I hear these terms a lot. Often from people who say that they work with values-led, purpose-driven people.
I love working with values-led, purpose-driven people. But it’s a rarity. Because people who truly are led by their values and driven by their purpose don’t often need my services to support their confidence and self-belief.
Because when you know your values so well that you live by them daily, your confidence is automatically high. It’s when you’re not clear about your values, and therefore not able to live by them that your confidence is affected.
It’s the same with your purpose. If you know what your purpose is and are using it to create your life, your business or your relationships, then you already know how great it feels.
I’m here for you instead if you would LOVE to be so familiar with your values that you were living by them in every moment of every day. I’m here for you if you want the ability to use your personal values to help you to make every day decisions, both the big and the small. I’m here for you if you are ready to live your values so clearly that other people could tell you what they were because you demonstrate them all of the time.
I’m here for you too if you don’t have a clue what your life’s purpose is.
This was a big one for me. I tried and tried to find my life’s purpose. When I discovered it, I had to laugh because it was so obvious and I’d been trying so hard to find it that I’d missed it. It’s like when you can’t find your keys because you are desperately trying to find them and you’re in a rush, and if you just slowed down you’d be able to see that they were right there all along, where they always are, you just couldn’t see for looking.
So, how do you know if you’re values-led and purpose-driven?
Can you tell me what your top three values are? And can you then tell me all of the ways in which you demonstrated them last week?
You might have identified your values when you had a designer to look at your branding. Or you might have chosen values that you aspire to, even if you don’t really feel like you’re there yet.
I’ve worked in organisations that had everyone list their company’s values on email signatures and on official documents and had us learn them as part of our induction. After that though, the values were never seen again and certainly not embedded into the culture of the business in any meaningful way.
When I’ve worked with leaders and asked them about how they demonstrate their values to their teams by their actions, I have often been met with blank faces.
Your values say a lot about you. They demonstrate the sort of person you are, and by doing so, show people whether you’re the sort of person that they want to do business with.
When you live by your values, you can be completely and utterly yourself.
Are you being completely and utterly yourself in your business? Are you so free from doubts and concerns about the judgements of others that you can be fearlessly ‘all-in’ with your business because you know that the way you operate is perfect for you and your clients?
Yes? Fabulous! Keep going and know that I am cheering you on!!
No? I’ve got you!
Identifying your values should be a fun thing to do. Ask 5 people who know you really well to describe you in 5 words and to give you a reason for each of their choices. Notice how you feel about each of their responses.
Then spend some time thinking about and feeling into what you value most about yourself, and what’s most important to you in your life and in your business, and what makes you happiest. There shouldn’t be much difference between your life values and your business values if you have created a business that truly reflects you.
And don’t worry if you can’t do this by yourself. I’m happy to spend some time working through this with you. Because believe me, once you know what really matters to you, making decisions becomes a whole lot easier, so you won’t get stuck in procrastination or self-doubt because you’ll be operating on a whole new level of confidence that won’t be slowed down by self-doubt and imposter syndrome!
I’ve also got some values written down in a document so if you’d like me to send you a copy of that to get you started, please email me at zoe@zoecarroll to ask for it and I will gladly share it.
And as for your life’s purpose?
Many go in search for it, wandering the World in search of themselves and their true calling.
I’m not adverse to having an adventure to help you find your purpose, but you don’t actually have to go anywhere to find it.
That’s because your purpose doesn’t exist outside of you. It exists within you.
So perhaps if you go on a journey, you can quieten down the background noise enough to hear the voice inside you that whispers ‘this is me’.
And when you can tune in to your inner voice, it will gladly tell you that your life’s purpose is the same as everyone else’s and at the same time, unique to you.
I’m not talking in riddles, but it’s my belief that the purpose of each of us is to live as the truest, fullest expression of ourselves, whatever that looks like for each of us.
How do you know that you are being the truest, fullest expression of yourself?
You will be at ease with yourself. You will love what you do and the impact that you have on other people around you – you will be using your unique talents and skills in a way that brings you joy and serves others – and you won’t be comparing your life to anyone else’s, because you’ll be enjoying leading your own life so much.
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is, but don’t be fooled into thinking that just because it’s simple it’s also easy.
Just like trying to be aware of your own breathing without changing it in any way is a challenge.
The moment we bring our conscious awareness to something that our subconscious was doing perfectly well without our conscious interference, we alter it.
The reason we feel at ease when we are living with purpose is that our subconscious is doing the heavy lifting. If you follow the path of what feels ‘right’ you’ll be taking the directive from your subconscious. Doing the thing that feels ‘right’ won’t always feel like the easiest thing to do, but it will come with a feeling that you’re doing what you should be. If you wake up in the morning and dread doing what your day entails, you probably need to listen to your inner wisdom to get yourself back on track.
When you’re using your unique skills and talents in a way that brings you joy, you’ll know you’re on the right path. All of our emotions have a unique reason for being there. Most of them are to warn us about something, but the reason that we have joy is as a guiding light to tell us to keep everything exactly as it is. Consider the times that you have felt real joy in your life. You’ve probably wanted the moment to last forever, to drink it all in and to keep it in your mind as a moment of perfection. You might have even said aloud ‘ I wish it could stay like this forever’.
When was the last time you felt like this in your work?
I knew it was time to leave the education profession when even the parts of the job that used to bring me such joy stopped delivering the same feeling. Now I feel my sense of joy when I coach clients and see the changes in them that have a positive impact on their lives. I’m back on my path again.
If we are using our skills and talents to serve ourselves but not serving others as well, we will likely feel a lack of fulfilment. We are a social species, designed to connect with others. We produce feel-good chemicals when we interact positively with other people, so a life that makes you wealthy or successful but doesn’t help anyone else will feel like it lacks something. Our purpose isn’t just about us. It includes our contribution and our impact on others.
When we feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and have a place in that wider community, we can feel safe, and this feeds that sense of ease that we have when we are living with purpose. We feel a sense of awe when we look out at an open view, an enormous tree or the night sky. That sense of awe lets us know that we are part of the bigger picture, not separate from it, like individual waves in the sea, we appear to be separate for a while, but are really part of something much greater. Perhaps when we go looking for our life purpose, we are looking to experience the awe that reminds us we aren’t on our own in our life’s purpose and that all of our expertise and talents are needed for us all to succeed.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is the quote that I live my life by. (I talk about this in an interview I did with Stacey Macdonald about how I fought my way back to happiness from rock bottom, you can listen to it here).
We can be happily living our life, doing our thing, and we look to one side and see someone else appearing to achieve more, and our own success instantly diminishes. When you’re living in the flow of your own purpose, you realise that everyone is in their own flow, and that although their flow rate might be different at that particular moment to yours, you’re not in a race, so it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t detract from your success that someone else also has success when you’re fully in your purpose-driven way of living. If you can allow others to achieve without feeling diminished by it, you’re in your own flow, all you have to do is stay there and not allow envy to bump you out of it.
This was the hardest lesson for me to learn – and it’s still a work in progress. It’s a strange thing to be wholeheartedly cheering on my fellow business owners’ latest success with them, and also notice a little pang of envy about their latest income achievement or dreamy client to work with.
These days I use this as a sign that perhaps I am envious because what they have is inspiring me to see what’s possible for me. If it’s just good old fashioned jealousy, I can easily let that go now.
When you’re purpose-led, you know what success looks like for you, because the purpose is to get you to the success, and then stay in the flow so that you continue to feel successful.
Often we are sold the lie that we will only be successful when we achieve something or reach a particular milestone. Don’t listen to the noise of other people’s definitions of success, because it’ll create comparison and you’ll immediately lose your own joy.
So there you have it, my humble opinion on the matter of being purpose-driven.
I encourage you to look through the checklist again and check whether you are being driven by your own purpose, or someone else’s.
- Are you feeling at ease with yourself?
- Do you love what you do and the impact you have on those around you?
- Are you using your unique talents and skills in a way that brings you joy and serves others?
- Are you able to resist comparing yourself to others?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this so please get in touch to let me know about anything this has made you think or feel!
With love and purpose,