Introduction

If you're like me, you often find yourself caught up in trying to think your way into living your purpose. I overanalyze, overplan, and overthink, hoping to find the perfect path. But the truth is, living our purpose is not about thinking—it's about feeling.

The Power of Feelings

We often think that our values have to be executed in a specific way, but that's just not true. The neuroscientist Antonio Demasio once said something that totally blew my mind. He said, "We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think." Isn't that amazing!? I love this because Demasio is a smarty-pants-science-nerd (highly technical term) who studies the brain, what we usually consider our thinking center, and EVEN he's saying that thinking is only what we do, but our capacity to feel is who we are!

Let that sink in.

To fully step into who you ARE, you can't think your way to it!

The Improv Game "Freeze"

There is a well-known improv game called "freeze" that is a lot of fun. In this game, two players act out a scene, and at any moment, someone can yell "freeze." When this happens, the players have to freeze in their positions, and a whole new scene starts based on their body positions.

The opening to the sketch show Key and Peele is a great example of the freeze game.

 

Feel the Magic. Freeze your Thinking.

To excel at this game, you need to let go of the existing narrative and pay attention to what your body is doing. Letting your body inform what happens next is key. As a coach, I often see people struggling with having rigid ideas that leave no room for new opportunities or magic!
One of the constant notes I give when coaching this game is to hold your idea loosely enough that it can change and to let go of what you think it should be.
For example, if I'm pretending we're in an operating room when "freeze" is called, I have to let go of the idea that I'm holding a scalpel. To start the new scene, I observe my body and feelings. The tension in my hand tells me I'm holding something. My eyes tell me I'm looking at my hand. My emotions tell me I'm focused on what my hand is doing. So, in the next scene, the only thing that carries over is the idea that I have a tool in my hand and a strong intention towards that tool. This approach is not rigid and allows space for creativity and magic to fill in the gaps.
In the next scene...
  • Maybe I'm carving the Thanksgiving turkey for my family...
  • Maybe I'm preparing to conduct an orchestra...
  • Maybe I'm a wizard about to cast a spell with my wand.
Wow! See how we have created room for magic by focusing on the information communicated by my body and feelings. It's fascinating to see how embracing this approach quickly and easily opens up new possibilities.
It was only recently that I realized the deeper application of what I teach and coach with the game freeze. It serves as a reminder that all the information you need is within your body. Feel it, listen to it, because that's your guide. Sometimes we dismiss that feeling or intuitive knowing, especially when it's just a loosely formed idea. Society often praises rational thought and thinking to such an extent that we are conditioned to believe that we must have a perfectly mapped out plan for living our purpose. However, I believe this is a limiting way of approaching life.

Applying the Lesson

Personally, I have realized that I have been placing too much importance on thinking and not enough on feeling. As 2023 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on my values and planning how I want to live with purpose in the upcoming year. 2023 was a year of plans that didn't quite materialize as I had hoped. This has led me to a shift in perspective, realizing that I have been trying to analyze and plan my way into living with purpose, when in reality, it is about recognizing and embracing my feelings. Living a purpose-driven life is not merely a matter of intellect, but rather one of emotions... and thus, it requires a heartfelt solution.
This year, I am letting go of the rigid narrative I have created, influenced by others, about how my purpose and values should manifest in my life to be considered valid. Instead, I am shifting my focus to how it feels when my values are truly fulfilled. I am holding my values and purpose close to my heart, while also remaining open to unexpected opportunities and exploring unique and surprising ways to express my values.

Conclusion

Living purposefully involves honoring the feeling, going with the flow, and being open to the magic as it unfolds. Discover the power of feeling over thinking in living a purposeful life. Embrace the feeling, let go of rigidity, and create magic in your journey towards living with purpose.
What are your values, and how can you let go of rigidity to embrace the feeling? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Unsure of your values? Watch this video
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