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Soul search – finding our purpose and direction in life

I like to think that we all have an inner compass that points us in the direction we want to be going in, the navigational equipment that charts the course of our lives. The trouble is, many of us struggle to tune into this compass.

This is because we have been socialised to listen to messages from other people. We tend to put these people in charge of charting our course, which naturally ends up steering us off our true course. Often it is a crisis metaphorically whacking us over the head that makes us sit up and take notice of the direction our inner compass truly wants us to be heading.


In my career coaching work I introduce this inner compass to my clients, helping them to tune into their career identity. This is the sense of self that pulls us in the right direction. When the career we choose aligns with our purpose and our sense of self, these work as a motivator and driver towards a much more satisfying life and career direction.


At the moment we are being forced to navigate unprecedented times on a global scale. Although the global pandemic is seen as a crisis, it is also an opportunity to find more creative ways to share our talents. Many people are seeing this as a catalyst for examining whether our work or lives are serving us. Being forced to work from home has helped my clients to tap into where their inner compass is trying to steer them. Some are using this as an opportunity to redefine how they live and how they work by exploring their purpose and finding meaning in what they are doing.

So how to you tap into your inner compass? By soul searching – following your soul’s breadcrumbs

We can tune into our inner compass, our intuition, by following the bread crumbs of our soul.

A lot of the time these come in the form of coincidences, or intuitive nudges. I like to call them happenstance, our soul’s bread crumbs – signposts along the path of life.

You think of someone, and next thing you know you bump into them at the store.

You wonder how you’re going to tackle a project, then you find someone who has the exact skill and experience you need that will make your project a breeze.


Think of Steve Jobs who stumbled on a giant opportunity when he needed parts for a project he was doing at school. He rang Bill Hewlett (of Hewlett Packard) who talked to him about his project, gave him the parts and later on gave him a summer job at HP. Look where that led him – a giant breadcrumb right there.


We all know the story of how Hansel and Gretel laid a trail of bread crumbs out to help guide them out of the deep, dark woods and back home safely. Great plan, but not optimal execution. Unfortunately for them, the bread crumbs were left out too long and the birds ate them up, leaving them in the woods and the clutches of the witch.

That’s a great metaphor for us too. When we get those impulses or inclinations, and don’t take action on them, the bread crumbs can easily disappear.

By being at home day in and day out, the silver lining of the COVID19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to pay attention to these breadcrumbs. I’m hearing from clients really positive things that have happened in their lives, such as the work-life balance they now have which would never have been a possibility previously. This has set a precedence for the future – their employer is now open to providing work-from-home days.

Clients who haven’t been happy in their jobs are telling me they are now feeling compelled to explore their purpose and find more meaning.


Comments include:

  • I want a healthy work-life balance at a progressive organisation where I can contribute more effectively

  • I want a career that keeps me interested and challenged

  • I’m considering whether or not I should start my own business

  • I want a career that has more meaning and variety

  • I want to grow exponentially and have more impact

  • I would most like to achieve a sense of purpose

What I’m seeing is a thread of meaning, purpose and change.


Being at home day in and day out for weeks on end has left us pondering whether our work is serving us and whether our lifestyle is truly serving us.

We have a unique opportunity to fully examine where we’ve been and determine where we want to go. Take a step back and notice the gifts this pandemic has brought to you, the silver lining for yourself and the way you are working. Then leverage this to move forward in new and more meaningful ways. Listen to your inner compass and think about how you could change your life to head in the right direction now. You might just find your life purpose.


I invite you to think about these questions: 

  • What things do you really enjoy doing?

  • What do you want your life to stand for?

  • Who are you here to serve?

  • What contribution do you want to make in the world?

If you have any further questions about the ideas raised in this blog please get in touch today.


liz@lizbarry.com

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