Pursuing Purpose. Living Passionately.

My plan this week was to explore how deliberately we support our purpose in life, presuming that we have already crossed the bridge to knowing what that is. I also had some thoughts about how our passions fit into our purpose when I read a post by Diana Schwenk on this topic and started a dialogue with her.

I had made a comment that indicated that my passions may be different from my purpose and Diana had challenged me: “Ian, I hope your purpose and passion are one!”  I’ve been pondering that statement since, and as a result have shifted what I want to write about to this relationship between purpose and passion.  There’s time next week to discuss the pursuit of purpose in full!

When we have uncovered our purpose, there is no setting it aside.  It is always there, and at any point in time we likely know if we are in service of it.  To be clear, I don’t think it is possible to be aligned with our purpose at all times – I just believe that it is always with us questioning softly how we intend to engage next.

Exploring MoreFor those that might be struggling with the idea of purpose and wondering if you have uncovered yours yet, I’d suggest that if you’re struggling with the concept your purpose hasn’t yet made itself known.  If you are between the ages of 25-50, it is possible that the idea of purpose may not yet have elevated itself onto your internal radar.  Generally, the quest for purpose is what fires up youth and allows adults to step off the treadmill of achievement to something more meaningful.

When you know your purpose, it will express itself succinctly.  My purpose is a simple statement, which I have printed on the back of my business card as I want others to hold me accountable to it.

“Shifting the lives of people to the possibility of living and leading essentially”

 I look at this multiple times every week and sit with it to make sure the deep drive in my soul is there, and then I often ask myself what I will do to serve my purpose today. That was to be my blog post today (now postponed to next week) where I would talk about ideas to serve our purpose each day.

ExploringWhat prompted this was that we are staying in a flat in Southern France in what I described as a “temporary relocation” last week – a time where we are trying not to be on vacation but experience a blurring of the life between that and life. What has become apparent is that it isn’t easy to focus on my life’s work when there are so many fascinating, new and beautiful distractions!

I still do regularly check in with myself on how I am serving my purpose, but I more regularly choose to set aside investment in my purpose to be able to pursue other passions.  That perhaps requires more explanation.

As stated above, my purpose is to shift the lives of people to the possibility of living and leading essentially.  First and foremost, I am passionate about doing so.  When I am engaged with someone in that work, I will gain energy as opposed to expend energy and I am often so immersed in it that I can often lose track of time.  So there is a passion involved in my purpose, and that is a passion for connecting authentically with people. There are a couple of other passions of mine that also relate to my purpose.

  • New pathExploring.  I love discovering new things.  In working with others to help them create the shifts they desire in their lives, there is a curiosity involved.  There are always new paths and alleys that appear to be followed.  Just like in travel, one never knows where they lead.  Sometimes they are paths back to where we’ve been before, but other times they open onto wonderful new discoveries.
  • Building.  For me, this is the art of taking known materials and assembling them in a way that has not been done before.  The work of coaching is like this.  We help uncover individual discoveries: a predominant emotion, a working pattern, a missing element in life are examples.  True shifts come when these individual elements can be knit together into a pattern that is so obvious that we can then work to shift the pattern to something new, holding on to the good parts and letting go of those that don’t serve the client any longer.

So Diana is right that my purpose is supported by my passions.  However, I have discovered that I also pursue my passions at times that aren’t in service of my purpose.  For example, yesterday was a day of exploring. Both of small, windy roads through amazing terrain and a new city that had so many treasures waiting to be discovered around the next corner.

I have also come to realize that I have other passions that aren’t directly linked to my purpose.  In my remarks to Diana, I referred to these as “worthwhile distractions”.  Examples for me are photography, cooking and writing.  I also get lost in these activities, letting time slip by without notice and feeling the pure energy of being my authentic self flow through me.

I won’t say that I don’t use these passions in support of my purpose.  I write this blog as a way of contributing to the collective thought on living and leading essentially, and I often include my own photography in these blogs.  But I’ve come to realize that my passions are there to fuel me!

These are activities that I use to connect deeply with myself, to nurture my soul and feed my creative muse.  They allow me to express myself authentically and contribute to others.  In short they enrich my life’s experience.  I then use the energy I derive from such pursuits to fuel my purpose.

So after all of that, I admit that none of this is based on any theory I’ve read or has any other academic support.  It just feels right to me.  I’m curious to know how this lands with you.  Do you know your purpose and your passions?  Are they one and the same or do they serve you in different ways?  Where does your energy for pursuit of purpose come from?  Please add your thoughts to the dialog!

Published by

Ian Munro @ leadingessentially.com

Ian Munro is a leadership and vitality coach with a primary passion for working with senior professionals who wish to improve their connection to and vitality in their career, or who wish to make a transition to a meaningful and rewarding retirement. His methods are focused on helping clients understand why they present as they do in day-to-day life, discover their authentic self and give themselves permission to build a meaningful and rewarding future, both professional and personal. Ian’s love for this work has developed naturally as he built his career as an executive and leader in the IT services industry, serving in many roles and facets of this industry over 25 years. As he reached the pinnacle of his career he began to search more deeply for meaning and alternate rewards from his own career and to begin to plan for his own “first retirement”.

14 thoughts on “Pursuing Purpose. Living Passionately.

  1. I was going to comment about the definitions of words like purpose, passion, mission and vision Ian, but I think sometimes that just gets in the way. I am so glad that you are connected to, and excited about, your purpose!

    On knowing what one’s purpose is. When I was developing my personal mission and vision statements, using the book The Path by Laurie Beth Jones, she suggested that if we look hard enough, we’ll find that we’ve been living our mission all along, even when we didn’t know, or couldn’t articulate what it was! I find that somewhat reassuring and amazing.

    Love this post Ian and thank you for linking back to mine. ❤
    Diana xo

    1. I see your passions as being in great support of your purpose – anything that supports your being your authentic self seems like it is in service of your shifting the lives of people to the possibility of living and leading essentially. Pursuing your passions is living and leading essentially, is it not? You role model what it takes to shift. These things that seem disconnected – maybe stepping back even further will illuminate how they are all connected? My purpose is to awaken humanity – to be compassionate with myself and others, to embrace our nature as human beings, to expose our vulnerable and human side, and enliven it in to places where it’s been hidden, such as a workplace heavy with process and ‘professionalism’. Anything I do that cares for me, that opens my creativity, that connects me with others – travel, gardening, running, listening to music – is in support of me showing up in life to live my purpose.

      1. I’m with you Vicki. Particularly how passions support us being authentic. And in that way passions do serve purpose, but providing vital energy. I’m just playing with how aligned passion and purpose have to be, and right now my sense is that some passions only have to indirectly serve purpose.

  2. I too like Vicki’s comment. She aligns with my thinking that purpose is what we do naturally in the world every day. For me, my purpose with my intention is to ‘touch hearts and open minds to set spirits free in a world of love, joy, peace and harmony’.

    When I am aligned with my purpose, my intention expresses itself in everything I do.

    I wonder Ian if in your perspective of your purpose statement, you are seeing it through the lens of what you do in business/professionally versus how it translates into everything you do in your life? When you take photographs, you do not take them to show ‘the bad’, you take them to capture moments of awe and wonder and to awaken people to seeing them. When you cook, you do not cook with the intention of creating awful, you do it to captivate the imagination and palates of everyone who enjoys your cooking.

    I believe our passions are the embodiment of our purpose. We express our deepest yearnings through expressing our passions and in our expressions awaken those around us to living life on purpose, passionately engaged with every aspect of living freely.

    Many hugs

    1. Ian, thank you for sharing your introspective journey about passion and purpose. I agree that they need to support each other. I’d also like to add that my passions are the things that give me the energy to work on my purpose. Not all of my passions are a direct link to my purpose but by using them they give me the energy and drive to focus on my life’s why – my purpose.

  3. I have thought this through from the perspective of my mother’s life of 88 years and of myself.
    My mother’s purpose was building communities but her passion was history. She managed to blend the two, but they are not the same.
    My purpose is to live to my highest self and to promote human welfare. My passions are writing and nutrition.
    I too hope to blend these three together one day. However, I do not believe that they are the same thing.

  4. Great post, Ian!

    This is a topic that has actually been on my mind for a long while. I understand what my passion is and I am in the midst of building my skill set within my passion so that I can one day fully live out my purpose. I say fully live out my purpose as I’ve already started to, the purpose filled life will only become more abundant as time goes on and I am able to allocate more time and energy to it.

    Enjoyed reading this and look forward to your posting tomorrow.

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