A few years back I met with a coach who asked me a single, profound question that I couldn’t answer.
This question was so stupidly simple that I was stumped by the fact that I was stumped!
She asked me…
“Ray, what do you want?”
I can’t explain it, but that question hit me like a surprise karate-kick in the face. Like you’re chatting with a good friend in a bar and for no reason, BAM! they Jean Claude Van Damm you right in the chops.
I’m not new to the personal development space, having spent thousands of hours studying personal development and training under some of the most well-known experts in the field.
…and it occurred to me in that moment that I had never deeply answered the question, “What do I REALLY want?”
Sure, I had set goals…lots of goals.
I had even accomplished goals…yes, lots of goals.
But somehow, simply listing out all of the “things” that I wanted just didn’t seem to suffice in that moment, I even felt a touch of shame about how small my desires were.
I knew, that she wasn’t asking me about money, or cars, or mansions…
She wanted to know, what I wanted to BE to this world. What I wanted to accomplish…how I wanted to be remembered…what made me feel inspired!
In one of the longest-lived areas of the world, Okinawa, the locals have a word for this profound desire…
They call it an “Ikigai”.
What Is An Ikigai
Loosely translated, ikigai means, “Reason to get up”.
It speaks to something that “pulls” you out of your bed in the morning.
Contrast that to how most of us are “pushed” out of bed in the morning by the “need” to accomplish something.
The need to make money to feed our families.
The need to exercise in order to lose weight so that we don’t feel like a beached whale in a suit.
The need to do work we hate simply to survive and pay the bills.
At that moment when my coach asked me “what do you want” it occurred to me that the reason that I was stuck in the mud of life was because…
Nothing PULLED me out of bed in the morning.
That sounds like a lot of pressure…but it’s not.
In fact, it’s the opposite of pressure.
When you give yourself the gift of experiencing the freedom to pursue your profound purpose, it’s a release of pressure.
Here’s an epiphany for you…
You’re reading this because you feel stuck. True?
Are you ready for an epiphany?
You feel stuck, not because you have no purpose, but because you won’t let yourself uncover and pursue your profound purpose.Click to tweet
Here’s the scary truth…Your purpose IS scary.
Something inspires you…
Something REAL prevents you from dedicating your life to the pursuit of that inspiration.
Perhaps you have a family that you need to feed and you must keep the job that you hate to put food in their mouths.
Perhaps that thing that inspires you is something that you feel that you can’t make money pursuing…like painting pictures or being a professional singer.
Perhaps, you’re like most people stuck in a rut whose real desire has been buried beneath a pile of responsibilities that seem to never end.
In psychology there’s a phenomenon called the “double-bind” – you want something, but you’re committed to something else that feels safe. The result is paralysis.
You see, the human nervous system likes to optimize for safety and survival, not growth and progression and so…you fight for your smallness.
The point is, finding your bliss isn’t your problem. Having the personal FREEDOM to uncover and follow your bliss IS your problem. When you don’t feel safe, you don’t feel free.
Stop focusing on trying to find a purpose, or ikigai, and start focusing on building the freedom into your life that will allow you to pursue what you want when you want it.
Purpose cannot be discovered when it is buried beneath bills, responsibilities, and burdens.Click to tweet
If you’re in a job that you hate, work to free yourself from the things that keep you in your job. Pay off your credit card debts, sell that Mercedes that you can’t afford, stop eating out every damn meal…
Freedom for you and, if you have one, freedom for your family.
Once you are free from the burdens that pile on top of your freedom, you will have the peace of mind and open fields needed to uncover and chase your dreams AND to enjoy the process.
When FREEDOM becomes your focus, you’ll be amazed at how your “inspired purpose” appears in everything you do…even before you are actually FREE!
Purpose wants to be uncovered…in fact, for a happy life, it NEEDS to be uncovered.
The funny thing is that you only need the promise of freedom for that purpose to start poking its head from the shell.
Start building a freedom-focused life and nothing will stop you from uncovering and pursuing your inspired purpose.