I wanted to write some more about purpose and the connection in life between between Purpose, Happiness and Results. I feel so passionately about this as it will determine the quality of our lives from now on.
A question for you….How fulfilled and engaged are you in your work or, if you are not in work, in your life overall? Over the summer I have been have been researching ideas by other writers such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, world famous psychologist who wrote the book ‘The State of Flow’ and the causes of happiness, academics such as Paul Hannam and coach Mickey Feher who recently wrote on a similar topic. I was shocked to find a survey by Gallup in 2013 found that a massive 71% of US workers are not engaged or actively disengaged from their job. In the UK, the CIPD found that 70% of workers in the public sector are disengaged – so different countries and similar results. I wonder what impact this has on their general state of health and happiness? I would argue a significant impact.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that behind happiness there is a state called FLOW. Flow is built on simple things like clear goals, direct and immediate feedback, balance between ability and challenge, sense of personal control over the situation and an intrinsically rewarding activity. I wonder, what makes something intrinsically rewarding to you? The answer is always something that is important to you, in other words, it is aligned to your personal values. Think about the work that has made you most happy. Or the activities in life that make you most happy? Why was this? Which of your core values were being satisfied?
Here is an activity to help you get started.The first step is to challenge yourself – are you fully engaged in your work or your life generally? Is it aligned with what you are most passionate about? Are you being truly authentic?
One way to discover the real reason you get out of bed in the morning (as opposed to the reason you want it to be or tell yourself it is) requires first imagining that you can give up the pursuit of any goal, task or activity that doesn’t engage you or bring you happiness. What would be on this list? Which things wouldn’t you jettison from your life? Add these to a second list. Somewhere on this second list lies the real answer.
- To continue the thought experiment, now peel away what’s left on the second list, one item at a time and pause to evaluate how its loss makes you feel. It requires a strong imagination to effectively visualise your work without the things on your list. Being without a goal or activity can often bring you the most clarity about its importance.
- Now reflect on what is left on the list and ask yourself how you are fulfilling these needs in yourself from the inside out.
I have developed a model of change called the ‘8 Attitudes of the Successful Mid-Life Woman’. In today’s newsletter we have been studying an introduction to Attitude no. 1 – I Live My Life On Purpose. An introduction to the others will follow over the next 7 weeks
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