Purpose: What Makes You Get Out of Bed Each Morning?


What made you come out of bed this morning?

And no, I don’t mean your alarm clock 😉 In this case, I’m talking about your “ikigai” as they refer to it in parts of Japan. Your “raison d’être” as it’s called in France or your “plan de vida” in parts of Costa Rica. It’s your reason for living, whichever way you refer to it. The purpose that lights you up on the inside. The spark that keeps you going, even if circumstances could convince you to stop and give up.  

I could go on and on describing this concept as it’s one of my main passions and also my mission for my coaching business: supporting you to live a life that lights you up.

What does it look like when you live lit up? When you shine and glow from within? How does it make you feel??

This is a hint towards the purpose and priorities that will keep your fire burning. Yes, that inner flame that we all have. It can be lit by a spark of insight or inspiration. We receive an idea and choose to pursue it. Moments of motivation. 

This is the spark of passion. It then needs to be followed up though with perseverance. “Don’t let your dreams be dreams”. When things get hard, setbacks come, and they inevitably do, some people may not support you or even turn against you, success may be slow… yet what is it that makes you “keep on keeping on”?

Start With Why

Simon Sinek called it your “Why” in his meanwhile legendary Ted talk. In the case of your personal purpose the scope even gets bigger: why were you put on this planet? Not a small question. Sinek states that the moment you know your “why”, you can move on to your “how” and your “what”. It can give you the courage to overcome obstacles along the way, as Nietzsche says: “he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

You can divide this into your “Big Why” and your “Little Why”.  

Let’s start with the “Big Why”, this is your overarching purpose for life, the one that we all have as human beings. This of course depends on your life outlook or spirituality, but for a lot of us it comes down to: love. 

Loving each other, loving the planet we were put on and loving the one who placed us here. Since I am a Christian, the following two statements by Jesus sum it up perfectly: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39). You may have your own way to put it. 

It may sound simple, but it is not easy. But then again, we have our whole life to grow into it. This “big why” can act as a compass, you can always fall back on it when things don’t work out the way you wish, when hard times come or when you feel lost.


Then there is the “Little Why”, which is not small at all.

It’s the gift you bring to this earth. 
The passions you profess 
The talents you possess 
Your unique worth
The poetry of your personal purpose.
The book “Blue Zones” describes places on earth where more than average people live up to a 100 years or older, in a healthy way. The author Dan Buettner researched reasons that might contribute to these centenarians’ longevity. Apart from a set of healthy eating and exercising habits, one of the things they all had in common was: connection. 
They were connected to their community, their family, they contributed, they felt needed, they had a personal purpose. A lot of them could also promptly name this purpose. Ironically, living a purposeful life is not merely about fulfilling our own needs, it’s about feeling needed. It’s not about getting the most out of life, it’s about what we get to give. 

All of that said, what if you’re currently not clear on your overarching life purpose, let alone your personal purpose?

Well, let’s start by cutting ourselves some slack. Few of us are crystal-clear on our purpose, in fact, usually it’s a life-long process and needs to be attuned at times. I like what Steve Jobs once said in a commencement speech: “you can only connect the dots looking backwards”. So of course, centenarians have a lot of dots to connect. But we too can collect clues from the past, that clarify parts of our purpose in the present. We may not have the whole picture yet, but we are working towards it on a daily basis. 

Clarifying Your Purpose: One Puzzle Piece at a Time

➔ Circling back to the question at the beginning of this blog post: what is it that makes you come out of bed each morning? How would you answer? If you say, well, I need to make money. Then you can dig deeper and ask yourself, what is the reason that you need/ want to make money, besides the basics. Do you want to provide for your family? Save for a vacation? Or for a business that you would like to start? Focus on creating a financial foundation for yourself first? These are all clues that point you towards your personal purpose.

 In addition, you can start taking some time to reflect on moments in your life when you felt most: loved or loving, peaceful or useful, present or passionate. What were you doing, who were you with, which part touched your heart? 

➔ Another beautiful tool is to keep a gratitude journal, writing down three things that you are grateful for at the end of each day. These ‘gratitudes’ point to priorities in your life. If there are people, places or projects that spark a sense of peaceful passion in your heart, take note, and try to make sure you incorporate more of them in your life. 

➔ It also helps to start your day purposefully, for instance by asking this question in the morning: how can I be a blessing today? And I promise you, you’ll be the one feeling blessed at the end of that day. 

Above all, let’s remember to not put too much pressure on finding our purpose, because often, our purpose ends up finding us. 

Also, on some days and in some periods of your life, your only purpose may be plain and simple: to get up, dress up, show up and make it through the day. And that too, is totally okay.

Now I would love to hear from you. How would you describe your personal purpose in this phase of your life? 

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your day!


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