Rethinking Life Purpose: Unmasking Misconceptions In Your Midlife Evolution
Let’s jump into the concept of life purpose. I reckon we’ve been led up the garden path a bit when it comes to Life Purpose.
In this episode I challenge common misconceptions around life purpose, emphasizing that it’s not solely about achieving specific outcomes but rather about finding meaning, value, and connection in our daily lives.
I also give examples of outcome and achievement-focused purpose and why it’s a problem. The role of your ego when it comes to purpose and how taking a 1,000-foot view can offer a life changing reframe around finding and living our life’s purpose!
As we navigate midlife and its hormonal changes, I explain why this is a valuable time for self-reflection and embracing a deeper sense of purpose that aligns with our authentic selves, as well as how nature helps us with this task.
- What activities or moments bring me the deepest sense of fulfilment?
- How do my values align or clash with my daily choices and actions?
- And what impact do I want to have on myself and others around me?
- How do you want to either inspire, support those closest to you?
Join me on this inspiring episode as we bust some myths, and explore, recontextualise and reframe the concept of life purpose!
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Full Episode Transcript
There are misconceptions around life purpose. And when we actually give it a reframe, that I’m going to offer later on in the podcast, opening up to our life purpose becomes actually something that is very natural and organic. Just like a flower is a seed and then a bud and then a sprout and then it grows and it blooms.
That seed didn’t need to seek its life purpose and I suggest that we too don’t need to seek our life purpose in the way that we’ve been taught to do it.
And that is because there are fundamental misconceptions around what Life purpose really means and we’re trying to apply these misconceptions to our life and coming up short and feeling all those negative, I’m not enough, my life isn’t enough feelings and thoughts about our life so far. So we’re going to unwind that, unpack that, reorganize the meaning of life purpose.
To something that will really actually serve you.
So this is an opportunity for us to rethink the idea of life purpose, whether, you know, the whole life purpose thing pisses you off because you don’t know what yours is and you feel like, well, if I got that sorted, then I feel like my life would be sorted or I’m feeling like my life doesn’t measure up maybe because I don’t really know what my life purpose is.
Or you’re actually feeling lacking in a sense of purpose and direction in your life which is really, really common in perimenopause, menopause, midlife and nothing really to be alarmed about but I think it is helpful to give a reframe around this because a lot of what we struggle with in life is About the meaning and how we frame ideas and concepts, beliefs, ways of being.
And sometimes they just need a little bit of an adjustment or a reframe to make them work for us. I’m not talking about toxic positivity here where everything is amazing and everything is good and everything is for me and I can control my life so that it turns out to be rainbows and unicorns, if I just manifest in the right way.
I’m not talking about that, because I know, you know, that life is actually full of ups and downs, that bad things happen to really good people, and that there is a reasonable percentage of life that we do not and cannot control. And yet, Even with all of that in place, and being a fact of our life, we can live very, very meaningful, purposeful, connected, open, evolutionary lives.
This is my belief, and this is how I live my life, and how I navigate the ups and downs, and I managed to stay actually a really positive, optimistic person without having my head in the clouds whilst I’m still acknowledging that life has ups and downs and shit happens, right? Stuff that we can’t control and that that It’s not our fault.
Some of that is just life. We haven’t necessarily caused that by our faulty thinking, or by our lack of manifestation skills. That is one thing that really ticks me off around pop culture is this idea that if our life isn’t going the way we want it to, that we’re not good manifestors, that we can control everything.
We can’t control everything. We just can’t. And the idea that we can is just a bunch of BS that has been sold to us so that we buy whatever that person is selling. Or, it is sold to us because that person truly believes that we can control all of those aspects of our lives because they’re afraid of letting go of control.
They’re afraid of the aspects of life that we actually can’t control. See, I don’t see that as a cause for pessimism. I think that if we come to a place of radical acceptance around life’s mystery and the way it shows up, it’s not necessarily the way we want it to show up. If we can actually accept that, then we work with life in a really co creative way.
So getting back to These misconceptions around life purpose. So there is a societal narrative, I think, around life purpose. That it’s very achievement focused and outcome focused. So my life purpose is to, and insert whatever the achievement or the outcome might be. And. You might not know what that is yet.
Hell, I don’t think I actually know what it is for myself, but I’m very, very engaged in my life purpose because I think it emerges with us as we evolve in our life. Is it still that?
So a lot of our life purpose might be around service. Around supporting others. And that is I think just beautiful. It has been a part of my own life purpose. But I think that we have to consider that when we come into perimenopause and the caretaking hormones of estrogen, naturally decline, then my predisposition to caretake, to serve, to help, declines as well.
And so then I’m left with less motivation to, this is all in air quotes, right? Less motivation to make a big impact, to help thousands of women, to help as many people as I can, to help women learn how to love themselves. The motivation for that Which, I think for me, has been very intrinsic in my life.
With that hormonal decrease of estrogen, my motivation for that aspect of my life has also decreased. And it’s not that I don’t Now I want to help people. I still do. I still love supporting people to Live their best lives in whatever way that shows up for them. It’s just that I’m less Connected to having to prove something around that Because when I look at it now from this perspective I can see that some of that helping was about feeling good In myself that I could support others.
There’s nothing wrong with that. The only problem is when we tie our level of self-worth and success in with that.
And so this midlife transition that we are in, where our brain is literally. Rewiring, from the research that has been written about, a woman’s brain actually does start to change because of the hormonal fluctuations and changes.
And so what might once have motivated you, spurred you on, got you up in the morning, May now no longer do that, and I actually think that that’s okay. That’s totally okay
because our life purpose is not about outcomes and it is not about achieving whatever it is we think we should achieve.
We also have another piece of the puzzle that at midlife I am, you know, I’m 53. Probably I’m a little more through the middle of my life than I am prior to it. And have I achieved what I wanted to achieve in my life? In some parts, yes. In some ways, yes. And in many ways, no.
And so if my life purpose is Very much attached to an outcome or an achievement or a bunch of achievements. Then if I haven’t achieved those at 53, I can start to feel like, well, you know, it’s all downhill from here. What’s the point? And So another reframe that I think is really, really important is that we don’t look at life as that bell curve, you know, so we reach our peak at 40, 45, and then from there on it’s all downhill.
But rather that we are in constant spiraling evolution. Coming back round to the next level of belief that we want to open up. We’re in this constant spiraling staircase of evolution actually.
One stage of evolution blooming out of the previous stage.
And the other piece I want to add is that when we, when our life purpose is focused more on outcomes or achievements. As an example, I’m going to be a published author. That is my life purpose.
When we’re very attached to that outcome, the failures along the way to the success, say of that goal, become Very, very difficult. They become like the deep, muddy holes of failures. But we want to reframe failure as being, oh, I learned something there. I learned something and I evolved into that next stage of myself.
And actually, failure is a part of learning something new and a part of success. There is nothing actually inherently wrong or bad about failure. All it’s telling us is that we are opening up and learning something new.
And that is a good thing, right?
The other piece that I’ll add, is that we might have this fantasy, and I think I did, that when we find our big purpose everything will fall into place and everything will be sweet and beautiful and never a care will ever touch me again. I don’t know, I kind of feel like the opposite is true that when I’m Really engaged in my purpose, I do have these beautiful moments of connection, of sweetness, of aroha, but I’m also really bloody challenged.
I’m also taken so far out of my comfort zone that it hurts, that it gives rise to anxiety, that I’m afraid, that I have imposter syndrome, that I’m scared I can’t show up in the way that I want to, and that. Is also a part of showing up and living our purpose.
So in summary for the piece around how we are sold life purpose is full of misconceptions is that I think it’s based primarily on our ego’s need for achievement and outcome. And, there’s nothing wrong with having an ego, a personal ego, that is just a normal part of being human.
We couldn’t function without one. We need to be able to have boundaries to understand that I am separate from you. That is part of the ego’s job. So if my life purpose isn’t that, so we’ve looked at what it isn’t, and What’s unhelpful in terms of how we think about our life purpose?
Then what is it? How do we find it? And why is it important? So when I was doing my counselling training I studied psychosynthesis, so it brings the best of the western depth psychology and the eastern mindfulness based height psychology And some of what we looked at was that when a person is engaged with a sense of purpose and meaning in their life, the troubles and the anxieties and the emotional and psychological challenges They don’t feature as strongly.
And so we were taught to work with both ends of that spectrum. So not, not just to support with the challenges that a person had, but actually to support for us as individuals to be able to open up to a sense of meaning, purpose and value. Because when we have that, all of that X stuff and the emotional and psychological difficulties that are there, their presence dials down and they just become less prominent in our lives.
They might still be there, but because we’re very engaged in a sense of purpose, they are less prominent and impactful. They move to the background. So that’s one of the reasons why having a sense of purpose is important. And so, the next piece is, how do we find it? Well, let’s reframe to begin with, because personally, I feel really deeply engaged in a sense of purpose, meaning and value, right, in my life.
And I’ve gone from having none of that, to going through the sickness I had in my twenties, and opening up to that. And that has grown and evolved and changed, and my grip on it has certainly loosened. But it’s still with me,
and it’s still very strong, and is like part of the bones of who I am. And yet, if you asked me to tell you what my life purpose, or my purpose is, I don’t know if I could tell you. In a, in a little elevator pitch, right? I don’t know if I could express it in words to you today in a way that you could go, yep, got it, like the title of a book.
I don’t think it’s present for me in that way now. It’s something about connection. It’s something about my own evolution, but also the evolution of others. Supporting that.
But then my mind also goes to, but yes, and yes, I’m just one small piece in a big, you know, puzzle of all of us as human beings, and that’s okay. Like, I’m totally okay with that.
Some people uh, some people distill their life purpose down to be about love at its core. And for some people that’s, yep, they’ve got it, I know what it is, and in all that I do, I am love. For some of you though, that is not going to feel like it’s enough. Like, the question will be, how am I love in my life? How do I show up being love? I don’t even feel love. All the time for myself, so how can I be there for others, and I’m not making a difference in the world. Well, here’s the thing. We are making a difference in the world by The presence of who we are, by the presence of who you are.
You are making a difference in the world for the people around you, the people that care about you. Whether it is your close friends, or your workmates, or your children, your nieces or nephews. You are impacting others.
And I think that when we can open up to a sense of connection, and community, and love for some of us. That word is a good fit,
and we can show up in the fullness of ourselves,
and that might be through or art, or sport, or performance, or being in
Or completely having this divine relationship of partnering with our garden, or our farm. Or, we can work in the most mundane jobs and still be living a purposeful life. Because it is about the opening up to the connection with ourselves and an authentic relationship with ourselves. And showing up in the fullness of our own authenticity in whatever it is that we do.
Whether you’re you work in admin. You work in retail. You work in the family home.
So I don’t know that it matters so much what we do. But what matters is that we can open up to an experience of connection with the deeper self and a deeper sense of life itself. And you might not be able to put that in words, right? Because that experience of life is beyond the personal, and so it’s really hard to put into words.
So we often think of our life purpose as being connected to our job, our career, or our business. But it absolutely does not have to be. It might be connected to who and how you are in nature, how you are with your pets, how you show up with your neighbors. It could be in the most simple forms. And I think when all is said and done, and it is time for us to leave our physical body and we, we move away from our physical existence, right?
And we look over our life. It’s not so much. The work that we did, or the career that we chose, or the lack of career that we chose. It’s the relationships that we’ve had with other people. It’s the joy, and the fun, and the care, and the consideration, or the sometimes when we’ve accidentally hurt other people, when things haven’t gone well.
That, of course, I don’t believe that we are punished for that at all, but that we might look at, and consider, and conceive of our time on this planet through that lens. And so if, if that is the case, and none of us know. Right? Truly, we don’t. Because even people who have had near death experiences and have come back, we don’t know how far down the rabbit hole they’ve gone, because they’ve come back.
But if that is the case,
then what you choose to do
doesn’t necessarily have a massive, massive significance.
Especially if you are not called to something very strongly. And I think that’s a difficult piece. For women, you know, if we’re not called to do something really strongly, then we feel like we’re missing out on our life purpose. But what if your life purpose is about learning to really love yourself?
From the inside out. To be the most authentic, self compassionate, Version of you for you. What if that is your purpose? And so many times we measure that against somebody who has a very public profile in their work, in their purpose. And we think that we are falling short, but we are not. Right? Because
in that case, we’re measuring it through the ego’s eyes. Through the human’s eyes and through the human’s perception.
But what if we’ve got it all wrong? And a life well lived is not based on that.
But a life well lived is based on your own unique fingerprint energetic template
that you have perhaps even somehow chosen. And you might think, well, mine isn’t as important or significant as someone else’s. But again, I say that that is through the eyes of our human perception. And we want to look at this from the thousand mile view, right? Of being human, of living our life. And from that perspective, beyond the personal,
the big celebrity career or the big. Famous, whatever,
is just as valued, just as valued
as the parent who raises the child and learns to love themselves to the best of their ability. Because there is no big or small when we go beyond looking at it from the viewpoint of our human brains and our human understanding of what it means to be a human, right?
There’s no big or small. If you feel like your life is mundane and not important and insignificant,
Then imagine if you were the creator of all of life, right? And this creator of all of life, so not necessarily a religious god, but it might be, if that’s, you know, up your alley, looked at all of their beautiful humans on this planet.
Do you think they would love, this creator of all of life, would love one person over another based on what they do? No, of course not. Because each human being, no matter what they do, no matter what their outcomes, no matter what their achievements, successes or not, is like
a water droplet in this beautiful ocean of humanity. And that is you, and that is me. No matter what we do with our life.
And so if that’s the case, then how can I feel more engaged in a sense of meaning, purpose and value? So if you’ve bought into my hypothesis around life purpose so far, then you might be asking, well great, okay, I’m buying it, but now what? How do I feel like I’m more engaged in my purpose, in a sense of meaning, connected to my values?
So, I have some little journal prompts, I think, some questions you can ask yourself, that you can ponder. And it’s, honestly, it’s not so much about coming up with the answer as it is Paying attention to what these questions stimulate inside of us, and what grows inside of us as we consider these for ourselves.
So we can ask ourselves these lived questions, we can journal about them, I’ll put them in the notes of this podcast, you can just go to my website to check it out. What activities or moments bring me the deepest sense of fulfilment? Reflect on those moments when you feel most alive and content. Is it when you’re connecting with others, learning, helping, or, you know, experiencing something specific?
How do my values align or clash with my daily choices and actions? So consider some of your core values and whether you’ve written them down or you’ve stated them to others, you’ll know what they are, you’ll have a sense of what they are. So that question moves us to, are you living in alignment with these values in your everyday decisions, relationships and commitments?
And if not, what, what in that area needs to start to change?
And what impact do I want to have on myself and others around me?
How do you want to either inspire, support those closest to you?
Because that is where we can open up to our purpose.
ANd lastly, am I open to embracing change and growth, and how can I nurture my personal evolution? So I think this is really key, because if we do want to open up to more of a sense of purpose, remembering it’s not a destination that we’re going to get to, but if I can open up to that a little more, then I’m probably going to have to do some things differently or some different things.
And that can be the fastest way to create change in my life, is just to do something, even if it’s small, but do it. Do something in my routine very differently, like change it up, go and do something else, meet a new group of people, go and do a new activity. It’s a very quick way of creating freshness and change in our lives.
And it also reminds our brain that change is good. Especially if you’re feeling stuck. Just get out there and do one different thing. It’ll start to create a ripple effect in your life where things will start to change.
And so these questions open the doorway for us for self reflection and a deeper connection with who we are.
And to summarize, I think that we have been Let up the garden path when it comes to life purpose that it really should not all be about achievement and outcome focused or success necessarily in an external way. That life purpose is connected to purpose meaning and value and that it can be much more close to home much more about our intimate Community, relationships, and not so much about external success, that there is no measurement of goodness in terms of success on this planet, i.
- I might have what seems like a very, Small, mundane life compared to somebody who’s really, really well known and a celebrity, well that is not measured in any way other than through our, the eyes of our ego, right? But that doesn’t mean that that is the truth. So there’s no, there’s no point measuring my life with somebody else’s and wishing I had somebody else’s life because I came in here with this particular energetic template and this is the life that is unfolding for me.
So my task is to live it as best I can. Given the current circumstances, my inherited patterns and traumas, where I’ve been born, the people I’ve grown up with, etc, etc, that midlife is a beautiful time to create change and be able to open up to a deeper sense of purpose in our life. Because of the hormonal changes and fluctuations that are happening in perimenopause and menopause, your brain gets to go through an upgrade.
And part of that upgrade can be about really sinking in and bedding in to a sense of your purpose. Why you are here. Remembering that we’re looking at it through that very different structure. Now
and lastly that this is one of my favorite things to talk about with women I think the more we talk about it the more we open up the more we can maybe express our dissatisfaction for where we are in our life right now or how disconnected or connected we feel with our purpose and that we can you know Have it reflected back to us that actually there’s a massive variety of meaning of purpose on this planet and one is not more valuable than the other.
It is about how we connect with it and own it and live authentically. In our lives, with the purpose that is arising through us, and that is really what I hope for you, my friend, is that you can have some sense of that for yourself, however that is showing up for you, and that, You know that you are worthy and that you are so, so valued.
All right, my friends have fun exploring around life purpose, reframing and recontextualizing. Hope that’s been really enjoyable and given you a bit of food for thought and can’t wait to talk to you again next week. Bye for now.