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July 24, 2019

From surviving to thriving through finding meaning to your life.


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What is your purpose?

A big key to thriving* is living with purpose. People who don’t have a purpose or have lost purpose will not live their best life. Without purpose, life focus becomes surviving and is far from thriving. You are a masterpiece created to do wonderful things. Discovering your purpose will put energy into your soul and vitality into your existence. Who can you chat with to help you see your purpose?

Is your purpose to love that special someone? Like the song, “I was made for loving you baby, you were made for loving me”. I can sing that song too. But what if you haven’t found that special someone? Or if you lose that someone? Do you then lose your purpose? Surely, it’s just a part of the purpose. For me, it’s such a key purpose, as we approach 40 years of being married, and have 3 married children, 5 grandchildren.

Is your purpose your work?

Is your work your purpose? That’s a recipe for disaster because our culture says retirement from work is our privilege, right, and duty. Bob Buford in his book Finishing Well, says that where work is linked to purpose, retirement becomes a death sentence. “The average person dies between two and seven years after retirement, and it’s simply because they’ve lost their purpose in life. For most of them, their purpose was wrapped up in their work, and once they’re no longer working they feel they have no meaning in their lives.” (Buford,124)

Have you found what you are looking for?

In Australia, it is common to call retired people ‘Grey Nomads’. Grey Nomads are people who have time and resources to travel, and do so with gusto and adventure, seeking the new discovery, the fishing hole, the sunrise, the new camping spot, the new eating place. I wonder if this is all about finding a new sense of purpose and significance.

What if the purpose is bigger than our work, or our significant relationships? What if it is about doing something that makes a difference in someone’s life? How could you make a difference? Ask some people who know you well, what do you think I am good at? Getting others to feedback on this is very valuable as they will help us see some things we are blind to and will help ground our thoughts.

What are you gifted in?

It is extremely beneficial to your well-being to identify and understand your gifts. What are you good at? What could you do with that gift?
Could you find purpose in passing that gift on and equipping someone with that gift?

Will your purpose take you beyond your work life

Living our purpose is where in life we match our gifts with our goals. Then we can life a life of significance. Not merely surviving, but thriving. This quote of Jay Bennett is worthy of pondering. “The key is to live intentionally, with passion, for a cause that’s worthy of your life. And then die bloody. I plan to go down swinging. I want to die in battle.” (Buford, 31)

A mentor is a key person to chat with to explore the alignment of gifts and goals. Who do you chat with?

*Thriving is one of the four building blocks of flourishing. See Dr Matt Bloom lead researcher FlM project at the University of Notre Dame

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