Are you hoping to change your life? For many people, their 40s is when they reflect on relationships, friends, and things like work/life balance – a time to assess where they are. For others, it is a time when they’ve really hit their stride, and often this is because they have found their purpose.
Look at 46-year-old actress and filmmaker Reese Witherspoon. A few years ago, she founded the production company Pacific Standard—which is now a subsidiary of her media company Hello Sunshine—to share stories written by women, with a female lead, brought to the screen by women. As Reese pitched her business venture to investors, she was informed that no one would want to watch films with a female lead, that this was not a profitable venture. She invested her own money, which she was also told was a mistake.
But with a purpose to share women’s stories on the big screen to change the narrative of women in US culture, Reese Witherspoon’s first two film productions with female leads, Wild and Gone Girl, grossed half a billion dollars. She also produced the hugely successful TV series Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, Little Fires Everywhere, and the film from the best-selling book Where the Crawdad Sings is due for release in July 2022.
We are all born with a purpose. As unique as your fingerprint, it is held within your heart, your reason for being, your north star. With your purpose placed at the heart of your life you benefit from clarity of focus and direction. On the occasions self-doubt creeps in, purpose empowers you. Decisions become easier as you choose the path aligned with the fulfilment of your purpose.
Your purpose doesn’t arrive one day ‘boom!’ fully formed, expressed, and embodied. There are recognisable stages to the growth and development of your purpose. These stages are not linear. You may experience more than one stage at a time, and some stages last longer than others. And when you become aware of the stage you are at, you have a map and can more easily participate in your purpose being fulfilled.
Here are the seven stages of purpose. Use these to create a roadmap to change your life. Take a look and decide where you are, and this will help you define the next steps you need to take towards your true purpose and passion.
The 7 stages of purpose to help your change your life
You sense you have a bigger purpose than what is currently being expressed. There may be a sense of ‘something’ missing, a frustration, a sensation pulling you towards ‘something’ you can’t quite understand, it is led by a desire for more – more meaning, contribution and impact.
Simon Haas, yoga philosopher and author of The Book of Dharma and Yoga and Dark Night of the Soul shares that your purpose emerges naturally when you live your true nature.
This is echoed by Jill Ellis, former coach of the USA Women’s Soccer Team sharing the experience of opening up to her team that she was married to Betsy Stephenson, a woman. Fully supported, the US women’s team went on to campaign for equal pay for women using the World Cup as their global platform. Jill said: “When I became open in who I was, I found my purpose there.”
When you experience a calling, practice bringing more of your true nature into your life every day, and as you do, your purpose is revealed to you.
As you follow your true nature, you begin to receive a sense of your purpose, the more you receive the clearer it becomes. At this stage, stay curious. Don’t deny it or push it away. Embrace and begin to own your purpose.
As you embrace your purpose, articulate it in a few simple words that inspire and resonate with your heart. The simpler the better. For example, TheTeen Yoga Foundation has a purpose to empower young people through yoga so that there’s a generation of kids with self-esteem, resilience and mental wellness. Maddy Cooper, co-founder of Brilliant Noise, has a purpose of protecting the earth so that families have a bright future, with sustainable marketing for brands that really mean it.
Now your purpose is clearly articulated the next step is to align your decisions, actions, behaviours, products and services with your purpose. Let go of any aspects of your life that are not aligned with your purpose. This can take courage, but it is worth it.
As you make decisions aligned with your purpose, you shift from an intellectual understanding to your purpose becoming a tangible, living expression. The more you can appreciate the deep fulfilment, value and impact embodying your purpose brings, the more you grow.
As you grow in the embodiment of your true nature and purpose you are now ‘walking your talk’. There is a noticeable dedication, integrity and congruence and this inspires others. At this stage, as you communicate and share the wisdom of your experience openly and transparently, you become a recognised leader in your field.
Your purpose, your north star, becomes an evolutionary force, both in your personal and business development taking you into the unknown, towards new frontiers. If you haven’t already, here you are invited to surrender more deeply, to let go of what wants to go and allow what wants to come.
Kat Byles is the Founder of the True Business School, for creative leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists and healers who want to do business differently. She works with people to find and align with their purpose and creativity to build a happy, healthy, wealthy business and world. Why not get in touch and find out how she can help you change your life for the better.