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Living life on purpose: You gotta do what you gotta do

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One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began. – Mary Oliver


Live your life on purpose.life building blocks resized 600


I’ll give you two reasons:

1. Life is too short not to live it on purpose.

2. Living with purpose and meaning anchors you and gives you something to hold on to when the storms of life blow your way.

Because we all know the first reason well (although it is quite easy to forget), I want to focus on the second one.


How to live life on purpose

Although the idea of living life on purpose makes sense, the question is: How do you do it?

One of the reasons I like the quote above by Mary Oliver is that she shows us action and intention are involved. You knew what you had to do, and began. It’s not about knowing your life purpose and sitting back to admire it. You take action.

So now the question is: How do I begin – what do I do?

And the answer is: You practice your Core Gift.


Your life purpose in action

I like to call your Core Gift your life purpose in action. It is the thing that you do that is so easy for you and so energizing that it’s often called being in the “flow.”  It’s the action that helps you fulfill your life purpose.

Your Core Gift is something you are born with and it is different than your talents and skills. While a skill is something you learn, and a talent is an innate ability that you are good at, your Core Gift is the one über-talent that has been with you your whole life and directs you toward your purpose.

Although personality tests can be helpful, they tend to lump you in with others in a category with one-word descriptors or sets of letters. Your Core Gift is unique to only you and is described by a statement. Here are a few examples:

My Core Gift is helping mutual understanding to take place. I do this by teaching, leading, and sharing myself.

My Core Gift is providing balance. I do this by being in situations where I can be honest, peaceful, and a focused, competent problem solver.

My Core Gift is “composting.” I do this by demonstrating that there is nothing that cannot be transferred to riches by allowing the heat and energy of disintegration to take place.


Being who you are

So, how does knowing your Core Gift help you become more resilient? Your Core Gift is who you are and what you do. You bounce back into your “core shape” when difficulties arise because it is who you are. As Oscar Hammerstein once wrote, “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly . . .”

When the squalls in life blow your way, your anchor that holds you steady is your knowledge of who you are as a Gifted person. You know you can be no other so you are more easily able to bounce back.


Discovering your Core Gift

How do you name your Core Gift? I’m doing a workshop in a few weeks here in the Bay Area that helps you do just that and I’ll describe it below.

But, if you’re not in the area or can’t make the workshop, a couple of good resources are a blog post I wrote awhile back about finding your Gift and a wonderfully detailed post  written by Tina Suh of ThinkSimpleNow.com.


Your Core Gift is living life on purpose, with purpose. It is about doing. You have much to bring to this world.


Takeaway points: Living life on purpose is what fuels your resiliency. The way to be most purposeful is to know and use your own unique Core Gift.


What’s your Core Gift and how do you put it into action?


Who Are You, Really? Discover Your Core Gift

Workshop to be held Friday, February 24th, 9 am to 4 pm, Palo Alto, Ca.

Want to discover your Gift with a group of other like-minded people? More information can be found here.



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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.