Did you ever see that film “The Matrix”? For those of you that haven’t, or need reminding, everyone is plugged into a virtual reality world called the “Matrix” without knowing it. They are not aware that their bodies are somewhere different and they are living in their thoughts. Their thoughts are exactly how most of us experience life; the general rat race and stresses that we face on a daily basis. Essentially, our bodies are in one place, but our mind is usually somewhere totally different.
Within the Matrix, there are a small minority of people that seem to break the rules, do what they like, be whoever they want, learn whatever they want…. their lives are limitless!
Now, although this is a crazy sci-fi movie, metaphorically it resonates deeply with me, about our lives and the real world. Most of us are all guilty of getting sucked into our work filled lives and not questioning what we’re doing or where we’re going. A select few will be the rule breakers and will appear to have the best lives in the world. People will use words like “lucky” (usually with more than a hint of jealousy) to describe them and see them as anomalies that can’t quite be explained.
But what if it could….
Firstly, to clarify, when I talk about these people that fit into the “anomaly” category, I’m not talking about the super wealthy or the people with the most glamourous jobs. I’m talking about those people that are doing what lights them up every day. Their work doesn’t seem like work as they love it. They have endless drive, passion and enthusiasm. It’s as if they are living their purpose!
I’m talking about living a fulfilled life and not settling for anything less!
Please don’t get me wrong, you may already be living your version of a fulfilled life and if so, you have my utmost respect and awe! But for most of us, the questions just start to mount up. I know they did for me, when I was asked what my purpose was, or what my version of a fulfilled life would be. Those questions felt so utterly confusing to me. My mind countered with responses such as “how do we know what our purpose is, surely it’s just the job we have at the time and any responsibilities we have? And in terms of thinking about a fulfilled life, well that just seems like dreaming for the sake of it. We all do our best to make some money and live a good life”.
Well my friends... “good” is the enemy of “great”
Good, means that we feel comfortable with what we’ve got. We can make do with good, so why risk it? Good breeds complacency when we look at how spectacular our lives could really be.
Since being a client, going through coaching training and continuing to be coached, looking at my own fulfilment has been like unplugging from the “Matrix” and becoming one of those guys that can do anything. Obviously, it’s not as easy as taking a magic pill. There’s plenty to work at and it’s not easy, otherwise everyone on the planet would be literally living their dream.
So where do you start? ..... You start with the cool stuff!
I want you to look back over your life and make a list of as many things you know fulfil you. What do you love to do? What really excites you? What could you talk about for hours? Think about times in your life where you remember feeling bliss, or feeling unstoppable, like there was complete flow in what you were doing. What was happening? What were you doing? Where were you? Think in as much detail as possible...
Let me give you a personal example of a time in my life and why the detail is relevant:
One of the most memorable times of my life was the summer of ’06. For some reason, everything just seemed effortless and I felt awesome! I spent most of my summer at a lake in the New Forest where I would meet a bunch of friends, go wakeboarding, coach wakeboarding, camp out, have parties and generally have an amazing time.
Now, on the surface, it’s pretty understandable why this was a memorable time in my life. However, it’s what’s under the surface that has helped me define what’s important to me and therefore, take steps to get more of it in my life. Essentially, we’re talking about what some of my values and passions are.
Let me try to deconstruct the summer of ‘06 for you…
Going to a lake and camping shows that being outdoors and in nature is important to me. The fact that it was when the sun was shining and it was summer, demonstrated that I’m happiest when it’s warm outside (I’d love to say hot, but I’m in the UK after all!). Being with close friends is important to me, as we enhance each other’s wellbeing and characters. There’s also something important to me about sharing experiences with ones you love. Adrenaline sports like wakeboarding and having adventure are important to me, because there’s something about risk taking and pushing my body to the limit that makes me feel alive. This also means that exercise and keeping in shape is important to me, as it allows me to do these sports and I love the challenge of keeping fit. Coaching, mentoring, teaching, imparting knowledge is also something I’m passionate about, as it makes me feel of service to others. Partying with people is…. well….FUN…. who doesn’t love a party!?
Hopefully you get the idea that by questioning and digging a little deeper, we can become aware of some of our deep seeded values.
Great, so now what…?
Firstly, now that you are more aware of what things really fulfil you, you can now take steps to incorporate more of them into your life. For me, that doesn’t mean recreating the summer of ’06. I’ve now made sure that I get out in nature, whenever I can. That I bring as much adventure and adrenalin to my life where possible. I keep my friends closer than ever. I continue to keep fit and I party whenever possible. I’d love to say that I can control the sun, but I’ve settled for making sure I have at least one summer holiday abroad every year. By doing all this, my life already feels more fulfilled, as I now have an acute awareness of what’s important to me.
For some people, this is a big enough step as they are giving themselves permission to do more of the things they want to do. This may sound way too obvious for some, but so few people put their own welfare, wants and needs first. Some would feel that taking this approach would be selfish. They feel there’s humility in putting others first and I agree…. to an extent. This is where the following phrase really resonates with me:
“Serve thyself before service”
What this means to me as a coach, a husband, a dad and a human being, is that for me to show up as the best version of myself for others in my life. I need to be coming from a place of fulfilment. If I don’t take care of my own needs, you’re not going to get the best version of me and hence, I won’t be giving my full potential of service to others.
Ok, so I’ve wandered off piste, a bit there. So, now we’ve talked about passions and values, but what about this whole living your “purpose” thing….?
Now that you’ve made a list of the things you love to do. It’s now time to look at the things you are good at. Think broadly. What physical, work and personal skills do you possess?
Let me give you an example of what some of my list looked like:
You get the idea….
Once you have those two lists, it’s now time for the creative magic to happen! Where is the overlap between the things you love and the skills you have?
In my case, I found that there are many potential areas of overlap. Below, the left hand circles represent some of my passions/values and the right hand circles represent some of my skills:
You now probably have a crazy mess on the page! Now, that we can link the two lists in some way, now comes the challenge of figuring out what need there is in the world, that you can provide with your new combination of passion and skills. The area of overlap is where this need will sit and link both your passions and your skills.
In my case, my skills of coaching, listening, self-motivation, digital design and mentoring linked with my passions of people, risk taking, health, fun, creativity and service manifested into my Clear Water Coaching practice:
Let me explain…
Firstly, it’s obvious that one of my skills and passions is coaching, so I should coach! However, by doing this exercise, it turned into so much more. I enjoy creativity and digital design, so I knew that creating a website would really excite me. I also knew that if I wrote articles I would be engaging with my value of service, whilst drawing on my skills in writing, being self-motivated and mentoring. In light of honouring my value of service, I knew some people don’t like to read, so I decided to create a video channel and a podcast along with the social platforms to host them. This engaged my presenting skills, as well as hugely honouring my risk taking value, as I’d never done this before and I would be putting myself out there to the world. The best thing about all of these things is they’re hugely FUN for me, regardless of how challenging or scary they feel at times. The great thing about coming up with things that fall into the fun value is that I love to do them and it doesn’t feel like work!
So, what about those values, passions or skills that I haven’t covered? Where does nature, adventure, fitness come onto Clear Water Coaching for example? Well, they have shown up in an awesome project I have for Clear Water down the line, so stay tuned as you may want to get in on the action!
Now, back to you and the title of this article…
Your outcome to this exercise is your own unique awesomeness that you must own and take action towards, if you want fulfilment. It doesn’t matter if someone with the same values, passions and skills comes up with the same idea.
“There will never be another you, so everything you do is unique!”
Now, this doesn’t mean to say that you have to quit everything and become a dolphin trainer if that’s what shows up for you (although you could!)....
However, if it does show up as a new career or business, it’s something that you should keep working at and build, as it will turn into something amazing given enough momentum and focus. The outcome to the previous exercise is all about moving towards your purpose.
“By combining your passions and skills with solving need in the world, you are truly owning your unique awesomeness!”
That also doesn’t mean that your fulfilment can’t span across multiple roles. Coaching is not my only role. I’m proud to be working for a start-up company where I get to be creative, be part of the adventure of something new, do digital design, work with people, be of service to the organisation and the customers, present to people, teach and listen. I also have the role of husband, dad, friend and son, which I bring all my values and passion to. Being aware of my skills and passions has allowed me to decide what roles to take on and what ones to reject. If it’s not fun, I’m not doing it!
So, what will stop you acting on this new information?
Well, we’ve talked about our annoying life companion “self-sabotage” a great deal in previous articles and low and behold, they will raise their annoying, ugly, unhelpful heads again and start screaming down the microphone. Some of the classic hits they will sing are:
…. And these are just 6 of the hits out of the top 100 singles chart they dominate!
So, what can you do?
Some of you may have the courage to choose whether to listen to these songs or not. Those that choose to acknowledge what they say and do the opposite are destined for amazing things. However, most of us will get glimpses of taking action and what our lives could be like but then we freeze.
Left alone, we’re able to kid ourselves and make excuses for staying in our comfort zones and not take action. This is why it’s so important to start giving ourselves permission to dream and voice our ideas. Getting a coach will be the best investment you make in your future when dealing with fulfilment and purpose. When you put all your ideas and reservations out in the open with someone that can cut through the fog, show you what’s holding you back and empower you to take action, life can be very different. So…
“Get a coach!”
This isn’t a sales pitch from me! I’d be ecstatic if you engaged with any of the amazing coaches out there, as it’s the start of something amazing for you. Many of them do free sample/chemistry sessions, where you can get a feel for their style and for coaching in general.
So, bringing this article back to the original metaphor of the “Matrix”. Do you take the blue pill and stay in your comfort zone and live a life inside your head? Or, do you take the red pill, choose to see the truth, your unique self, your purpose, become enlightened, fulfilled and down-right awesome?!
If you’re ready to be pulled out the “Matrix”, discover your fulfilment and start moving towards your purpose, you know where to find me!
Thanks for reading,
If you struggle with these types of questions, or want to make a change in your life but don’t know how, the chances are you’re ready for coaching. If you want to know more about me, my approach and background, feel free to contact me through my website and I’ll be happy to chat to you.