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What does it mean to live life on purpose?

I was sitting near a pond one day with no responsibility other than the book in my lap. As I paused to take in the landscape around me, I noticed this beautiful duck desperately dunking her head in the water over and over and over again. She paused ever so briefly to shake it off hardly skipping a beat. I sat and watched her, curious as to if there was a point in the experience. I began to time her and she didn’t move from her spot by the reeds and there was no obvious successful feat after 3 minutes of continuous dunking. What occurred to me in that moment: I was the duck. In my professional world, I was doing the same thing over and over and over with no clear purpose for my actions.

At the time I experienced the duck, I had been working with my executive coach for several months. The work we had done together, combined with witnessing the beautiful duck, gave me a powerful perspective: change was never going to happen unless I made the choice to change. If I stayed in the same professional place dunking my head in the water over and over and over – that was it. Without purpose, there was nothing more to gain.

What I also learned: the universe will keep showing up until the lesson needed is learned. As I look back, there were several presentations of this learning that I didn’t recognize at the time and I am grateful for the patience and persistence of the universe, of my executive coach, and those who deeply care for me as I took my time in my journey for professional purpose.

When we are stuck and feel constrained by our current situation, we develop a limiting perspective on our possibilities. We mistake stories for facts and we believe there is no other option than the path we are on. Choose again. And again. And again until the perspective is clear and your path changes.

Change is never easy, yet neither is insanity. If you are doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, you are Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. The difference between change and insanity is the potential for a different outcome. If you want to find more meaning in your career and to live your life on purpose, then don’t let the limiting belief of your current option paralyze you. Choose again. And again. And again until the right perspective emerges. And then have the courage to act.

Another limiting belief is that you must do it alone. Or that you’ve come to the end of your professional journey. Choose again. And again. And again. Invest in yourself, invest in your career, and hire a coach to help you navigate the uncharted waters. Or find an animal to imitate your motions and spur you into action.

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