I was sitting on a call with a professional who specializes in coaching and she asked me a question that went something along the lines of the following:
“At the end of your life, when you’re old and gray, what will you tell me were the things that made life worth living?”- Lorianna Joose, MS
As an atlanta counselor, I’m always working to sharpen myself, because I help my clients do the same.
And so, I began to think…I answered the question as vulnerabley (is that even a word?), genuinely, and honestly as I could. And now, I ask many of my clients the same thing.
Usually at the top of the list I’ll hear things like close relationships with family and friends, genuine happiness, love, etc.
What I do not usually hear is ‘money’ , ‘working lots of hours’, ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, etc. Every once in a while I’ll hear something like ‘reaching my goals’, or ‘changing the world with my product’, and even then when I dig a little deeper it’s not really about success. It’s about blessing others, bringing a smile to people’s faces, caring for others (people, animals, the planet, etc), making a difference in some important way, etc.
And isn’t it interesting that despite the fact that many of us know at the end of our lives, what will have been most important is relationships, giving, connecting, experiencing…we still spend most of our time disconnected from our sense of purpose. We watch too much tv. We isolate, or stay busy in unhealthy ways. We work too much. We stay disconnected. We run from our feelings. We overachieve because that’s what we tell ourselves we have to do.
But what if we slowed down? As an Atlanta counselor, I consistently challenge my clients to become more connected with their internal worlds. To slow down enough to notice how important their relationships with themselves and their communities are to them.
And this is where purpose matters. When we can connect with purpose in our lives, we connect with something much greater than just earning money. And trust me, it’s great to earn money. But isn’t it great to earn it while we’re finding a deep sense of value in giving to something beyond just ourselves?
Research has even shown that genuine connections and volunteerism (acts of kindness) can assist with combatting depression.
So, today I challenge you. Connect with what really matters. Connect with your purpose. Connect with the reason why you are on this planet. Then seek to carry it out.