Stress or Frustration?

When we seek to live intentionally within our purpose, we tend to set goals that have meaning. We are more tolerant of the challenges along the way and tend to feel more engaged with whatever it is that we need to do, to reach those goals, even the frustrating parts. When we set meaningful goals aligned with our purpose it helps us to achieve something of significance. Achieving something of significance helps us to have a sense of progress. Experiencing progress helps us to feel a sense of accomplishment which helps us to remain engaged in the bigger goals regardless of the challenges. We become more tolerant and therefore also more resistant to frustration and feelings of psychological and physiological stress.

Purpose sits at the core of who we are and why we do what we do. Misalignment with our purpose inevitably leads to feeling unfulfilled and therefore frustrated.

Finding our purpose is an intentional activity. Compare it to finding a treasure… not looking for it means it will never be discovered. Unlike a treasure, nobody else can find our purpose for us. It is not something we contract out. Intentionally seeking it may lead us to finding it, but we need to look in the right places and have a plan in place. Perhaps a treasure map of where we’ve been and where we are going; how all our experiences link together to reveal a pattern. What did you see, what did you hear, who did you meet, what did they say, what did you feel, when did you feel that and so on.

Many people have managed to overcome some tremendous challenges in life by focussing on their purpose.

Once we find our purpose, we next set out to understand how we align with it in every stage of our lives and in the different domains of our lives: in our families, organizations, communities, etc. Often purpose is revealed through what we do in our families, organizations and communities, those natural roles we fulfil. It all requires action and being intentional. When many people set out to ‘find themselves’, they mention that they do it because they want more happiness and joy. Those are not things we find, they are consequences of what we find on our journey. No one sets out to find unhappiness and no joy. It is an outcome, a consequence, of being on a journey other than the one leading to our purpose. Many people have managed to overcome some tremendous challenges in life by focussing on their purpose. They have managed to endure immense psychological and physical pressure. What we need to find is purpose.

Being intentional about seeking alignment with our purpose also gives us a sense of control over our lives and helps us to make priority-based decisions rather than tolerating activity driven task lists that may or may not lead to satisfaction, happiness and joy. It helps us to maintain perspective. Every human on this planet, past present or future, has a purpose, regardless of their opinion of whether they have a purpose or not. Purpose often reveals itself when we look beyond our own discomfort, inadequacies, pain, suffering, the stuff we do and the things we own. It is often revealed once we understand how who we are impacts on other people, more specifically how it impacts on them in a positive way regardless of where we find ourselves and what state we’re in physically, mentally and spiritually. Finding your purpose doesn’t mean that you will never feel frustrated. It means you are able to recalibrate and realign more effectively and efficiently to get back on track to leading a fulfilling life.

Dr. Lehan Stemmet
Dr. Lehan Stemmet
Dr. Lehan Stemmet is a personal and organizational development expert. Over 20 years ago Lehan developed an interest in how people deal with challenges through what started as a personal project he called 'Deal With It'. He often presents the 'Deal With It' principles to diverse audiences and has also been a mentor and coach for many people over the years. In essence it is based on many years of interesting and challenging personal experiences as well as conversations with thousands of people from across the world and from various walks of life. He links his observations over the years with some of the latest published research on stress and resilience, including his own findings, and presents it in an easy-to-understand and practically applied way. Lehan has held various senior leadership and management roles in diverse industries and has also taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate management courses, including organizational behavior, research methods and organizational change and development. He is passionate about seeing people reach their full potential and has an affinity for multidisciplinary applied research, broadly categorised in the cognitive and behavioral neuroscience space, but with particular focus on stress and resilience and its moderators. He is qualified in biochemistry and microbiology, as well as in organizational and experimental psychology and holds several qualifications from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife, Fredericka, and their three children.




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