Finding Purpose Through Expressing Your Whole Self #42 #cong22

Fiona English

Synopsis:

The key to purpose in life is to fully express all of who you are and can be. What you do, how you live, your relationships and your legacy will all flow naturally from a commitment to allow all parts of yourself to be seen and expressed in the world. Your life, work or business simply provide the vehicles through which you express your whole self. By becoming the fullest version of who we can be, we maximise our impact in the world. Each of us has the power to make a difference.

Total Words

1,727

Reading Time in Minutes

7

Key Takeaways:

  1. The key to purpose in life is to fully express all of who you are and can be. What you do, how you live, your relationships and your legacy will all flow naturally from a commitment to allow all parts of yourself to be seen and expressed in the world. Your life, work or business simply provide the vehicles through which you express your whole self. By becoming the fullest version of who we can be, we maximise our impact in the world. Each of us has the power to make a difference.

  2. Becoming the person we are destined to be is about becoming more whole; We all have a desire to experience this ‘wholeness’. In transpersonal psychology or coaching, the belief is everyone is on a path of psychospiritual development whether it is acknowledged or not. You are either consciously or unconsciously searching for your ‘whole’ self. Abraham Maslow called this self-actualisation, Carl Jung referred to it as individuation; the path each individual takes to become whole.

  3. Living a fully expressed life matters. The world needs more people who are working to become more whole. It is a powerful choice. People working towards full expression become healthy, evolved, well rounded individuals. Healthy individuals come together to connect as healthy groups and societies. This is what the world needs.

About Fiona English:

Fiona is a keynote speaker, coach and thought leader who combines her extensive experience in global investment markets with expertise and thought leadership in human potential, purpose, leadership and self-expression.

Passionate about the areas of life that are innately human, the red thread that runs through all her work is the exploration of who we are & how we want to show up in the world. Recognised as a contemporary thinker and inspiring speaker in areas such as leadership, purpose, and self-expression, she has spoken at events in over 30 countries globally and was a semi-finalist in the Nordic Business Forum global speaking contest in 2022. In her previous career, she worked in global investment markets for nearly 20 years with institutional clients across multiple markets. In 2015, she was one of 50 women globally chosen to participate in the W50 Program in UCLA, California, aimed at building the next generation of global women leaders.

Through her MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, Fiona conducted research into how spirituality, meaning, purpose, and authenticity manifest for individuals in our modern society. She continues to focus on her research areas of personal leadership, meaning and purpose, authenticity and spirituality through her speaking, thought leadership and writing. Alongside her speaking practice, she coaches and advises purpose-led entrepreneurs, business leaders and individuals seeking to deepen their understanding of who they are so they can live, work and lead with greater impact and authenticity.

Contacting Fiona English:

You can connect with Fiona on LinkedIn or see her work on her website.
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By Fiona English

The desire for something to be different, for a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, is a common mid-life phenomenon. You may have ticked all the boxes society expected of you; maybe you went to college, built a career, bought a house, got married or had children. For the first time in 20 years, you take a breath. In this deeper breath comes a moment of expansion. A realisation there is an internal desire for more. A recognition there is more of you which wants the time and space to unfurl and be expressed in the world.

I was a classic mid-lifer. There was nothing wrong with my life. Quite the contrary. By any measure, I was what society termed ‘successful’. I was 38, on a steep career trajectory in a global investment firm, considered a star performer by my employers. I was financially comfortable, had a nice life, plenty of friends and family. I was happy. But when I took that deeper breath something inside me awoke from its slumber. Something deeper began calling me to put myself on a different path. And once it was awake, it was insistent it would take up the space it wanted in my life.

James Hollis, a Jungian psychotherapist and author I greatly admire, has noted, at different times in our life, the psyche will withdraw support for life as it is. Your soul decides it is time for change and growth, that there is something new inside you to be expressed. This is exactly what it felt like for me. At first, it was a tiny internal shift, hardly perceptible even to myself. One day, I just didn’t feel like I fit my life as neatly as I did previously. I am regularly asked how I knew it would be the right choice to embrace this change in my life. The truth is I never found that level of certainty. Rather, I was certain if I did not act on what my inner world was telling me, I would regret it. I knew, without any doubt, I was supposed to do something with my life that would put me in greater service of the world around me. I just had to figure out what that something was. I came to realise I wasn’t searching for something, I was searching for someone; for the person I knew I could be, the person who would show up in the world in a way that mattered. The actions I would take as a result would only be revealed to me when I had invested in and evolved to become the person I felt destined to be.

The Problem with Purpose & The Case For Expression

Social media posts everywhere assert you should ‘find your purpose’ suggesting purpose is just one thing, a holy grail you must uncover. In essence, taglines like this imply you must take a singular approach to a fulfilling life. This approach reinforces the idea of purpose as simply something we do. Specifically, something we work at or monetise. This is a gross over-simplification of purpose. Purpose is not static, not one thing you find. Purpose is part of your identity, constantly evolving and alive just as you are. There is no purpose without evolution of the Self. The very nature of a purposeful life is to evolve. To let go of who you are and commit to the possibility of who you can be.

The key to purpose in life is to fully express all of who you are and can be. The word ‘expression’ comes from the Latin ‘to press out’ referring to extracting or pressing out something that is already there. You don’t need to ‘find’ anything. Everything you need is already inside you. What you do, how you live, your relationships and your legacy will all flow naturally from a commitment to allow all parts of yourself to be seen and expressed in the world. Your life, work or business simply provide the vehicles through which you express your whole self. Becoming the fullest version of who you can be is how you grow your sense of purpose and maximise your impact in the world.

To Become Fully Expressed is to Become Whole

The circle is a fundamental symbol of human growth found across multiple cultures. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the symbol of the Mandala represents the whole universe. In Jungian psychology, the mandala is used to represent the wholeness of the Self. We all have a desire to experience this ‘wholeness’. In transpersonal psychology, the belief is everyone is on a path of psychospiritual development whether it is acknowledged or not. You are either consciously or unconsciously searching for your ‘whole’ self. Abraham Maslow called this self-actualisation, Carl Jung referred to it as individuation; the path each individual takes to become whole. Feeling a lack of purpose is often simply a lack of wholeness; there are parts of you yearning to be acknowledged and expressed. Wholeness recognises we are not looking to be singular through ‘one’ purpose but rather to be complete through our fullest expression.

At some point, we all feel called to question how life can have greater significance because each of us wants to live a life that matters. The desire for purpose is rooted in that ideal. Whether you have acknowledged it or not, you have a vision for yourself and your place in the world. To answer this call is to decide you want to become a more fully expressed version of yourself, to recognise there is latent potential inside you which wishes to come into form. This inner desire matters. These internal nudges represent the inner knowing of your true path in life. Your inner self already understands your fully expressed self will fill some void in the world. That there is ‘purpose’ in your path towards wholeness, a space in the universal jigsaw that your fully expressed form will fit. To live a life of greater purpose is to trust this inner voice. To trust if this call is within you, the answers you seek will lie there also.

Becoming Fully Expressed Matters

Living a fully expressed life matters. The world needs more people who are working to become more whole. It is a powerful choice. People working towards full expression become healthy, evolved, well rounded individuals with a deep understanding of how purpose manifests in their lives. Healthy individuals come together to connect as healthy groups and societies. To become fully expressed is to recognise you, and everyone around you (whether it be your staff, your spouse or society) benefit most not simply from what you do but from the whole person you can become and what that person will be able to offer to our world.

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