Finding your Purpose… this is a challenge that most people face at different times throughout their lives, but this 750 year old tree might be able inspire you!
Whether you are a teenager looking for an initial direction in your life, an adult feeling hemmed in by a job that seems to be stifling your spirit, a parent feeling lost and lonely in an empty nest, or an older citizen looking for a way to fill your day in a meaningful way – at sometime we all bump up against the problem of nailing down exactly what our purpose in life is.
During yesterday’s European Fresh Start Call, hosted by Life Path Unlimited leaders Kerrianne Cartmer-Edwards and Mandy Swift, I realised that we humans are dynamic creatures – always changing, always growing. As the sun rises and sets, we become more experienced and complex creatures and so our goals are constantly morphing to mirror our experiences.
Recently we visited the 750 year old Boab Tree in Kings Park (pictured above). This tree has an amazing story to tell. Several years ago, it was found that the tree was standing in the path of a proposed new highway. Rather than chopping down and discarding the tree, it was dug up and transported by road 3,500km, from the far north of Western Australia, to its new home in the Botanical gardens in the southern city of Perth. The amazing thing is that journey was a logistical triumph, requiring a smoking ceremony and blessing from the local Aboriginal people who held a deep spiritual connection to the tree in its original site, a fleet of trucks to transport the precious cargo, the police to clear the roads for the 7 day trip, helicopters and media coverage, local residents lining the route to witness the unusual procession, and an army of horticultural experts to ensure the tree survived the journey.
What is truly amazing is that this gentle giant, not only survived its arduous road trip and the stress of adapting to a very different climate, two years later it is now sprouting new leaves and is thriving in its new home.
On a personal level, I see this big old tree as a metaphor for my own life. I have done many things in my life, I have worked in many different jobs – from washing dishes to running a bar, from working in Intensive Care Units to sailing square-rigged sailing ships – and I’ve lived in many different places… non of which were inherently “wrong”. Yes, some stops were brief – at times I learned my lessons and moved on quickly. Some adventures were longer and more profound. Each experience seemed to weave into the next like a tapestry. Like the branches of that tree, each experience served its purpose, and when the time came, changes needed to be made – like the seasonal pruning of the branches that helps the tree to flourish when the spring comes.
THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR PURPOSE:
With this tree in mind, there are several simple steps you can take that will help you Find Your Purpose:
1. SET GOALS & REVIEW THEM REGULARLY:
Our goals change over time – they have to, because WE change over time. My goals are nothing like they were 20 years ago, and I’d hazard a guess that yours wouldn’t be either. Central to finding our purpose is to continually review our goals. Daily, Weekly, Monthly… when you know where you’re going, the actions that you take today will get you there much quicker, if they are aligned with your overall goals.
2. APPROACH EVERY MOMENT ASKING “WHAT IS POSSIBLE?”
Asking “What is Possible” is a wonderful way to approach any situation. What is possible in this day? What is possible in this situation? What is possible in this meeting, call or presentation? What is possible in this date? What is possible in this conversation? What is possible in this moment? When we approach our lives, moment-by-moment, from this perspective, knowing that there is nothing inherently “wrong” in our lives, and it opens your mind to the wealth of possibilities that surround you at any given time.
3. CONNECT TO YOUR PASSIONS:
What do you LOVE to do? What makes your heart SING? What puts a smile on your lips AND in your heart? You are the only one who can honestly answer this. It makes no difference what you answer – I’ve heard millions of responses, from reading books, to building paper planes, from polishing the silver cutlery to designing weird and wonderful sculptures. The difference here is once you recognise your passions, you need to find a way to make a living doing something related to that. The answer probably won’t come immediately, but if you keep asking, you WILL get the answer.
The first part of the journey of life is to discover who you are, what you love to do and where you want to go. The second part is to get out there and DO IT!
The PURPOSE of the tree is to grow towards the sun!
The purpose of your life is for you to Reach Your True Potential.