5 Phases of Living Your Purpose to the Fullest

How confident are you in knowing your life purpose? How intentional and effective are you at living your life purpose?

Let’s start with a quiz! Which statement below best describes you?

  1. Not even sure I have one or am worth having one

During my love affair with purpose discovery back in my 20’s, my view on life purpose was pretty simple.

You knew your purpose or you didn’t.

And if you knew it, it meant you somehow knew your path to get there. And that was that.

Well… it turns out that with emotions, desires, circumstances, goals — maybe living out your purpose and calling is a little more complex than that.

Not everyone I met cared about having a purpose or not.

Some single friends who were certain they knew their purpose — to get married and raise kids — were really struggling because their life wasn’t lining up that way.

Other friends who thought they had chosen the college degree or career that was meant for them were realizing they were longing for a different lifestyle or impact.

Yet others knew what they wanted in life and had the discipline to keep moving towards their goals with joy and satisfaction that was inspiring.

Over the years, as I coached clients around their goals and their sense of purpose, I began to realize five phases in living our purpose to the fullest. Each of these stages has its own arena of awareness, ownership and action required for growth.

SO what are these 5 phases?

1 — LONGING / The Survival Phase

It’s time for a new level of awareness in your purpose or it’s time to dream when you often feel:
trapped
useless
listless
empty
restless
less-than
underutilized

When you recognize these feelings YOUR BEST NEXT STEP is to shed your comfort as a victim or bystander in your life.

Of course, this is easy to say. The reason we don’t is because of what we believe about ourselves and what’s possible both within and beyond our limitations.

When you open up to EXPLORE who you are when you’re at your best and what could be POSSIBLE for you so you can change the story you’re living.

2- RECOGNITION / The Discovery Phase

In this second phase of living your purpose to the fullest, you begin moving from tolerance and passivity to curious exploration:

  • make space for self-awareness,

YOUR BEST NEXT STEP in this discovery phase is first, to be honest with and kind to yourself.

Second, recognize both the new possibilities as well what goodness has been right in front of you all along.

Third, begin identifying options you want to consider.

3 — INVITATION / The Calling Phase

In this third phase of LIVING YOUR PURPOSE to the FULLEST, out of all the options and problems in our world, you tune into a growing awareness of

  • an idea, burden or drive that won’t go away

YOUR BEST NEXT STEP in this calling phase is to create a quiet space to tune into this invitation that’s emerging from. You could journal your exploration of this dream — how, what, where, who, when? Then write down the obstacles and fears and brainstorm options for addressing each one.

4 — ACCEPTANCE / The Mission Phase

Photo by Matthieu Jungfer on Unsplash

Merely knowing your purpose can give you a sense of SECURITY, assurance and belonging. You tend to feel more at PEACE with yourself for a time. Because you believe in yourself differently, you’re EXCITED about the potential and possibilities you never noticed before.

BUT…

the glow of basking in your sense of purpose will wain if you don’t take action.

In this phase, it’s important to:

  • accept that “call” by putting new rhythms into motion

Teachability and humble confidence and action go along way in this phase!

5 — BECOMING / The Aligning Phase

Photo by Uby Yanes on Unsplash

After accepting and owning your mission, it’s time to grow in your understanding of how to accomplish the dream, mission or project that’s the expression of your purpose.

As you learn what you need to know and what skills to develop to carry out your mission, you find others who are doing something similar. You discover how many different ways there are of carrying out the same mission — whether it’s

  • leading a group of people

Your approach might to to try #allthethings and wind up discouraged about not getting consistent results. Or maybe you’re invigorated to the point of overwhelm because what you’re trying is actually moving forward.

At some point, you realize you need to align your focus and actions with the kind of fulfilling life, impact and pace you want to experience.

Spiritually, it’s called formation.
In business, it’s often called scaling or up-leveling.
In personal growth, it’s called maturing.
In leadership, it’s called development.

In this phase you’re

  • acknowledging what doesn’t energize you the same way

Which phase are you in?

What I have found reassuring is knowing that I can ease in and out of these phases throughout my life. Life isn’t measured by how long you’re stuck in one or achieving Phase 5 status, but by how well you’re growing through the lessons in each one.

I‘m a mom, purpose coach and author of Dare to Decide: Discovering Peace, Clarity and Courage at Life’s Crossroads (July 2020).

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