Purpose - Desire Passion and Joy



There’s no greater gift than to honour

your life’s calling.

It’s why you were born. 

And how you become most truly alive.

Oprah Winfrey


Why is living a life on purpose worth working for?

This is my list of reasons to do this work – have a read and think about your own reasons.  Using each one as a journal prompt can help you to think about your own version of why purpose matters to you.


1. Clarity 

Understanding your ‘why’ gives your life clarity - People who understand their purpose in life seem to be able to access an unstoppable type of energy that makes opportunities manifest.  Clarity around purpose and joy seems to flow naturally into being able to make a bigger impact and this leads to personal gratification and pleasure.


2. Focus 

It helps you stay focused, in the direction of what matters and this helps with distractions, when you fall off the wagon, feel deflated or hit resistance. 


3. Energy 

Understanding your why creates energy and passion to set goals that can feel exciting and stimulating. Knowing your purpose helps you find your true passion, and the passion becomes an important driver for you to achieve something extraordinary. Whether it is a childhood dream or a newly adopted lifestyle, the passion and energy will help to push you to reach your goals. 


4. Values 

It enables you to live a value-based life - the rules that guide our decisions in life and help define our goals. These are what tell us when we’re on the right or wrong path, and help us find and connect with others who share our way of viewing the world. It makes you live with integrity – you know who you are and why you are and equally who you are not and why you are not.


5. Trust

It encourages trust – trust in yourself to know that what you are doing is right and trust in others.  Very importantly a developing sense of inner trust helps to sooth anxiety and depression.  It highlights the importance of boundaries and shows this in a starker reality and shows up as meaningful coincidences (Jung).  Experiences that involve synchronicity and serendipity seem to happen more easily and this scaffolds an inner sense of trust.


6. Grace 

Commitment to this work seems to infuse an element of grace in your life - “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.” When you commit to living your life with your purpose, amazing things can happen.


7. Flow 

It helps you find a true sense of ‘flow’ in life. People who find their purpose talk about living in the flow of the universal stream of consciousness. They allow things to happen and change in their life rather than fighting against it. People specifically talk about being in flow when they feel fully engaged in a project/role/activity where although difficulties might arise, there seems to be ways to work through these issues with grace and ease. Creatives use this term to describe the feeling of being immersed in the making process, a sense of time standing still.


8. Fun 

It makes life even more fun.  When people know their purpose in life, it opens up the possibility of enjoyment of every aspect. They are able to take pleasure in living a purpose-driven life, and are better at tackling every situation in a creative way. Even the dullest thing could become beautiful and creative when you are motivated by purpose and a ‘bigger picture’.


9. Relationships 

Relationships are also affected in a positive way when you live life with purpose. You seek out new relationships, nurture the existing ones, and build stronger connections with people around you. You become more helpful to the people you love and become a role model for your family and friends. You tend to live your life with more curiosity, try to stay away from destructive habits, and try to seek out good ones that will help you create a difference in the world.

Purpose as the key backdrop to life

I was inspired to write the Do What Makes You Happy programme because I fundamentally believe that if we can all live a life where we strive to do our thing, to understand and meet our desires, to find our own personal blend of life activity that arises from our authenticity passion and sense of joy, then the knock-on effects of this are not only fabulous for ourselves, but also for our friends and families, our communities and ultimately the planet.  


I’ve witnessed within my own family, and throughout my career in social work, youth social action, leadership, community activism and organisational development, that when people are not able to fulfil their potential, when people struggle to find their niche or their groove, or are not supported to do so, or are held back by the effects of trauma, that we continue to grow communities where people are isolated, insular and struggle with curiosity, creativity and the ability to question the status quo.  


It seems to me that doing what makes us happy is now more important than ever if we are to find ways to think about the real challenges that lie ahead for us; namely future health pandemics, the climate emergency and planetary survival (not to get too heavy too quick here folks)..


The cost of not thinking about or doing what makes us happy – or not being able to live lives based on personal purpose is pricey in terms of human suffering.  Mental health issues are growing, as we are all aware, and people increasingly look to medication or addiction to help alleviate depression and anxiety.  I am in no doubt that having work to do that is fulfilling, purposeful and aligned to one’s values really does help to ground us and counter the feelings of being ‘lost and at sea’.


I believe that when we can do work or spend our lives in activity that is more aligned to our sense of who we are, aligned to our inner sense of purpose that we naturally begin to ask the important questions about life.  I also know that to locate this ‘sense of self’ is tricky and where many of us come unstuck in our process.  It’s not easy to uncover this in the first place, and it’s not easy to put it into action either.  


For many this sense of knowing what gives us joy might never have been explored before, and certainly not in the work or life context. Internally these questions become confused and confusing when mixed up with confidence issues, self-limiting beliefs that we have made into truths, and other complex life experiences that happen as we grow up. Looking inwards and locating purpose and joy is never a one off activity and I have found that I have had to look inwards at many times of my life when I feel I have gone adrift to try to relocate my next version or vision of purpose or joy.  Aging and maturity definitely has a big part to play in this ongoing need to revisit purpose and desire too.


When I personally think about the process of doing what makes me happy I am straight away taken into an inquiry as to what and how being happy means to me now in my life.  What makes up my happiness, what gives me joy in life and work?  Central to this for me is a sense that what makes me happy needs also to have some greater purpose.  This isn’t always the case for us I hasten to add and I attach no judgement to your why.  Whilst I do for sure love lying on a beach or shopping for fabulous things (who doesn’t) ultimately the pleasure in this for me is transitory and my desire is to be working from a deeper place.  


My experience tells me that when we live our lives with a sense of purpose passion and joy that we naturally begin to live positively and seek out new and interesting connections and opportunities. Possibilities truly show themselves.