I have recently discovered the work of Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author of the Blue Zones Solution. In brief, what started as a photographic expedition for National Geographic to find the longest living cultures, Buettner and a team of scientists identified characteristics in certain geographic areas around the world where the inhabitants live significantly longer on average than most. These areas have been designated Blue Zones where the inhabitants reach the age of 100 at ten times the average rate, and was the catalyst for the Blue Zones Project, the largest preventive health care initiative in the United States.
The geographic areas identified as Blue Zones are:
- Ikaria, Greece - a tiny island in the Aegean Sea;
- Sardinia, Italy - a large Mediterranean island;
- Okinawa, Japan - the southernmost group of 150 islands of Japan;
- Nicoya, Costa Rica - one of the oldest settlements in Costa Rica; and,
- Loma Linda, California - an Adventist community in California that advocates vegetarianism and regular exercise.
I have followed the Blue Zone page on Facebook and enjoy reading the posts about the inhabitants of these remarkable communities, and a common theme comes through - aside from beans (yes, really - eat more), family, friends and natural physical movement, purpose is regularly cited by these wonderful centenarians as what keeps them going longer than most others.
Purpose is everything.
Purpose gives you a reason.
Purpose gives your work meaning.
Purpose makes you happy.
A life without purpose - that means something to you, is time not spent doing something that moves you.
A purposeless existence makes days merge into one.
Inhabitants of the Blue Zones understand this. That's why:
- in Sardinia, grandmothers live with the family and are expected to grow a garden, cook and pass their knowledge onto their grandchildren #purpose
- at 104, Ioanna Pirou, shopkeeper and weaver, when asked how long she wants to live states that she "still has so much to do" #purpose
- at 92, Francesca of Nicoya walks 10kms a day to sell her homemade tamales #purpose
Okinawans call it ikigai; the Nicoyans call is plan de vida - in essence, why you wake up in the morning.
What has all this to do with coaching?
Coaching can help you to identify and get clarity on your purpose - what you are meant for, and what you want to be remembered for; what gets you up and moving in the morning; your "why". Once you have clarity on this, making decisions and navigating obstacles become easier as you bring everything to your purpose and how what you are doing aligns to it.
Do you feel you have purpose in what you are doing currently? If not, is this because you are not clear on your purpose or is the role totally out of alignment with your purpose? Do you relish getting up in the morning?
I offer a complimentary obligation-free 30 minutes Discovery session to discuss your needs and how you can benefit from coaching.
Contact me to get clarity on your purpose and create the life and career you imagined...find your ikigai - and eat more beans!