Take Solace in the Simple Focus of Purpose
Do you sometimes feel that in all your effort to reach your goals, you lose sight of the reasons you wanted to achieve them in the first place? At those confusing times, it’s important to step back and reassess your efforts to connect once again with your motivations behind why you do what you do.
When I get overwhelmed with these thoughts and the too-long task list that got me distracted in the first place, I stop and regroup with two questions:
- What is my purpose?
- How does this task I’m doing now align with my purpose?
IDENTIFY YOUR IKIGAI
I just finished a great chapter of The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll titled Meaning where he delves into exploring the “why” behind our actions. It’s important to unite our efforts with our purpose and meaning.
Carroll sites a study of the people of Okinawa, Japan who were deemed the happiest and longest-lived people of the world. When asked the secret to their happiness, the common answer was ikigai. “Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.”
Spend time doing things that match with your talent. What do you love to do? What do you do most often? Your purpose is found in doing work that you’re best at doing.
When I fester about outcomes, I stop finding satisfaction in the act of doing the work itself. Of course, as a business I try to be strategic. I’m striving to find the community where I can serve, and income is one measure of that success.
But when I get bogged down in the “end game” like the numbers of likes, the size of an email audience, or the number of followers, my efforts suffer. A jumble of thoughts distracts me from the project in front of me.
It’s important to step back and remind yourself of your why and to zero in on the task your working on in the moment.
PRACTICE THE SMALL THINGS
Saya Hillman over at Mac N Cheese Productions shares a robust list of things to do when you need a break from the work of your goals. Tend to small tasks in your control to practice doing the simplest small increment.
In her post A List of Ways to Comfort Yourself (which she wrote in 2016), the suggestions are alarmingly appropriate right now during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
What Hillman speaks to is that the world will always surprise us with some form of chaos. Our job is to think small and simple enough that we can put one foot in front of the other to maintain a sense of well-being.
There is solace in the simple, and Saya’s list is simple but thorough. Some of her ideas involve hitting small areas of disarray in the home, like cleaning underneath the bed or wiping the top of the fan blades. In my case, I picked the yucky tool closet underneath the stairs. It’s only been twenty years in the waiting (and took a pandemic to get it done).
WHAT IS THE SIMPLE PATH TO YOUR PURPOSE?
When it comes to living simply and with purpose, Erin Port has been all about this for years. The ideas fueling simple, purposeful living are beautifully manifested in her blog-gone-business, which now speaks to an audience of thousands who find her insights helpful. You can meet Erin in The Delicious Story episode #46.
Erin’s family is large and she candidly admits that the goal isn’t perfection but staying true to purpose—and doing so simply. In between, there’s humor, surprising family recipes, and loads of tips.
Erin speaks to raising kids and juggling activities, which other busy moms can certainly understand. Even as a grandmother I find her ideas and energy helpful. We all need these reminders to do what we can on those days where “real life” happens.
So, when thoughts of too much chaos swirl in your mind, stop and focus on the basics of the moment. Oh yes, and breathe! Be sure to breathe. I forget that one a lot.