I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose lately, and I noticed that my definition of it has evolved over recent years. I like to give myself space to think about purpose and not immediately go to what other people think about it.
When you think about finding your purpose, I want you to think about uncovering it. Going within will enable you to establish what you desire in each phase of your life and then follow that curiosity to cultivate your purpose deliberately.
Join me this week as I explore the concept of purpose and why we can have multiple purposes throughout our lives as we grow, evolve, and age. I encourage you to think about purpose differently; ask yourself with openness and curiosity what you want from your life. Gaining this clarity will enable you to intentionally create the life you want for yourself.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey friend. How are you doing? I want to talk with you about some housekeeping things. Just catch up. Then we will dive into today’s episode. So first of all, if you are a Grow You member or a creator program student, would you do me a huge favor and leave me a review on iTunes. I am so appreciative of all your reviews. I read them. I love them.
I was just looking the other day. We have over 700,000 downloads. I’ll be so excited to announce and make sure I do when we cross over a million. I’m mostly interested in this and care because it just means that these tools are getting out to more people.
I get the emails and the comments and the notes from you all about how much you love this work and how much working with me has changed our life. I’m so honored and also, I know that this work has changed my life. So I get what that’s like. I just want more people to know so that they can change their lives as well if they want to. Thank you, thank you, thank you in advance.
What else? Okay. If you are someone who feels like you are overworking, you have to join me tomorrow. I am hosting a free training called Stop Overworking and Start Living Work Life Balance Redefined. It is May 13th, 2021. Go on over to nataliebacon.com/balance and you will find all the details. If you are in Grow You, you will get all this in Grow You. So no need to attend live. But for those of you who aren’t yet, I want you to come see what it’s like to work with me. Get some new concepts on overworking. You’ll be able to apply them. You’ll also learn about Grow You.
What else? Oh well Steve and I got legally married in Illinois. How fun is that? You know just COVID times. We wanted to get our marriage certificate in Illinois where we will always sort of be based. Steve’s parents live here. We didn’t want to do that in Florida, which is where our actual wedding ceremony is. And we really couldn’t. We won’t be there enough days before. Just the legal side of it.
So anyways, we had our little Zoom ceremony and got legally married a couple weeks ago at the beginning of April. I’m recording this sort of almost at the end of April, but ahead of our “big” real wedding with our family. Our 22-person micro wedding. That’s coming up. By the time this podcast is out, it will already have happened. So I will talk with you more about that when it’s happened, but that will be in a couple weeks by the time that next podcast comes out.
Why I’m bringing this up. So I’m bringing this up because I was thinking a lot about purpose recently. I think it has to do with getting married and kind of having this really big life event. First before we sort of talk about what I came up with and what I want to teach you. I want to just honor the fact that I gave myself space to think about purpose and not just immediately go to what other people think about purpose. So that’s the passive action and the passive learning.
So it’s useful, but it’s even better to take it up a notch. So learn from others, but then ask your brain like, “What do I think? What’s true for me when it comes to purpose?” Personally, my definition has evolved. I actually was looking back at the podcasts. While I’ve written some blog posts on this topic, I’ve never done an entire episode on it. So I just found that also to be interesting and thought it’s time.
So about the same time, I was in my dermatologist’s office. Just, gosh, what is it a week ago or something. The physician’s assistant who I was talking with made a comment. Wait. By the way, I have I think the world’s best dermatologist. So if you are in Chicago and you need a dermatologist, go to George Michael Lewitt. His website is illinoisderm.com. I always tell him that I’m trying to refer people to him even if they don’t need a dermatologist. Because his commitment to excellence and his specialty and practice is just very inspiring.
Okay. Digression here. So anyways. I’m talking with the physician’s assistant. She says to me, “You know, my 30s were really about other people. Taking care of my kids and my marriage. It was really just about people outside of me, taking care of them.” She mentioned that she turns 40 I think in like a month or something. Like really soon. She said, “My 40s are going to be more about me and my goals. I’m so grateful that I have an amazing husband who supports that.”
It really got me thinking about purpose. That’s why I’m bringing this up other than the fact that I love my dermatologist. So it got me thinking that what she was really describing was her purpose in her 30s was more about serving others, specifically her family. And how the next decade for her, she wants the focus to be about her personal goals.
I started to combine that experience with my own of recently just kind of getting married. And thinking about what my purpose has been in the last decade of my life and what I want it to be in this new chapter of marriage.
I sort of had this itch to think more about this because I noticed that my business is growing and changing. We had the most successful creator program launch. Grow You members are growing. They love it. We’ve really redone the entire site and the branding and the workbooks. All of the courses are updated and elevated. Everything’s just growing and expanding.
I’m not working more, which is amazing. I’m hiring more. It’s a very fast paced company that is its own company. That will be a multimillion-dollar company before I know it, and it’s not going to require me to hustle my way there. I did that to get to six figures, and now I’ve built a team and I’ll continue to build that.
So why that’s relevant here is I’m thinking about all these different things and how my purpose is evolving and how I want to create space for that. How I have created space for that. I want to encourage you to create space for that depending on where you are in your life.
So I think without doing research, without having a life coach, without listening to this podcast. You may think that you have to find that one purpose that exists outside of you that you have to dedicate your life to. I think that it can be this way. So we think of people who exude purpose. We think of Michael Jordan and we think of Steve Jobs.
I recently binge watched with Steve the Netflix series. Was it Netflix? No, I don’t even think it’s Netflix. Showtime? I don’t remember. Oh, I think the first three episodes are free on Amazon Prime of Billions. Okay. That’s the point. Billions, right. The lead character in Billions, he has this purpose of leading this company, right. This hedge fund, this company. I think that some people for sure have that sort of purpose. If that’s you, then that’s amazing.
For everyone else, and I think more often than not, we’re not like that. At least for our entire lives. What’s more common is that you have many different purposes based on how you grow and evolve and age as a person. So for my PA during her 30s, her purpose was really about giving to her family and growing her family and serving her family. Being the best mom and wife and cultivating those relationships. Now as she enters her 40s, her purpose is shifting now back to her goals. For her, I think she was talking more about career goals.
I was thinking about for me how it’s been a little bit of the opposite. It’s been okay. In my 20s and early 30s, it was all about getting out of student loan debt and building my business, right. Kind of shaping my career. You can think of all those three as mini purposes or kind of the overarching money and career. And how much I really thrived and loved those and having those be my purposes at that time.
What I notice is that it’s interesting. It’s like I love my business. I love my clients. I love you. I love my work. But as I enter into this new chapter of marriage and I’m sure we’ll start a family in the next few years, how that will be like this new purpose that I will add in.
If you think of life stages. If you think of seasons of life, it might be that your kids just went to school. So you have more time. So you want to reinvent your purpose. It might be that your kids just left the home, or you retired, or you decided to be a stay-at-home mom or vice versa. You decided to go back to work. I think that when we make these decisions or naturally when things happen like kids go back to school or we age, it’s an invitation for us to examine our purpose.
I was thinking too about what does it mean to have a purpose, and what is the definition of purpose? Why does it feel sometimes so heavy? I think it feels so heavy because we make it seem like we have to have this one overarching purpose for our lives. We have to be the Michael Jordan of basketball or the Steve Jobs of personalized computers. If we don’t have this purpose, we are somehow doing it wrong.
I don’t think that’s true at all. I don’t think that you have to have one purpose for your entire life. I think that you can have many purposes and many passions. Your purpose can evolve. So what this is an invitation to is to ask yourself with a lot of openness and curiosity what you want during this season of your life.
When I was looking up the definition of purpose, I didn’t really love what I found because it wasn’t really exactly the concepts we talk about when we think about having purpose. Think that purpose can include many different definitions, but basically what I came up with is purpose is the reason that something exists. Purpose gives meaning and a sense of direction.
So if you think back to maybe you followed me or listened when I had a lot of student loan debt. My overarching purpose at that time was paying off my student loans. I learned a lot about money. I even switched careers and became a financial planner. I started a blog. I really followed this curiosity that I had that lead to a passion, an expertise about money. I think that’s such an amazing way to find and cultivate a purpose. It doesn’t have to be some altruistic way for you to live in the world. It can just be whatever season of life you’re in.
As I go into this next season, it’s sort of like the opposite of what my physician’s assistant was talking about. So for me it’s more about now I’m going into the phase that’s focused on family. And what does it mean for me to be a wife? What do I want to do and who do I want to be in our marriage? What is our family going to look like? Sort of following that curiosity of letting this be about family and letting this season kind of evolve and grow. And really make sure that I nurture that because that’s what I want.
When I was doing this exercise with respect to my entire life, what I came up with was very broad and not very helpful. So I want to encourage you to do this much more specifically if you’re also experiencing the same thing. So if you think of your why and your purpose for your life, I think that can be useful.
I’ve heard a lot of people and a lot of people who have life coaches, and I think this originated from Brooke Castillo, talking about being an example of what is possible. For me, I think of living an extraordinary life and what that means. So that can be useful. You can apply that to any circumstance that you’re in whether you’re thrown into COVID, whether you’re thrown into a new job, or a season of life you didn’t see coming. Anything like that. You can take that really broad purpose and that why and apply it there.
When you’re thinking about your purpose during a specific season of life, that isn’t going to be the most helpful. I think what’s more helpful is you getting really curious about what meaning you want to give to the next five years. What do you want to create? What results? What do you enjoy doing? Who do you want to be? Sort of cultivating and getting clarity around the direction that you want to go in, specifically for the next five years.
I think that can be some of the most amazing work that we can do around purpose that’s much more concrete and leads to you taking action and living more deliberately than you just coming up with sort of your why for living.
So I recommend trying this. If you haven’t downloaded my journal prompts freebie, head on over to nataliebacon.com/journalprompts. It’s all one word. You can download it. There’s 75 journal prompts. The reason that this is helpful and relevant to your purpose is because it’s only through your own inquiry and your own curiosity that you will discover what you’re interested in. What you’re interested in will lead to your purpose.
I heard Jay Shetty talk about this once. I think he references it in his book at well Think Like A Monk about how you take your curiosity, and you turn your curiosity into interest. Then that interest turns into passion, and then that passion turns into purpose. So it’s not that you find your purpose outside of you. Like you don’t go looking for something to just jump out at you, and all of a sudden, you’re going to say, “That’s my purpose.” Instead it’s much more internal work.
So by journaling about what you really want during this phase of life, you’re doing to give yourself some space to get to know yourself. To decide, “Oh yeah. This is what I want during this phase of life, during these next five years. I don’t really know if this is it, but I’m going to try it. I’m kind of interested in that. I love to do X, Y, Z for hours. I lose time and I really enjoy it. So I think it might be something that I want to pursue.”
Or if you’re like me and you’re recently married or maybe you recently have kids, and you’re sort of exploring what your purpose is with respect to this new chapter for you. Doing some journaling is really going to help you.
Now, it doesn’t mean that having a purpose means that you don’t do anything else. So even if your purpose is your family and cultivating your marriage and your kids, it’s not like you’re necessarily quitting your job, right. Like I still have my business and love my business and will nurture that. But it’s not the sole purpose of the next five years.
I think this is a good point. It’s like I’ve coached a lot of women in Grow You about giving themselves permission to have a purpose outside of their kids. So typically this will happen, at least from what I’ve seen. I’ve coached hundreds of women on this in Grow You. About wanting to pursue goals and still think of themselves as an amazing mom and what that looks like.
Often, it’s giving themselves permission to do something just because they enjoy it. Just because they want to pursue this and see where it goes. And knowing that it’s okay. You don’t have to give your kids 100% of your attention all of the time that you’re not working. I think this has been really liberating.
It’s kind of like the example of going to professional school. So a lot of moms go to medical school or they go to law school or they go to pharmacy school. They go to professional school and they’re balancing it. Often, they prioritize, and they need to prioritize, and they want to prioritize professional school. They prioritize medical school in the short term, in the next four years. That’s worth it because they get to pursue their purpose. Then indirectly it, of course, helps them show up as a better mom, as a better woman, as a better wife. They get to live out their purpose.
So we know this with medical school and law school. What happens, I think, is that it’s more socially acceptable to say, “Oh yeah I need to go study for my med school boards.” People sort of accept that. That’s more socially acceptable than saying, “Oh yeah. I’m going to go work on this hobby or self-coach or explore X, Y, Z.” We sort of look at that as not a priority.
So what I want to encourage you to do is spend some time getting to know yourself, getting really curious, seeing what you’re interested in. Then having your own back to prioritize that regardless of what judgements other people have. You don’t have to go to the place of not caring at all what they think, but you just want to make sure that you care a little bit more about what you think. Because this is your life. They get to live their life and do their purpose. You get to do your life and your purpose.
So when you think about finding your purpose, I want you to think about uncovering it. Finding it implies that it’s out there. Uncovering it, discovering it means that you are going to go within. You are going to ask yourself what it is that you desire during this phase of your life. What really lights you up, what interests you, getting to know yourself, and following that curiosity. Cultivating your purpose deliberately instead of sort of expecting it to knock on the door.
And knowing that if you think it’s one thing and it ends up not being that thing, that’s okay too. You can always start again. You can say, “I’m going to try this for six months to a year because I really like it, and then we’ll reevaluate.”
It’s interesting. A lot of Grow You members end up becoming certified life coaches. So they join Grow You. They love coaching. Coaching’s changed their lives. They want to go get certified as a coach. So they often go to the life coach school. They’ll often stay in Grow You. After they get certified, some of them, I would say even half of them, end up not wanting to have their own practice. What I think they realize is that “Oh, I thought it was going to be like this to create my business. It’s actually very different.”
What I coach them on is that that doesn’t mean it was a waste of time or money. Like look at all the ways that this has changed and improved your life. Just because you thought your purpose with life coaching was going to be to be a life coach, it actually is going to be something even more amazing. So it’s giving yourself permission to change your purpose after you’ve given it a fair shot.
I like to say six months to a year because we don’t want to be changing what we’re doing so often that we’re unwilling to feel those uncomfortable emotions. Instead it’s okay. I’m really interested in this. For the Life Coach School, LSC coaches who are in Grow You, they often started out with “Oh my gosh. I love Grow You. I love the tools. I love life coaching.” Then they cultivate that interest in life coaching so much. They think they want to be a life coach. They’ll go get certified.
Some of them do end up owning their own practices, but then others will say, “You know what? I gave this a fair shot for a year. I just want to continue to cultivate these tools and practice them and keep them in my own life, but I don’t really want to start a business.” That does not mean it was a waste of time or money.
So anytime that you change direction doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time or money. Like I never think that my time and money as a lawyer was a waste. Ever. Same with certified financial planner. I never think that that was a waste. Like that was always supposed to be my journey. I love that part of my journey.
Okay some people will get out of college, keep one job for the rest of their lives, and that’s their career purpose. Most people, right, we know that now. Statistically that that’s not really the case. That now more than ever people change jobs and change careers. This isn’t just true for jobs and careers. It’s also true for your purpose. I think as we intentionally grow and change our results, but also as we just grow in our age.
Like my PA said, as she reflected back on her 30s and was approaching her 40s, that sort of growth that happens just biologically. What do we want to imagine and create in the next chapter of our lives knowing that we can create anything?
I think thinking about purpose in this way is so much more beneficial. It helps you live so much more fully and helps you see that you can cultivate a purpose even if you’re someone who hasn’t done so intentionally in the past. Even if you’re someone who’s changed your circumstances or your life whether intentionally or unintentionally.
So start with some journal prompts. Start with really looking curiously into what you like and following that curiosity, and then cultivating that into an interest. Then pursuing that. After six months or a year of something, being willing to change direction if it’s not something that you desire anymore. Knowing that that’s okay and that nothing is wrong. It’s just part of the process of growing and evolving.
I think that it can be a lot of fun. I know it has been for me. I love that as I grow and I create my life and as I enter into this next chapter of marriage and family, I am just so looking forward to using all of these tools. Because as we grow and evolve, they only become more and more important. That’s why I am so passionate about this. I think I always will be. All right my friends. That’s what I have for you today. I will talk with you next week.
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