During June and July we have been focussing on how to find meaning and purpose in our life and work. In light of this, I decided to interview a number of inspiring people from different walks of life to seek their views on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.
Today I am honoured to have Jessica Bean, Inspirational Health Empowerment Coach, on the blog to share her thoughts on meaning and purpose.
Jess is one of the most inspiring and beautiful humans that I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Although we studied life coaching together and primarily bonded online, we have only ever met in person once. I remember meeting her for a hot drink when I was in Brisbane visiting my Dad whilst he had radiation therapy for terminal brain cancer. She was so warm and bubbly, with the most contagious smile and empathetic eyes – her energy, generosity, and kindness overwhelming. From that day on, I was hooked – both in the personal sense as a friendship, and in the professional sense in a real trust and connection with the message she was sharing with the world.
I am stoked to have her on the blog today to share her views on meaning and purpose. I knew that she would have a unique and valuable perspective to share – who amongst many other things, juggles Cystic Fibrosis with her passion for caring for others and helping them become advocates for their own health and happiness. And guess what? I wasn’t surprised. I loved every word that she had to share – and I hope you do too.
What does ‘living a meaningful and purposeful life’ mean to you?
Living a life that feels aligned with the things that make my heart happy.
Meaning and purpose are things you feel you were given this life to do, the things that make life worthwhile and the way you understand the world around you. It is the motivation for overcoming obstacles and closely connected to our dreams and aspirations (when we are really honest with ourselves). Having purpose and meaning in our lives creates resilience, peace and joy.
I believe that when we live life this way we feel our life, no matter how tiny we feel amidst the universe, is important to the world around us.
In your opinion, do you need to feel like you have a meaningful and purposeful career in order to live a meaningful and purposeful life?
For a number of years, my health was my full time job. I would spend hours a day dedicated to treatments, medications, appointments and doing what I needed to literally stay alive. It was hard to see my friends chasing careers and goals when it felt like I was swimming up waterfalls.
In the last year or so I have been fortunate enough to have had a stabilisation in my health that has created space for other interests and passions. In that time I have learnt that a big part of what made being unwell hard was not only being unable to work, but being unable to feel purposeful. For me, being able to serve others is a huge part of my ‘why’. When I was unwell and disconnected from this, it was easy to become focused on the negatives and the struggles and loose sight of the reason I want to fight so hard to regain my health. By incorporating even just a little more of the things brought meaning and purpose into my life I was able to think about life differently and with more energy, hope and aspiration for the future.
Doing something in life that gives you purpose and meaning is so incredibly important to all aspects of our lives including our health. I don’t think this has to be part of your career necessarily but I do think it helps if your career can be supporting it in some way. This can be directly through what you do or indirectly for, by example providing the financial space to contribute to it. Sometimes shifting our perspective about the relevance of our day job is all that is needed to help find more meaning and purpose in it.
How do you personally inject meaning, passion and purpose into your life and work?
This has looked different throughout my life, however for me it has always been about helping others improve their quality of life. Doing so brings me so much joy and to me is the essence of human connection and community. At the moment this means sharing my story and the way it has shaped how I see the world. I understand what it means to feel stuck and overwhelmed and have been blessed to have had some amazing mentors in my life that have helped me get to where I am today.
I try and work with others in the way I would have liked someone to support me in my hardest days. I hope to inspire them to look more deeply at their lives and find the things their heart wants more of to use as a guide forward. I know helping people get clear and connected to what they need in their life, whether that is health related or otherwise can be a game changer.
Helping others to live the best life possible gives me so much joy. Being able to live a life that is for a bigger purpose than my own provides me the motivation to get through the hard days. The knowing, that perhaps in my darkness there is light for someone else. In helping others, I am also helping myself.
What advice would you give someone who is on a quest for meaning and purpose?
You already know what it is that will bring more meaning and purpose into your life, you just have to listen to those heart whispers.
I believe our souls naturally gravitate towards what we need to bring us closer to this, we just have to trust. They are those things that grab our attention when we aren’t necessarily thinking about it and the things that make our heart want more. They are the things you do or feel when you are living a life aligned with your biggest, truest self. Life is short, take the time to listen to what those things are and follow them, play with them and devote time to whatever they are.
What creates meaning and purpose in our lives is unique and diverse, don’t be influenced by what you think it should be or wait for the permission of others.
I recently bought a picture for my wall that says “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” This is how I feel about living a life aligned to my meaning and purpose – no matter how scary it can be or what gets in the way, this is what truly living is about, the things that mean more to us than our fears ever could.
Get out of your own way and see what takes shape!
Jessica Bean, Health Empowerment Coach
Jessica Bean is an inspirational health empowerment coach; blogger and public speaker who supports young women living with chronic illness to confidently and courageously become the advocates for their own health and happiness.
Informed at 21 that she would need a double-lung transplant to survive the damage caused to her lungs by Cystic Fibrosis, which she has lived with since birth, Jessica decided to take control of her health, her happiness and her future.
Following a four-year journey to radically stabilise and improve her health, Jessica is still breathing through her own two lungs.
She has married the man of her dreams, travelled overseas and started her own business, achieving many of the life goals that on that terrifying day seemed as if they might never come to pass.
The ethos behind Jessica’s work is a strong belief that each individual’s health needs are as unique as they are and as such there is no right or wrong when it comes to healthcare.
Through her blog, one-on-one health empowerment coaching and speaking engagements, Jessica motivates women to find the heart amidst their healthcare so they can move beyond being the patient and embrace the life they truly want.
Jessica’s inspirational work encourages women to develop the clarity, confidence and courage to respond to any health challenges life may throw their way, so they’re not just surviving but thriving.
For more information on Jessica visit www.jessicabean.com.au.