Personal Life Coaching For Finding Purpose In Life — And Thriving!
"Life owes us little; we owe it everything.- William Cowper
The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose."
What's Our Purpose In Life?
That's a question many of my clients ask. And it's a good one. But it can sometimes get in the way of of actually finding your life's purpose.
Why? Because, instead of experimenting and exploring — trying things that matter to them - many people read books and articles and take magazine or website tests to try and figure out what their purpose in life is — and fail to focus on creating what most deeply matters to them.
As well as helping clients clarify what matters, I also teach them how to create — to bring into being — things they care about and want to see exist. As they begin to master the creating skills and structure, several important things begin to happen.
First, because their competence in creating desired results increases, so does their confidence. And it's a deep and authentic confidence: feeling good about doing well.
Then, as they scale up to creating larger and more complex results, both competence and condidence soar. And they get clearer about what matters.
Gradually, clarity about their highest aspirations and deepest desires emerges. As it does, so does the anser to the question, "What's my purpose in life?"
Equipped with the skills and structure of creating and filled with newfound confidence, they have the courage to ask and answer that question. And the competence to act on it — to turn their visions into reality!
So, What's My Purpose In Life?
I am writer and personal life coach (success coach, life design coach) and have been for most of the last 25 years.
My purpose is to help people develop the skills and structure to create what matters most to them, and give their most important gifts to the world.
But, it hasn't always been that clear. For a few years, back in the '90's, I was a successful Organizational Design Consultant. It paid much more than coaching, but it wasn't a path with heart for me. So I gave it up and focused clear on coaching, which did have heart.
And to get to this place of purpose, I took a lot of twists and turns as I explored and experimented with what really mattered to me. So, I'd like to share with you how I found (or rather, created) my purpose in life.
From the time I was 17, I was concerned with finding my life's purpose and work that would support it. As I grew older and more experienced, I realized that if my life was to be purpose driven, I might have to create my purpose for myself.
Although I live a simple yet rich and flourishing life as a writer and personal life coach in beautiful Victoria, BC, the path I took to get here was full of interesting twists and turns. So, I'd also like to share how I discovered (created?) and then committed to that purpose and created the life and work that matters most to me.
And I'd like to show you how that helps me help YOU find your purpose in life and create what matters to you.
My Interest in Prevention and Empowerment
I started professional life as a Criminologist. I thought I would find my life's purpose in prison reform and rehabilitation. But a job as Court Counselor in Juvenile and Family Court convinced me that the purpose of my life would be found more in prevention and empowerment than in remediation.
I wanted to focus on positive approaches, not negatives. I soon learned that working with delinquents and criminals was not my purpose in life. So I went back to school, got another degree, and became a high school teacher.
My Joy and Frustration in Teaching School
The next step on my journey to find life's purpose was teaching in a public high school.
I loved teaching. I loved kids. I loved the challenge. I was told that I was good at it. However, the system wanted me to teach school more than teach kids. I felt that system had a powerful, narrow and not so healthy influence on my young charges. I feared they were not learning to live healthy, productive, and creative lives.
Wanting to empower kids to create successful, purpose-filled lives, I enrolled in a Master's of Education degree program at the University of Calgary. Later, I taught high school again. During my second year back in the classroom the debilitating depression described in my Emotional Mastery eBook set in.
I quit teaching, enrolled in a Master's of Environmental Design program, but didn't stick with it. Instead, I joined a local think tank and began developing experiential education programs to empower teens and adults. (More about that in a moment.) Still later, I taught and supervised student teachers at Simon Fraser University.
Gradually, I realized the school system was not easily changed. I realized that finding my purpose was not going to be as easy as I'd hoped it would be. During this time, depression and anxiety plagued me, causing me to question even more deeply that life purpose that I so desperately sought.
Experiences in Personal and Environmental Exploration
Success in my purpose seeking quest took a leap forward when I lucked into a job designing environmental education programs for the Rocky Mountain YMCA. I later became a Co-Director of the Y's Leadership Camp.
I met and befriended Steve Van Matre, founder of the Institute for Earth Education (IEE). Steve taught me to design and develop high standard experiential education programs that were fun, engaging, and based on tried and true science and engaging experiential learning principles. Eventually I became IEE's Senior Trainer.
Shifting from institutional to experiential education opened new worlds for me. I found I could have a more powerful learning effect in a 3-week wilderness program than in a year of high school. Just as I thought my purpose in life would be in environmental education, I met Ken Low, Director of the Action Studies Institute (ASI) in Calgary, the experiential learning think tank I mentioned above.
As an Associate of ASI, I added self-empowerment to environmental education. I designed experiential learning programs such as Earthways: Experiences in Personal and Environmental Exploration that combined ASI's character-building approach with IEE's ecological understanding. Earthways was a huge success and creating it was one of the highlights of my life.
I also helped design Freedom Skills programs that helped people develop the "generic" - high-order, transferable — skills to move from "freedom from" to "freedom to." By developing self-empowerment and self-management skills such as initiative, purpose, patience, perseverance, and creativity, our programs both engaged and empowered kids and adults. This is when I began to suspect that my elusive life purpose would be less about finding it and more about creating it.
The highlight of this part of my life was becoming Director of Yamnuska Mountain School in Canmore, AB in the CanadianRockies.
During my 6 years with Yamnuska, I took it from a small, money-losing YMCA program to a private mountain skills and leadership school earning a quarter million dollars a year and a reputation as as one of the best of its kind in North America.
I also taught myself how to be an entrepreneur, business leader and mentor. YMS became Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and is still one of the best mountain skills and leadership programs in North America.
Creating and the Path of Least Resistance
While researching the skills and principles of creating for a leadership and character development contract with ASI, I came across the work of Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance. My ability to create my life purpose took an giant leap forward. Robert became my mentor in creating the kind and quality of life I truly wanted.
Understanding the creative process offered me a radically different approach to producing results than did problem solving. I trained and worked with Robert Fritz and with his wife Rosalind for nine years, developing mastery in creating what matters most. The skills and structure for creating almost anything greatly added to my ability to shift my primary focus from a problem-driven "freedom from" stance to a results-driven, creating-based stance that was focused on "freedom to." Freedom to create what matters.
I became a leading trainer in the areas of personal, professional and organizational creativity. I did workshops for small start-ups and Fortune 500 giants. I coached executive teams, professionals, artists and single moms.
I helped individuals master their own creative process and create purpose driven lives work, and relationships. Working with Fritz, I learned that life's purpose tends to emerge and get clearer as we focus on creating what we truly want in our lives and work.
Creating Purpose in Life – What Matters Most to Me
Creating what matters most in life, work, and relationships now seemed to me to be the best way of finding life's purpose. Or, rather, I should say creating my own life purpose!
Along the way to sorting all this out, I started to write. Slowly, I realized writing and teaching people how to create were what most mattered to me. I was glad to be clarifying my life purpose, but something was still missing.
I wanted to empower individuals to create simple, rich and successful lives. And I wanted to write about that process as well as do, teach and coach folks in it. But there was more. As I got deeper into both writing and creating, I saw I'd traveled full circle.
As T.S. Elliot said in The Four Quartets, "At the end of all our exploration, we shall arrive at where we started, and know that place for the first time."
I connected a circle that started with empowerment and teaching, moved to experiential and Earth Education, then to creating what matters, and finally to writing as a way to empower others. I realized that I most wanted to write and coach in ways that helped people create rich yet simple, full and flourishing lives.
I wanted to coach and write about creating truly successful lives that are lived in harmony with the basic ecological systems on which life and all of our health, wealth, success, and well being depend.
I've been blessed with the opportunity to find something I love and create a life that shows it. I take advantage of that opportunity and try my best to practice what I preach. I look out for ways to improve what I do. I learn; I grow. I enjoy!
I'm deeply grateful I've been able to create my own purpose in life. I'm grateful that I'm able to create what matters most to me and to live a simple yet rich and flourishing life as a personal life coach. Victoria, BC is a lovely base from which to work and live.
I'm also deeply grateful that the lessons I've learned along my winding road to finding purpose give me the insight, patience and skills I need to help empower other people in creating what matters most to them.
And I'm most grateful that others appreciate what I do.
Need Help Finding Your Life Purpose?
If you're looking for a personal life coach or a success coach that can help you find your purpose in life, please consider me and my creating purpose in life approach. You might find that your own path with heart much quicker and easier than I did. For more info, check the box below