Assalamu ‘alaikum sisters and welcome to this conversation about creating a life purpose. How did you begin your day today? Did you have something to wake up for? Do you feel that your life has a meaningful purpose? Or are you just living day to day without any real enthusiasm or fulfillment? Each human being needs a sense of purpose in their life. Many of us may already have a definite and clear purpose, but haven’t yet articulated it. If you find yourself falling into this category, then most of your work is already done and putting your vision into words will make it only that much more powerful. If you’re not quite sure where you are, ask yourself the following questions to clarify:
“Am I living a purposeful life?”
“What is the purpose of my life?”
“What am I doing, feeling, hearing and experiencing that tells me that my life has this purpose and that I am living it?
You may find that you were very clear about the answers. Perhaps you have some idea of what you want your life to be about, but the big picture isn’t quite as clear yet. Perhaps it was there, but, lately, things have become a bit unclear.
Do I need a life vision?
It may seem that a life vision is for those who have big careers or are busy doing something. On the contrary, a powerful vision connects itself to all our actions in all the areas of our lives. It is about living with a bigger sense of purpose, where we actually focus on impacting others, our community and the world. When we live in this way, we are able to connect various areas of our lives into the larger jigsaw (our vision). Imagine living an inspired life where you are working to make a difference to the world and where the obstacles don’t get you down for long. Imagine waking up with focus; a focus that gives you energy and enthusiasm for life. I imagine that would be a pretty wonderful life and, insha Allah, Allah (SWT) will be pleased with us if we live in this way.
As Muslimahs we know that we are here on this earth to serve Allah (SWT). This is the “what” part of our purpose. What do I need/want to achieve in my life as a Muslim? The personal vision that you hold for yourself answers the question of “how” you will serve Allah (SWT) in your own unique way. The tasks that you take on after this clarity will give your life meaning and energy insha Allah.
Do you find that you have a sense of drive – you want to do something, but this vision needs some detail? One of my clients went through this. She was working as a nurse and she wanted to help people, but she realised that she wasn’t making the difference that she wanted to make. Large parts of her job and her environment were frustrating her and she wanted to quit and run away. Through coaching, she clarified her vision, which was to make an impact on people’s health through her work as a nurse, but on an entirely different level. She wanted to work in a team where leadership was present and in a different area of nursing entirely. She also wanted to move away and live close to nature. After clarifying her vision, she moved away, got another job and is living in an environment that is much more inspiring for her. By clarifying her vision, she made several changes in her life for the better.
So if you require more clarity, where do you begin? One way of clarifying your own vision is to build a connection to someone who does something that truly inspires you – someone who you see and think “I wish I could do that or be like that.” Having a role model is one way to get encouragement and support when beginning such an important task.
Who is a role model?
A role model would be someone who holds similar values to you and whose way of being, actions and behaviours are ones that you wish to model in your own life. A role model is a person who you can interact with and learn from in your day-to-day life.
Find an accessible role model
We are blessed to have wonderful female role models in Islam. Indeed we should learn about them and embody their qualities in order to be successful Muslimahs. However, challenges of modern life require thinking out of the box and practical support. So having a role model we can connect to in a personal way will make a tremendous difference. Imagine having a role model who can personally share their life vision with you. They can teach you by sharing their successes and what they learned from the challenges they faced. By having a role model that you can connect to, you will be able to learn how to create your own vision first hand.
Think of five people in your life who you find inspiring. Write down their names and what qualities they have that inspire you. Note down the area(s) of your life where you would want to embody some of these qualities. Perhaps you know a mum who is calm and inspiring with her kids or maybe you know someone who is great at business. Think of the areas of your life that must be included in your vision and find a role model who will help you build a vision in those areas of your life.
Remember to pick someone who you believe holds similar religious and life values as you (desire to make a difference, trust, sincerity, etc). Remember that their values will show up in their behaviour and will be seen. If they say one thing and behave in another manner then that is not a suitable role model.
If you don’t know someone personally, then reach out to your community to help you connect with someone. Tell them that you are looking for someone to mentor you and insha Allah someone who you can have a personal connection with will emerge. Also, don’t be afraid to take a risk. If there is someone who inspires you, but you don’t know him or her personally, take a leap and find out how to reach them. They may be very willing to help and work with you. Remember that if you do something new and different, you will get a new and different result.
Communicating with your role model is the first step. The next step is to take action. Begin carving out a vision statement with the help of your role model. Remember, it can be in the context of your work, parenting or any other context. Begin there and you can make your vision bigger to encompass all areas of your life later on. Next, begin to take some action on what your dream entails. Commit to doing one thing as a minimum (towards your vision) on a daily basis.
Learn from their mistakes and yours
Role models are people too. There will be moments when you may feel discouraged or have an obstacle. Reach out to them, share your challenges and ask them about the challenges they faced. Noticing that they made it through the challenges, and learning about how they did it, will inspire you to continue on the journey as well. Also, make an agreement with them on how often you will speak – remember, they have commitments and a vision too.
It is my wish that each of us finds fulfillment and purpose in our lives. Insha Allah we will find a role model that will help us along on the journey. My very best wishes for your success.
Sayeda Habib is a highly qualified professional coach. She coaches Muslim women to help them feel empowered and create results in their lives. She coaches clients one to one and also runs group workshops. She holds the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential issued by the International Coach Federation. She is the author of “Discover the Best in You: Life Coaching for Muslims.” She also contributes to various online and print publications. She has been featured in the media in various countries including Pakistan, the UAE and the United Kingdom. To find out more, log on to www.makelifehappen.com or email at Sayeda@makelifehappen.com