How to Live with More Joy, Purpose, and Fulfillment
I am passionately committed to helping individuals live the lives they dream about, the lives they are meant to live, and it’s what I call their Aha! lives. The Aha! Life is a life of enlightenment that leads to more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. I realize this may sound woo-woo or like a canned branding slogan, but I assure you, it’s not. I don’t say “more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment” because it’s memorable. I say it because this is truly the life people want to live. And how do I know this to be true? Because what’s the alternative? A life of misery, futility and dissatisfaction? No, thank you.
Although people want to live their Aha! Lives, they don’t always know how to get there. That’s where I believe I can help. I can remove some of the perceived mysticism that surrounds the Aha! Life, and help people truly create the life they dream of living. Intentionally. Thoughtfully. Practically. It’s not easy. It takes work on their part. It requires vulnerability, courage, and a dogged determination to not give up on themselves when the way seems hard.
Some may think getting to their Aha! life is like goal setting, and while goal setting may be a part of the process, it is so much more than setting and achieving goals. In fact, many people who are on the path to creating their Aha! life are already adept at goal achievement. They are typically people who have a track record of success under their belts. Still, they reach a point where accomplishing one more goal will not bring them closer to their Aha! life, and they know it. They realize they have to do something different than what they’ve done before. That realization is the start of the greatest journey they will take to living their best lives.
Getting to Your Aha! Life requires going inward first before you can take any meaningful action on the outside. Often people have to surface deeply embedded self-limiting beliefs and learn to manage those before they can even get to the point where they believe they deserve to have a fulfilling life. For those willing to do the work, the breakthrough is sweet and filled with lots of aha’s. When they arrive at their breakthrough, it’s understandable that they are ready for more.
Are you ready for more? Are you ready to create Your Aha! Life? In the remainder of this article, I’ll share a bit more about the Aha! Life and steps you can take to bring more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment into your life.
First, the Aha! Life is an Enlightened life. What I mean by this is that those who live Aha! lives are aware of themselves in the world, aware that they are part of an interconnected world, a world where they are constantly giving and receiving to and from others, and even to and from nature itself, in a choreographed symbiotic dance. This healthy awareness of self and others, reciprocity, and connectedness is core to living the Aha! life. It means you’re going through life conscious, present, intentional, and open. You realize that your being here contributes to the whole in a meaningful way; who you are and what you do matters.
How do you become more enlightened? Pay attention. Ask yourself questions. Listen deeply. Get answers, or as many as you can. We are always evolving, so no one has all the answers, but you have more than you think. They are buried beneath your consciousness. This path to living your Aha! life aims to bring them forth to the light of day so that you can live a more intentional and purposeful life. What questions to ask yourself? Who am I? What do I value? What set of interests, gifts and talents do I bring to bear in the world? How do I want to show up? What good do I want to do that will outlast my life? Start with those. Spend time introspectively with each question. The good news is that you have the answers to all of your questions. The answers don’t reside outside of you. They are within you. I’m confident of that.
Once you have a pretty good sense of how you would answer those questions, you are well on your way to crafting your own personal philosophy for your life. And that’s what Your Aha! Life is in a nutshell. While I strongly believe it’s a life of more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment, what each of those means to you is as unique as you are. Your combination of self, values, gifts and talents, life experiences and lessons learned all coalesce to help you craft your own personal philosophy for Your Aha! life.
The result of living a more enlightened life is that you can experience more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Here’s how.
More Joy. The word joy comes from the Latin word gaudere meaning to rejoice and be glad. It is defined as a state of mind, an attitude and belief, a feeling localized in the heart. First, it starts with your mindset. Your thoughts have the power to create your reality because they inform your actions. Second, joy is a feeling that is not sitting at the surface. It’s localized in the heart. I always envision a plant whose roots can be seen at the surface of the earth. The plant can easily be plucked up and tossed aside. Not so with a tree whose roots run deep into the center of the earth. That tree, though tossed about during a storm, remains steadfast. Joy is like the tree. It is in the center of your being, deeply planted and able to weather many storms.
When you are joyful, that energy is reflected outward, governing your mood and shining its light onto others. And as the proverb goes, “shared joy is more joy.” Isn’t it heartening to know that joy is a mindset and a feeling that you can call upon because it resides within you; it’s always available to you. That makes joy even more powerful than happiness. Happiness is circumstantial. You can be happy one moment and unhappy the next, but a deeper abiding joy remains. In The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Joy subsumes happiness.”
Three things you can do right away to experience more joy:
- Adopt a positive mindset. This pandemic provides a great opportunity. Whether alone or in the company of others, speak about the pandemic in terms of the opportunities this time offers (e.g., increased family time, time to review your priorities and commit to your values, new learning and experimentation).
- Be grateful. Make a list of things you’re grateful for, and add to it daily. Review often.
- Spread positivity. Reach out to someone else and give words of encouragement. Congratulate others on their accomplishments (shared joy is more joy).
More Purpose. Whenever I have a conversation on the topic of purpose, it’s evident that people have wide-ranging perspectives on its meaning. Those with a narrow definition of purpose may have difficulty defining their purpose or believing they have one. Let me bust a few myths regarding purpose. First myth: your purpose and your job are the same. Wrong. Your job and your life purpose may not be the same, and often are not. And, that’s okay. Of course, you want meaningful work, but don’t feel defeated if your work is not what you would define as your life purpose. It could be that your life purpose is expressed through your job; but is not the job itself.
Second myth: you are born with your purpose already predestined and fixed, and it’s your job to search for your purpose outside of yourself. This is a big one, but it’s mostly not true. Sure, you might be born with natural abilities and those can play a major factor in the types of interests and activities you pursue in life, but it’s an overstatement to say you were born solely for a singular purpose. I do believe we all have a reason for being, our ikigai, but there are likely reasons (plural) for being – more purpose – that allow us to express multiple interests and passions.
Third myth: once I find my purpose, it stays with me the rest of my life. Sure, it can, but your purpose can also change based on changes in your life.
Fourth myth: purpose is only for those who are religious. Wrong. While I believe there is a spiritual awakening involved in the Aha! life, and thus, the purposeful life, there is no prerequisite that a person has to be religious to believe they have purpose. Many agnostics, nonreligious people and atheists believe their lives serve a purpose, and that purpose is intrinsically motivated.
Three things you can do right away to experience more purpose:
- Explore your interests. You may not know what you’re passionate about, but you can more easily start to identify what you’re interested in and that can spark your passions.
- Pay attention to your emotional and physical response when you’re engaged in an activity. Notice what lights you up and what you can spend endless hours doing or learning.
- Volunteer with an organization that aligns with your interests and that needs your skills.
More Fulfillment. To live a fulfilled life is to be satisfied with your life. We want to know that we’ve lived well, that we’ve made a difference in the world, whether the world is as close as another human being, our homes, a community, or indeed the cosmos. Mary Oliver asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” My mantra is I want the world to know I’m here, and I care. This simple statement reflects my definition of a fulfilling life, and it guides my thoughts and actions daily. Fulfillment is not just something we get to claim as we see our lives coming to an inevitable end. Fulfillment is also in our daily practice – more fulfillment. In the Aha! life, we create legacy and fulfillment every day.
Three things you can do right away to experience more fulfillment:
- Get clear on what you want your lasting legacy to be.
- Take actions daily or as often as you can to reflect your lasting legacy.
- Mentor a young person and extend the mentorship over years to increase your perennial impact.
As you gain in understanding about the work involved in creating Your Aha! Life and the immediate actions you can take to experience more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment, I’d love to hear from you. Please connect with me through LinkedIn, my private Facebook group, or by emailing me. If you want to read more on the Aha! Life, read my previous article, What is The Aha! Life?