I’ve been reading the book Life on Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life by Dr. Brad Swift. The first time through I read through the book, fascinated with the new ideas on a purposeful life. The next time I did the exercises on creating a life purpose, taking care of the blocks to creating your purpose and now I am playing with the tools of life purpose.
I was able to interview Brad for the his Blog Book Tour (You can read more insights on purpose, see reviews of the book and visit other interesting blogs at the Book Tour Link).
Beth: When I coach, I often help clients simplify their lives to make room for helping them find meaning and purpose. In your book you mention that simplicity is a by product of finding your purpose. How do you use life purpose for simplifying?
Brad: Great question, Beth. I do find that there’s a synergistic effect that exists between purpose and simplicity. As you point out, for many people it’s important to first simplify their life to give them enough time for the quiet reflection that’s so important in becoming clear about their purpose.
Once they begin to gain that clarity of purpose, then that purpose can then be used to further simplify one’s life since it serves as a guiding light directing the person to what matters most. So, with clarity of purpose, we can determine what opportunities that are presented to us are most ‘in the beam’ of our life purpose, and which are ‘out of the beam.’
Of course, there’s a bit of a paradox here — a purposeful paradox. Pretty much anything and everything we do can be poured into the context of our life purpose, and thus be shaped by that purpose, but it does seem to me that people are naturally drawn to certain ways of expressing their life purpose — those ‘in the beam’ activities. And so, our lives become naturally more simple in design as we choose that which is most consistent with our life purpose and let go of the rest. This can include relationships that fall away, to later be replaced by new relationships that are more consistent with who we truly are.
This simplification process doesn’t have to be forced. If we allow it, it will happen naturally over time, especially if we’ll trust the process.
Beth: Right, simplifying from purpose is a deeper process than just decluttering and reorganizing your time. It’s about what you allow in your life and that usually takes trial and error. Evaluating what is working and what isn’t. And often that changes as you change.
I love how you wrote that your life purpose isn’t about doing, jobs, or your roles. How is your definition different than many definitions of life purpose?
Brad: In many ways, I see this rethinking and redefining about life purpose as foundational to the Life On Purpose Process that is outlined in my book, Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life.
So many people take the view that a life purpose is what we’re meant to do while alive. When we operate from this “cultural perspective” it can lead to a life filled with “doingness” sometimes to the point of overwhelm, but often what is still missing is a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
I believe it’s time for us to redefine how we view what a life purpose is to a more holistic perspective, what I term the Life On Purpose Perspective, that states that a life purpose is the context, vessel, or container into which we pour our lives. This vessel, being composed of our core values, our vision for what’s possible and the very essence of who we are as spiritual beings, all of which is bound together with Universal Love or our spiritual nature, has the power to then shape ALL of our life, including all that we do.
Said another way, our life purpose is who we are as spiritual beings and what we came here to be and to experience. Radical thinking perhaps. Certainly a way of thinking that can transform our lives.
We hear of “searching” for our life purpose, instead you suggest creating your life purpose. What is the drawback of searching for your purpose?
Brad: Another good point you bring to light. So many of us can get caught up in the “endless search mode” trying to find our life purpose out there in the world somewhere, that we spend most of our life searching for it in all the wrong places, and miss the joy of living our life purpose.
Or, we can also fall into a similar trap of searching for our life purpose within ourselves. We’re closer to the mark here, but once again, we can spend a lot of time searching and searching. But I believe we have all been given the freedom of choice, the ability to choose and to create our lives, including creating the context that will shape our lives.
Of course, this can be pretty daunting to many people, especially if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, which is why in the 4th Passage of the Life On Purpose Process, we have the Prime Your Passion Exercise that will guide people through this creating process.
Beth: I found that exercise excellent and encouraging.
Brad: I’ve been so blessed to be able to offer the Life On Purpose Process to the world, and I thank you for your questions and for the opportunity for me to express my own life purpose by sharing this possibility with your readers.
I am really excited to share this as well. I don’t want people stuck searching and searching for a life purpose, thinking, “Maybe something is wrong with me”, and “Maybe I really don’t have a purpose,” or “What if I pick the wrong purpose?”
We can create our purpose (Brad has some helpful questions and exercises in the book) – a purpose more about being than doing. And we can change, tweak, and polish our purpose as we learn and grow.
Until you create your purpose, it will be easy to fall into the too busy, too much stuff and not enough of a fulfilling life.
The book: Life on Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life by Dr. Brad Swift.