Have you ever rolled your eyes at someone who asked, "What does it all mean?" only to find yourself going through some stuff a couple of days later and wondering the same thing?
I've been doing an interesting exercise recently asking myself why I do the things I do. For example, what's the point of this blog? Well, it's a communication tool to put some of my thoughts out there, connect with like-minded people, attract potential clients, and gather posts somewhat haphazardly that maybe later I'll sort into a book. Also, I love writing and the idea that maybe I can reach someone I didn't know and got them to thinking about something new, just once a week.
Why do I want to be a Coach and what do I hope to achieve? Being and working as a Coach means freedom to me, as well as using my extraversion and empathy to lend support, form relationships, learn, and be part of other people's lives in a joyful, helpful, peaceful, resourceful, inspiring way. Hence, writing down stories and articles every week, as well as researching possible market niches for my practice, preparing to launch a website and following seminars about how to be the best Coach I can be are some of the activities that add meaning to my life.
It's clear that once you set yourself a goal, the action you take in order to achieve that goal gives meaning to your life. You may also find meaning through the people in your life you love. What's usually more difficult to reconcile is how to find meaning in suffering. Natural disasters, bad news from your physician, your partner leaving you, losing your job, or working your behind to the ground and not seeing any benefits - now, what's the meaning of that? What's the point to keep on keeping on if it all just gets taken away again eventually anyway?
In his book "Man's Search for Meaning", Viktor E. Frankl powerfully illustrates how he survived almost three years in concentration camps by remaining hopeful towards the future, and making plans of what he still wanted to accomplish (namely re-writing the manuscript about Logotherapy that had been taken from him). Conditions in the camp were such that he refrained from waking a fellow prisoner from his nightmare, because "no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us" (page 29). And yet, he found meaning in his suffering and rose above the horror. He could not avoid the suffering, but he could and did influence his attitude towards it.
Note that I'm not comparing Frankl's suffering to anything, because I can't. But, alas, all of us go through our own rough times; celebrities, heads of state, even royalty are no exception. How are you dealing with suffering? Do you accept the cards you are being dealt and make the best of it? Do you wait under the covers until the storm passes? Do you seek help and counsel from others who have been through similar experiences? If you're going through a difficult time right now, I invite you to imagine yourself some time in the future, after this has passed - what have you learned from this experience? Looking back, what good came of this? How can you modify your attitude to maybe shine a little light of humor on the situation? What could be the point? Can you make this into something that offers meaning, if not to you, then to someone else?
Til next time, all the best wishes.
Image by mozzercork, Flickr, Creative Commons License.