Want to live 12% longer? I’m about to spill the beans.
Strecher’s study shows that lacking purpose influences disease and death similar to factors like tobacco use, poor diet, inactivity, and stress.
The good news? Even tiny additions of purpose in your life make a significant impact. And our epic fail is misunderstanding and underestimating what this means.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- The measurable consequences of lacking purpose
- Bye-bye big lie — strip the purpose illusion
- Undrape what “getting on purpose” actually looks like
- 3 easy ways to immediately inject purpose into your life
- How to piggyback wins for increased momentum
Stop hunting purpose like it’s some earth-shattering “find” or the magic pill for self-fulfillment. It’s not a location, job, spouse, bank account balance, or some other accomplishment. You could misguidedly waste your whole life searching for this needle in a haystack.
Living your life with purpose is a much simpler, undaunting formula. It’s the domino effect caused by small, intentional changes, and I’ll give you a new scorecard today.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Sign up for Sundae’s FREE online workshop series and learn key strategies for expats struggling to get back on track.
- Victor J Strecher’s book Life on Purpose
- Sundae’s battle cry for being more on purpose: Expats on Purpose Manifesto
- Sundae’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and Intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Stop resisting it, we are programmed for purpose.
People who report a strong purpose in life, on average live longer lives than those with a weak purpose.
In a study conducted over fourteen years it was found that an even minor increase on a seven-point scale for purpose resulted in over twelve percent reduced risk of dying.
Current research shows that lack of purpose contributes to at least as much to disease and death as do other factors such as tobacco use, poor diet, inactivity and stress.
People with a strong purpose in life on average have better sex, sleep better and are less likely to become depressed.
Convinced that purpose is important?
For real we are programmed for purpose.
And what you’ll see if you check out Victor’s book, it shows us how living for purpose, for living for what matters most changes everything.
This episode of Expat Happy Hour kicks off our focus on purpose.
If you’ve been following me the last few months, you know we are smack dab in the middle of a four-part series on expat quicksand.
And quickly for those of you who didn’t have the last few episodes in mind, expat quicksand is where I see so many expats get stuck, walking unsuspectedly into tough spots and struggling to get out.
So we started by looking at connection, connection with ourselves and connection with others. Then last month we looked at how to get unstuck, and this month we’re going to look deeply into purpose, before we go on to direction to finalize this four-part series.
Because purpose, it’s everything.
And I know what you’re thinking, there are some of you who are like, “Oh Sundae, it’s just common sense, isn’t it? Like I’m the one to decide what I want to do, I’m the one to drop an action plan and get started.” So you feel accountable to do that but you’re stuck, and then you start thinking that something is wrong with you.
I see this with so many of my clients, so if this feels familiar, I get it. And we’ll see why in this episode, why feeling like something is wrong with you is not at all the case, maybe our thinking around purpose is what’s wrong.
Okay, so if you’re hungry for a sense of purpose, but you haven’t figured out what that is yet, no pressure, but your life depends on it.
Seriously, because when we fail to identify a greater sense of purpose for ourselves, especially while we’re living abroad, it puts your happiness, relationships, the assignment and even your health at risk.
That’s why you’re hungry for more purpose because it’s so damn important, it’s what extends your life and boosts your happiness.
And it’s like “Oh we do feel like we don’t have it, I don’t have it, I’ll figure it out that purpose.” It’s no wonder that you get caught up in self-doubt or your self-worth takes a hit.
But let’s all calm down, deep breath.
You are feeling that hunger because you’re programmed for purpose, so stop second-guessing yourself, stop feeling guilty for wanting more purpose, stop ignoring your desire to get out the sidelines of your life.
This is you doing your best to live a full life because you are programmed for purpose. I’m like clenching my fist right now people, my hands are high in the air because this is so important.
And the problem with purpose is because it’s not something out there, people feel like they have to go find it, like it’s a needle in a haystack.
First of all, “Thanks, here’s this gigantic haystack and I have to flipping dive in and try to find a needle and what if it pokes me in the eye, how am I going to am I ever going to find it? What will it take? Am I gonna suffocate?” And if you don’t find it, this proverbial purpose needle in a haystack, then you feel like you failed, you can spend your whole life looking for it.
And I know, depending on your religious background or a spiritual practice, some people believe that we’re all given a purpose and it’s our job to live it out. I don’t know, I am open to that, I love that idea. I don’t know, I’m not going to claim that I have the answers to the universe, but what I do know is that you need a purpose. That to live a life full of meaning and direction will support your happiness, your health and your longevity. Because finding purpose, as we know from the research, leads to better health and overall happiness, it benefits our lives.
I see this in my clients lives all the time, recently I had a client who came to me because she was hungry for more purpose and we started doing what’s called the year of transformation together. And at that time she was a stay-at-home mom living abroad, had two kids and just felt stuck. Her self-worth had taken a hit and she had left all of her professional talents to move abroad and was hungry to find purpose outside of her family. And along the way we found an endeavor, it was some sort of professional direction that she re-engaged in that helped her feel more on purpose. She started to feel more valuable, she started to value her time more, she made exercise a higher priority even though she was busier. She felt more confident, she was showing up differently in her relationship, also with her kids and she was making bigger decisions. Was it her thing forever this job, actually no, but what she did was say yes to herself and did more on purpose. It gave her greater happiness, and she ironically started taking even better care of her health even though she was busier.
So you too, when you get more on purpose, whether it’s the thing you do forever or just for now to get you back on track, you show up differently for yourself, for your friends, for your partner and even for your kids. It’s a domino effect, because we’re programmed for purpose.
So I’m going to ask you, just for a moment to drop the “it”, like the “find it”. “I want to find my purpose.” Which might be really really important and great for your long-term life, I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that, but we’re going to look at it from a different way.
So I want you to start getting results now.
So without having to figure out what your business will be, the thing you’ll study, the job you’ll find, the creative direction to pursue, whatever that is, those big important things that are all part of living purposeful lives. I want to put that on a shelf for a moment and do something now, where you can feel results now, so you can start living on purpose.
Because purpose is about creating it, not finding it.
This is a process, and as I said, I help people in that process, that big process, but we’re going to focus more narrowly today on getting started now.
So if you’ve been a longtime listener of Expats on Purpose you might already know this, but some of you might be surprised to learn that I have a battle cry for being more on purpose. It’s called the Expats on Purpose Manifesto. And if you haven’t heard of that before listen up because this is like a map on how to be more on purpose. No matter what, no matter where you are, until you find that thing, until you create that thing, this is how you can be more on purpose now.
And if you’re a member of my Facebook group Expats on Purpose, you better know what the Expats on Purpose Manifesto is, because it’s exactly what everything is built on.
For those of you who are like “The what?” I will put it in the show notes, it’s called the Expats on Purpose Manifesto. We’ll talk about a little bit of it today, I’ll put in the show notes and you can go check it out in more detail later.
You are warmly welcomed to join my group Expats on Purpose go in the Facebook group and fill out the questions and tell them that you listen to Episode 134 and we would love for you to join us.
So I’ve got this battle cry for being more purpose, being more on purpose in our lives. And this is what we want to drive us forward until we’ve created the “it” the big thing whatever that thing is.
For the moment we’re going to start living more on purpose now and today I’m going to share three ways to get started.
And it starts as simple as saying no to one thing and yes to another.
So here we go, three ways for you to be more on purpose.
Number one; Say no to sacrificing your needs for others, say yes to meeting your needs along with others.
Okay, say no to sacrificing your needs for others say yes to meeting your needs along with others. I can give you a load of client examples, but I’m going to tell you one of my own. When I think about this idea, I think about how I’ve lived that, you know to go away from sacrificing your needs for others to meeting your needs along with others.
One of the most challenging things that I’ve had to do was when we were in Burkina Faso and after the terrorist attacks that hit on January 15th, within 10 days I moved to Switzerland with my two boys, separating our family and I brought my business with me, solo parented in an absolute new apartment, new place with uncertainty. Everyone around me would have understood if I had put my business on hold, even my health on hold, to make sure that the kids have a great transition and we recalibrate right?
But I had worked so hard to create my business and it started taking pretty good care of myself. I was like “Hell no, I am not going to give up everything because of this thing that happened.” So for me to say no to sacrificing my needs for others when I didn’t have my partner with me, right he was in Burkina Faso, I had to figure this out, I had to find a creative way to get my needs met.
So one very practical thing that I did was I realized in my day, because there’s a lot of public transportation in Switzerland, I had to take the tram, It’s like a what do you call a tram in English? I think it’s still a tram. That’s what is in German, kind of like those San Francisco rail cars. I had to take that to get from our apartment or temporary apartment to their school and back. So I was spending 45, 50, maybe even 60 minutes a day on this public transportation taking my kids to and from school.
That means I wasn’t working on my own business, I wasn’t running, I wasn’t grocery shopping, I wasn’t doing any of that and the quality of time with my kids was like so so. You know how kids are they after school, the end of the day, the kind of zoning out and they need to sort of come down and relax. So what I realized is, if I had a babysitter pick the kids up from school twice a week, that will save me an hour and a half of this sort of dead time, you know going from school to home. And guess what that would make time for? I could go running, that means instead of sitting on the tram, I could be running while someone I trusted could pick up my kids and have an adventure on the way home. And that’s what they ended up doing, she was the coolest babysitter, she had tattoos and piercings and super sweet, worked in a daycare, like the best thing I could imagine.
She was hanging out with my kids having fun while I was running and that meant my kids got picked up from school by someone we trusted, someone who was fun, create adventure for my boys. I got to run, took care of my health, could decompress. So I was a much better mother when they walk through the door.
Say no to sacrificing your needs for others, say yes to meeting your needs along with others, and all it took was for me to step back and say “Hey, how can I make this better? How can I squeeze in two 45-minute running sessions without impacting my family or my business?”
Okay, so that’s my invitation to you, what’s one need you feel like isn’t getting met? For me I was not getting quiet time and running time met, and I found a way to make it happen. For you it might be just like 5 minutes of downtime, maybe it’s 20 minutes to run and could be a girls’ night out or it could be date night.
Pick one and make that a priority and get creative, do what you gotta do to schedule it and communicate it. I don’t care, buy, barter, bribe, beg, just make it happen, because your needs are important, and they should get met.
So step one, one thing this isn’t like something you do in chronological order, it just one of many things you can do to live more in purpose, is to say no to sacrificing your needs for others and say yes to meeting your needs along with others because no one gets a gold medal for sacrificing their needs. You’re not a martyr to your family, you’ll burn out and you won’t be useful to anybody.
I know that when I need to go on a run, everybody in my family makes it a priority because I’m much better person when I come back,
So another thing you can do to be more and purpose, all in line with the Expats on Purpose Manifesto is to say no to putting yourself last, say yes to first class self-care. First class self-care is when you’re taking really good care of yourself. We’re not sitting packed in economy self-care, like “I suffer for hours.” We’re doing first class self-care, which means “I got 8 to 9 hours of really rejuvenating sleep.” What can you do to take really good care of yourself? Because again everybody benefits when you do that.
One of my clients, when she started saying yes to first-class self-care, realized that what she was doing was putting herself last over and over and over again. She did a ton for her family, a ton for the organization. She was an accompanying partner living abroad and then challenging context and she was showing up for everybody in really good ways, but the problem was that what she had planned for her would always get put on the back burner because things would come up. Like let’s say she wanted to go exercise but she had to wait for an electrician, and they were late and then she couldn’t go. And at the end of the day she’d be mad because the things she wanted to do for her didn’t happen and she was fed up.
So she said no to putting yourself last yes to first-class self-care and what she did is she said “I’m going to do the thing for me first thing in the morning so it’s done and then I can see the electrician, then I can do pick up and drop off for the kids and I can go help at the organization etc. etc. I am going to do the first thing for me and then I’ll serve everybody else.” So when she goes to bed at night she was like “At least I did that for me.” So remember she still meeting the needs of others, but she’s making hers a priority.
So, I love this, so what she did in this case, hers was yoga. She did yoga first thing in the morning, but here was the clincher, she needed the car and her partner also needed the car, they were a bike ride away from work, but the car was the easiest way to go because of the heat. So she communicated in her family. “My health is important; I’m going to do yoga in the morning so that I can be of service to everybody else the rest of the day. Are you willing to be ready for the car at you 08h05 so that I can get to yoga on time and I can drop you off at work?” Yes, yes, okay.
So all on track everything sounds good, first day of yoga she’s like, “Okay, it’s time to go, we leave in 10 minutes, we’re leaving.” “Yes, yes we’re leaving.” “5 minutes, we’re going.” “Yes, yes.” Okay now it’s time to go and she goes “My yoga starts in 5 minutes, I need to leave, I’m going to take the car, if you’re not in the car in 5 minutes, then you can bike to work.” And she got in the car, she waited the five minutes and she said “Okay, I see you’re biking to work.” And she laughed.
Her partner was a bit stunned at this prioritization of herself, but what she did was make herself a priority, she communicated it and it helped her partner see how serious her new routine was. So guess what happened the next morning? He was in the car ready to go. She stopped putting herself last, started taking first class care of herself and found a way to meet her needs along with others.
Okay, so what can you do?
What can you do to start bringing in more first-class care of yourself? And when you hear self-care most people think about like massages and bubble baths and things that cost money. No absolutely not, doesn’t have to cost anything. I mean, it could be adding lemon and or cucumber to your water, it could be putting it in a fancy glass instead of that crappy cup that you have, it could be telling your kids “You know what, during bath time I’m going to take a bath too, So when you’re done get your books ready.” It could be asking your partner to take over bedtime one night a week so that you can go to bed early and get the sleep that you need.
It doesn’t have to be complicated; it doesn’t have to be expensive. Honestly, when I work with people about having first class self-care, it’s literally as simple as saying “What is one thing I could do to take better care of myself?” And then just communicating it if it impacts others and making it happen. And most of the people I work with, their partners, their family is warmly welcoming this effort to do small things to take care of yourself. It’s usually not really a big deal.
So what can you do to say no to putting yourself last and say yes to first class self-care?
Okay, there we go, that’s the second thing that we’ve done.
The third one to help you warm up to this idea of creating more purpose, is near and dear to my heart, and that is around connection. So what can you do say no to craving connection and say yes to creating connection?
Say no to craving connection say yes to creating connection.
Because relationships are so central to feeling on purpose, to feeling like your life is meaningful.
So one of my clients was craving connection with her partner, but their lives were so busy, whenever they did spend time together they were so busy hanging out, talking about logistics and flights and vacations and pick up and drop off etc., that they never had time to really spend time together. So what they did is they created a 30-minute window on a Friday morning to only talk about logistics, which freed up that weekend for them to actually connect.
For you, maybe it’s date night. Just recently I went on a run and my one of my best girlfriends in Switzerland was on a hike in Italy and together we exercised and talked while we were working out. So we were able, we were craving connection with each other and we said no to craving and we said yes to connecting. we made a time. “Okay, I’m going to work out then, you’re going to be hiking then, let’s get on the phone and talk.”
Say yes to creating connection.
So that’s my invitation to you. Who are you craving connection with? What needs to happen to nurture that? Sometimes it’s as simple as sending a text message and saying, “Hey meet you in 30 minutes, let’s go on a walk.” I don’t care where they are in the world, it could be as simple as that.
So there you have it three ways that you can get started living more on purpose.
Forget this needle in a haystack, start now.
You can check out my Expats on Purpose Manifesto for more ideas and you are welcome to join my Facebook group Expats on Purpose. Make sure you answer the questions and let them know that you listened to Episode 134.
And if you want to hang out live with me and get coached by me face-to-face, I’ve got an online workshop series and process, one is coming up in a few days, if you’re listening to this right away, it’s going to help you get out of a rut.
So if you’re not signed up for my four-part series, I’m giving workshops on purpose, on meaning on direction, do it now. Because I’d love to see you live, face-to-face in my online workshop where we can talk and get you unstuck and get you towards more purpose and meaning.
This episode has looked at how failing to identify a greater sense of purpose for yourself, especially when you’re living abroad can put your happiness, your relationships, assignment and even your health at risk.
It’s time to accept that you are programmed for purpose.
And let’s drop the pressure of finding “it” and start doing more to live on purpose now.
I’ve given you three ways to get started, remember number one was, say no to sacrificing your needs for others and say yes to meeting your needs with others along with others. Number two was, say no to putting yourself last and say yes to first-class self-care and the third was, to say no to craving connection and say yes to creating connection.
There’s so much more right?
We’re going to drop the needle in the haystack pressure and start taking back control of your life and living more on purpose.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean, thank you for listening.
I’m going to leave you with the words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist, short story writer and philosopher.
He says, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”