver it, is actually about others. Your purpose is about how you can contribute to the world in a more meaningful way based on your strengths, what energises you - in other words, your gifts.

What is my purpose?

I always knew that I was not put on the earth just to be. That would almost be too easy for a young (I have decided, that I will forever be young 😉) Black Woman.

My purpose is ‘to make people and brands focus on what truly matters.' It’s broad and can be flexed in many directions, and that is very intentional. I am interested in many things, and so it's important for me to have a motivating sense of direction that enables me to explore many things in life with others.

There is one thing I always knew about myself and that was that I knew that I was on the earth to achieve something - something that was not about me but about others. My purpose is a drive, a belief that helps me push forward and helps me to not completely get disheartened by what is broken in our society and what needs to be fixed to get to equality for all.

This is why I am a D&I consultant, strategist and an accredited Executive Coach.

Finding my purpose

Now just to be clear I did not just pop out of my wonderful mum's womb knowing what my purpose was. In fact, I did not really commit to my purpose until I left my corporate career. I knew it before then but didn't have the confidence to live it.

I was doing well in my corporate career, yet I could also feel that I was getting frustrated by a lack of alignment somewhat between what I was asked to focus on & believe and what I really wanted to focus on. Not only that, but I kept asking myself ‘is this it?’, ‘is this what I am meant to be doing for the rest of my life?’. These questions became so important at some point that I could almost hear them play on repeat in my mind. I was caught in a hamster wheel and decided that it didn’t suit me anymore. ‘Metro, boulot, dodo’ or in English ‘tube, day job, sleep and repeat’ just didn’t work for me. I needed something more fulfilling and a bigger point of focus.

So, I did a lot of soul-searching at a time in my life where I somehow knew that I needed to focus on understanding why I was on earth. It sounds quite spiritual and mystical, possibly. And it kind of was for me. I started to allow myself to explore my inner thoughts to try to answer the questions deeply and really focus on finding the answers to the following questions:

  • Why am I here?

  • How can I contribute to this world in a meaningful way?

  • How can I use my unique skill set for a greater cause than the set societal corporate routine?

  • What are my unique skills and strengths?

  • What do I really believe in?

These are a series of questions that we often shy away from because they seem too big to be answered at an individual level. But, answering those questions puts us on the path to finding our purpose. Well, at least that process helped me.

How do you find your purpose?

It is a journey of self-discovery and reflection, as well as a journey of connection with our true deep self. I use a tool called Ikigai when I coach my clients, there is even a book about this concept.

According to Positive Psychology, the concept of Ikigai as a purpose in life with both personal and social dimensions is captured by the well-known Ikigai diagram. This diagram includes overlapping spheres covering:

  • What you love

  • What you are good at

  • What the world needs

  • What you can get paid for

The intersections of the above help you to discover:

  • passion

  • mission

  • profession

  • vocation

Be prepared for change

Your life purpose can change according to your life experiences and your learnings along the way. It's one reason why my purpose is so broad. I think that this is truly great and showcases how exponential life is.

So, what is your purpose?

Finding your purpose is no overnight task, but if you put in the time and focus it requires, you will be able to find yours.

This month, I will be running a challenge on my Instagram to support you with finding or redefining your purpose. Hope you will do the key weekly tasks!

Whether you know your purpose or you are still figuring it out, I know that you are on your way to finding yourself, and achieving freaking fabulous things - however big or small and that is what really counts!

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