Knowing what your life purpose is means you know where your passion comes from and you can make decisions that are in alignment with what matters most. It’s the key to living a life with meaning.
In my last post, I mentioned research that showed having a clear purpose leads to living longer and more happily.
Purpose can also contribute to better relationships. In 2009, Richard Leider teamed up with Met Life to assess the purpose of over 1,000 adults. They found that those with a high sense of meaning in their lives spent more time and attention on their loved ones and communities. On the whole, people with purpose tend to be more engaged with their families, colleagues, and neighbors, enjoying more satisfying relationships as a result.
Purpose can also positively affect pain management. A study in The Journal of Pain found that women with a stronger sense of purpose were better able to withstand heat and cold stimuli applied to their skin.
If the above reasons aren’t enough, purpose can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In studies of thousands of elderly subjects, Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, found that people with a low sense of life purpose were 2.4 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than those with a strong purpose. Further, people with purpose were less likely to develop impairments in daily living and mobility disabilities.
What I’ve found in my coaching practice, however, is that when we’re immersed in our careers and family responsibilities, few people take time out to look at where their purpose and passion come from. That’s unfortunate.
At later stages in life, when we pause to reflect on what truly matters, we start to see where and how we experience true meaning and value, or not. Often it takes an emotionally upsetting event to get us to take stock.
Whatever the cause, I truly believe that this is when we learn best how to realign ourselves to lead a life “on purpose.” That’s when a coach can truly help as a guide.