“Your Purpose Over Passion” Brief Summary of Show:
In this episode learn to take inspired action as we ask the question, “What is purpose over passion, and how do we discover our purpose?” Host Christopher tells a story about having an existential crisis in a previous job, how he overcame feelings of suicide, and how he found purpose and fulfillment in his life, and how you can too!
Calls to Action:
Tell us your “inspired stories” stories by visiting www.InspiredActionPodcast.ca
Christopher Lawrence LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/career-life-coach-christopher-lawrence/
Kyle Kalloo LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-kalloo/
Change My Life Coaching & Strategic Leader LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/6446498/admin/
Sense of Purpose in Life and Escape from Self as the Predictors of Quality of Life in Clinical Samples https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-014-9833-3
Association Between Life Purpose and Mortality Among US Adults Older Than 50 Years: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2734064
“Your Purpose Over Passion” Transcript:
You know, I was suicidal actually. And I don’t think we’ve ever actually talked about that on here. I don’t really talk about it a lot, but I know you’ll remember because those were the years I think you and I had then split up. But we were still in contact
And I did end up going on medication for a while to kind of get some support. Hey folks, medication is just a ladder that gets you out of a hole.
[Announcer] Is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action? Welcome to inspired action for imperfect humans. Each week, we give you real life stories and thought provoking research that inspires your soul to live a more fulfilled life through your own actions. From the heart of Calgary Canada. Here are your hosts, award winning coaches Christopher Lawrence and Kyle Kalloo.
What’s up? I like that little note there.
Totally. Me too.
What’s happening? Christopher James Lawrence. What are we talking about today? That’s a very good question. What are we talking about today? Because I just showed up. I just had to show up today. You just told me show up and I show up.
See, I knew you wouldn’t come with a plan. So I did.
For those who have not seen videos of our podcasts you probably should watch that because that alone is another show. Just so you can see my facial expressions and his as well.
It’s on YouTube.
Yeah, so if you’re not, if you have never seen it, I’m telling you, you’re only getting half the story .
It’s true. So,
What are we talking about today? We’re gonna talk about your purpose over passion.
Oh, love this.
I have lots to say already.
Me too. Well, what do you have to say? ‘Cause you always give me crap for like rushing you through.
Here’s the thing I hear it’s everywhere and I know why it is. And I think, I hope where you go with it today is to really explain it. Because I think every time I talk to someone either about their career, about their job, about their thing, it’s about, oh, I’m passionate about this and I’m passionate. The reason why I want to do this because I’m passionate about it. Oh, because I’m really passionate and I’m just passionate. And I hear it. And I think passion plays a role. I don’t think it’s everything in everything. And sometimes I’m not passionate about certain things, but I still have to do it. So I hope you go to the place with this to really talk about the difference and why one requires the other or how they can cohabitate. And if you have to give up one, which one would you give? I don’t know where you’re going to go with it, but I just have this thing. It has to be more than passion. That’s really what I’m saying. We have to go beyond passion. And not that I deliberately tried to plug your book there but deliberately I say that to people all the time. Great title by the way. You have a knack for titling. I’ll give you that much. Folks all the titles you see on the podcast most of them do not come from me. Cause if I had my way it probably would be a completely different thing. But Christopher really has a knack for titling. And he did that great with a company, like our company name is really titled gr. I mean a brilliant title by Christopher, as well as his book, ’cause I literally say it all the time. Like what is beyond passion? Like what’s the next thing? ‘Cause it can’t just be passion. ‘Cause we’re not passionate every day. I did tell you I had a lot to say. Okay, I’ll shut up. But what are we talking about today?
Well, I mean you seem to have a case so I don’t know why I have to say anything . Girl, what you all can’t see is that he is laughing but he’s doing a silent laugh, which makes me look like I’m nasty. Why don’t you laugh out loud so dem people can hear ya? Okay, so I want to start with a story here.
So the story is this. I remember having an existential crisis a few years ago, a number of years ago, actually, when I was working in an oil and gas firm. Nothing against the oil and gas firm at all. Just where I was in my life, okay? So I’m gonna read a definition of what an existential crisis is because people need to know. So the way that it’s defined on, why are you laughing at me already?
I just heard the people them need to know. I heard the Patois version of the people needs to know in my head. That’s all.
No, that’s what I said. I said dem people. I said it in the Patois version.
Yeah, I heard it.
No totally. I just had to translate that.
Just no, no, totally got it.
Okay got it. . So an existential crisis also known as existential dread are moments when individuals question whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value and are negatively impacted by the contemplation. And so I think, I think people run into this in their lives. I think now more than ever because now that so much is provided for us. Like, I think 50 years ago, a hundred years ago, well a hundred years ago, you look at like the wars and that kind of thing. It’s like purpose was survival. Purpose was providing for your family. Purpose was finding a stable job and sticking with it and being loyal. But all of those old concepts, because we live in a world of luxury and I know that not everybody does but we have choice more than we’ve ever had. Basic needs are provided for more than they ever have been. We’ve still got a long way to go, right? So don’t send me hate me, email. And I am a social justice warrior when it comes to that stuff. But I think more than ever, people are lacking purpose. And so what do we do? We numb out and scroll our lives away on our phones. I remember going through this, a number of years ago, and when people really get to this place they can often lose their will to live actually. Right? This goes back to Victor Frankel’s work in a man’s search for meeting, meaning, sorry, A man’s search for meaning. Nobody’s searching for meetings. We want less meetings.
No one ever said “I’m looking for a good meeting.” Does anybody?
No, no. Although okay to be fair, addicts,
addicts look for a good meeting.
I did have that thought
Right? Gotta get your meetings in.
Okay, so as I was thinking about this topic for today, I was thinking about this thing about purpose. And when I went through this journey and I was suicidal actually, and I don’t think we’ve ever actually talked about that on here. I don’t really talk about it a lot, but I know you’ll remember because those were the years I think you and I had had then split up, but we were still in contact and I did end up going on medication for a while to kind of get some support. Hey folks, medication is just a ladder that gets you out of a hole. And then you can, you’re in a place that you can do the work. And when you do the work, then sometimes for some people there’s an ability to come off the meds. Some people there isn’t. For me, there was. I have not been on them for over a decade now, but you know, I think there, the reason why I mentioned this Kyle, is ’cause I went through that thing. I’m like, what am I doing this for? And people can do this with their businesses. They hit their vision and their like or their vision goes away. And it’s like, what am I doing this for? You know people, so it can be careers, personal lives, whatever. It’s like, what am I doing this for? And so there can be a loss of a will to live or exist. And you know it starts by kind of like numbing out. I think for a lot of people, they just kind of avoid it. And so I think we do have to have purpose and I’m privileged enough in my life that, and I say privileged it was four years of fucking hell. You know, I was privileged to go through four years of hell so that I could come out the other side of it and realize that there was more for me. And I think when people say like I hear my clients say this all the time I feel like I was meant for more. And there’s always this like battle between their ego and like and purpose. And so I think, we talk about passion. I think passion is a very important thing, but I also look at passion like icing on a cake. If there’s no cake, if there’s no substance passion will run in all sorts of different directions and it has no substance and it can leave us feeling wanting. So then what do we do? Like a drug we just seek more. We seek more passion. But because it’s an emotion like all emotions, it comes and goes. Anger comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes, right? Passion being an emotion comes and goes. So I think passion is probably the most unreliable definition of purpose that you can have because passion is actually extremely short-lived. We get snippets of it. Passion is that. And you can hear I’m passionate about the subject.
No kidding. I was just going to say, amen. I was like, “Gee, can you guys hear that?” Hello people in the back row. Can you hear that? People in the back row? Did you hear that? So that’s really what I was going to say. I was like, yes, honey. Yes, let them know.
So, but that’s the thing, right? So I’m passionate about the subject, but it’s a snippet. Will I always be passionate about this subject? Yes, until I’m not, or until I’m not in the moment of passion. Like do you think people listening ’cause you know Kyle and I have a lot of passion, do you think we wake up on a winter morning in Canada when there’s a blizzard and it’s minus 40 do you think it’s passion that brings us in the door? Like we’re human beings too.
Girl, there is love lost on a minus 40 winter day. Like, you know, they say there’s no love lost. It’s like, oh girl, there is love lost. Like let me tell you that is not what brings us in the door. What brings us in the door is our purpose. And so for me, the purpose is really about helping people connect to their fulfillment. It’s about helping people find their purpose and really ultimately finding fulfillment in the work they do. And work as in quotations because your work might be stay at home parenting. It might be retirement. It might be raising children. The work is not necessarily a paid salary or wage job. That’s my purpose because I know what it’s like to not experience fulfillment in those things. And that’s so important to me because I see the connection. When people find that purpose when passion’s there it just makes it taste better. When passion’s not there, your purpose can help pull you through. Kyle, so this is how we move through an existential crisis. Kyle, I want to ask you, talk to me about purpose in your life. And girl you’ve got 30 seconds. I’m just kidding.
Of course. You know what purpose, like I said, I’m a continuously person to find the next thing as far as how am I going to live a better life? How do I share that with others to have others live a better life? How do I help people get better about themselves? Which helps me too. Make no mistake. That helps me as well. And so back to that point, when you talked about what gets us in. There’s moments when I look on my schedule, I said, Wow, okay, the clients I have today or the workshops I have to do today those people need me more. They need that more than me being warm and cozy and not doing anything. And so it’s not, I’m obligated to be there, but I want to show up for them. You know, it’s interesting. We started the podcast where I said, Hey, I just showed up. You know, I’m good with just showing up and then what is needed, right? And you know, not everyone does that. It’s not to say one is better than the other. We just have different things, but make no mistake. I needed to identify what is going to help me do the things I know I want to do or need to do without feeling good about it. Like without waking up and thinking everything is great. So for me, every time I talk to someone every time I do something, there’s this thing in the back of my mind is, what is its value and how do I leverage that? And that could be the knowledge, that could be cost savings, that could be strategies, that could be tactics, but I’m constantly looking and waiting and observing a value. And again, those values or things that we accept in our lives. Sometimes it’s without logic. Sometimes without notion, but it has worked for us. And so that is my thing. When I think about purpose is how do I actually still do the things that I can do?
Yeah, totally. It’s interesting because with my clients over and over and over again, so much they’re coming in because they feel like they’re lacking passion. They feel like they’re lacking passion and they’re like, “I should be happy, but I’m not.” I hear that so much. It’s like, “I should be grateful, but I’m not.” Especially, when they’re checking and a lot of it stems from career. Part of that’s how I market myself, which is why I get so many people coming in for career.
We can’t be passionate all the time though, just by the other thing that you said. If it’s an emotion, can you sustain an emotion the whole day, either really happy or really sad, or really like you will go through those things. I think when people hear emotions, they think it’s a happy “Oh I feel so good.” Like if you’re at a funeral, what emotions are you gonna have? You can’t be whoopee. Right?
You can’t be happy all the time But I think you can experience fulfillment. Where I was going with this is with my clients over and over and over again they’re experiencing, they’re like checking all the boxes. I was talking about career, before I was so rudely interrupted by you . He’s rolling his eyes. I was experiencing, I was talking about career. And so with career, we kind of look at, like the old career model. And I don’t use this model because it’s bullshit. But the old career model is you have to make good money. You have to be good at it. You need to have some passion for it. And there needs to be a market need for it. And most people can check the boxes and except for maybe passion. And then they say, I should be grateful, but I’m not. And I’m like, ah, you know and then they’re stuck and they become depressed or they experience depression, right. Or anxiety or, you know, and they start to actually lose a bit of hope. And what’s interesting actually, is that when we connect to the purpose, I can tell you that probably 60% of my clients never leave the job. Like they come for career coaching ’cause they want to find out what they should do for their living. But I’d say about 60% of the clients, so still a good portion do leave, but 60% stay and they stay with a completely refreshed perspective because we found a new purpose for them. I wanted to talk about some research, Kyle, can I do that?
Yeah, yeah. Curious about this.
So I’ve got two things. This one comes from the Journal of Religion and Health. So I know religion is a loaded word. As soon as you say it, people have things to say. Okay, but just look at this study. So that’s where it comes from, but it has been published from on the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Okay, so don’t look at the word and discredit it folks. This is a good academic study. So I’m just gonna read the title and just one portion of this. Since the title is called “Sense of Purpose and” sorry, “Sense of Purpose in Life and Escape from Self as the Predictors of Quality of Life in Clinical Samples.” So basically what this is saying is when we compare sense of purpose in life and escape from yourself, are there predictors of quality of life when we look at clinical samples. That’s what we’re looking at. So where I want to go with this is they talk about like suicide attempts. They even talk about things like grip strength. Like the amount of grip strength you have as you age, right? What they found was they used a purpose in life scale, a general self-efficacy scale and a satisfaction with life scale. Those are the three scales that they used. And the results, here’s the sentence I wanted to read. The ability to maintain the feeling of a sense of one’s existence seems to be a significant factor that protects from a decrease in life quality and keeps the feeling of being able to deal in difficult situations, as well as helps to accept the depression symptoms. So what’s interesting. So this is a thing, right? Like some people will experience depression and the interesting thing is actually one of the best ways we can move through depression is by accepting it and learning to work with it, rather than seeking happiness. Seeking happiness can be like a drug. So when I get into mildly depressive emotions instead of seeking happiness, I go to the place of I’m in this place right now. And I know it’s not gonna last forever. How can I move through this by being with this? And it’s funny because usually it goes away in a day or two whereas before it used to take months, right. And now it’s like a day or two. And I was like, okay moving through. Sometimes it’s a week, you know? So it’s interesting, the results of the study, people actually live longer when they have a sense of purpose.
Of course there’s a reason. There’s a reason to show up and a reason to do what you do, right?
Totally right. So the second study, okay. The second study is called “The Association between Life Purpose and Mortality among U.S. Adults Older than 50 years old.” And here’s what the results were. Again, I’m just gonna go to like the meat and potatoes of the conclusion. So this study’s results indicated that stronger purpose in life was associated with decreased mortality. And in this study, they actually looked at all cause mortality and reasons why people died. So purposeful living may have health benefits. And of course every study says future research needs to be done. But basically there is a correlation between having purpose and quality of life and having purpose and mortality rates. So it’s important that we have a purpose. And so the purpose needs to be something that we can experience every single day. I’m moving into tips now. So this is what I want people to really pay attention to. Your purpose needs to be something that you can experience every single day. If it’s an end of life purpose or a legacy purpose it will lose meaning over time. So you can have a legacy purpose, but tie it back to your everyday contribution. And people over-complicate this conversation, Kyle. It needs to be super simple. Like people think what’s my life purpose? And it’s like, it is so over-complicated if people are struggling with this, they need to reach out and have a strategy session with one of us because it is over complicated. it does not need to be as complicated as it is. You need to experience it every day. And it has to have a contribution to something outside of yourself. It has to have a contribution to someone else. When I say that everybody thinks I need to go volunteer for a not-for-profit. That does not have to be what it is. It could be contributing to your child’s college funds. So instead of buying a Starbucks every day, you put $7 in a bank account every single day, so you can see it growing every single day. That can be a sense of purpose, right? So we want to make sure that people are focused on those two things, how people discover their purpose. This is a little broad, but the starting place look at your values because your core value system is who you are or who you want to be in this world. It’s part of your identity. The second thing you do is you look at what you enjoy the tasks you enjoy doing. The combination, you think about this, the combination of what you like to do, like tasks that you find enjoyable and who you are as a person, that combination can lead you down the path of discovering your life purpose.
I love that. And if I could add one to that is tell people your purpose.
Share it with people.
Tell people right? Be your own advocate for your purpose. And you’d be amazed how people, Hmm. That’s interesting. I believe that about you. And so they help you reaffirm it and also you reaffirm it for yourself. Cause if you could teach someone else about your purpose it’s gonna lock it in for you too, right? So you’re gonna remember it. So share that with people. That’s a great conversation. Besides what about the game this weekend? What about the weather? Right. Just say, listen, I just actually came to the realization that I have a purpose. And I want to share that with you. I’d love to just hear what you think about it or what resonates with you about the purpose. ‘Cause you’re not asking for people’s permission. You’re just sharing that with them.
Hey, I a hundred percent agree, Kyle and I can also tell you when people do that it’s like their own coming out story. I’ll never forget one of my clients. She came in extremely insecure, extremely passive, person of color in a culture that, you know maybe women are not seen this .
Yeah. Sometimes there’s a little bit each culture has a different pieces to that right?
That’s it. This was her words to me, right? They’re not seen the same way. So there was a specific role that she was supposed to fulfill and and that kind of thing. And so when she realized that she was a woman of color and although her parents actually were quite were quite liberal in that sense, there was a piece about her identity when she realized that she was a woman of color in tech who needed to communicate to the world in a specific way. There was a very specific purpose. When she realized that, not only did she start to cry she started to go and tell her friends, right? So it’s a sense of relief. And I’m telling you she is going to be 10 times more successful than I am. And it was because she owned her purpose. And it’s not that I don’t own my purpose. I just see, she’s got this panache and this drive and this like amazingness, right? Not that I’m comparing at all. It’s just more, I think when I do the comparison it’s more about my appreciation for who she is as a human being, but it started with that purpose discovery. So folks, your imperfect inspired action is to start the work of discovering your purpose. And maybe that means reaching out to us and having a conversation.
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When someone calls you sensitive, like you’re too sensitive, you’re so sensitive, what they’re actually interpreting is their own emotional experience of the world. That’s what they’re interpreting.