John Marshall is a Certified Life Coach, Health & Wellness Coach, and 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher. He is also the Founder of Humessence, a professional coaching and workforce development company, as well as a Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher on Insight Timer, one of the world’s largest platforms for meditation. After eight years in corporate Global Business Development and Sales, he helps white-collar professionals live a fulfilled life today while growing toward a clear vision of where they want to be tomorrow. His company aids in supporting engagement, retention, and well-being with programs at the intersection of personal and professional development.
John Marshall, Self-Mastery & Leadership Coach
As an entrepreneur, Certified Coach, and Teacher, you wear a diverse set of hats…makes me wonder; tell me more about who is John Marshall? I am a passionate explorer. I prioritize nurturing relationships that impact my life as I work to ensure I don’t leave this world with an unexplored curiosity. Professional coaching contributes to these natural strengths by creating the opportunity to explore the world from different perspectives, develop unique relationships, and provide value through changing lives.
The curiosities I’ve deeply pursued (yoga, meditation, coaching psychology) have made me a better person and have a common theme: listening and observing. There is so much power in being present, appreciating where we are, and focusing on what’s right.
How do you define a purpose-driven life, and how do you help clients discover it?
A purpose-driven life is understanding what’s uniquely important to you and optimizing the components of well-being to set a clear future vision. It is designed and built around key character strengths, honoring roles and commitments, and the evidence-based psychology of well-being (Dr. Martin Seligman’s PERMA+ model).
We are all complicated beings who love to over-analyze things. A purpose-driven life follows a simple self-exploration process that’s uniquely yours. I take clients through a proven discovery process focused on their life and/or career, then integrate it into their every day through an ongoing weekly or biweekly coaching engagement. Executing and integrating this is difficult because there is no end; it takes practice, commitment, and working with an experienced coach in positive psychology to make a profound difference.
So John, how do you live a purpose-driven life?
I incorporate my core strengths — love, creativity, hope, curiosity — into my every day. I also have a clear vision of how my life will look and feel in 10 years that evolves with me. That specific vision helps me align my 1 and 5-year goals with the target and, ultimately, my daily activities — a 10-year vision built on incremental daily momentum.
For increased awareness, I track where I spend my energy each week related to the vital relationships and commitments in my life. It’s important to understand where you spend your time and how much you invest in what feeds your soul. For myself, there are many roles, such as a teacher, son, friend, brother, uncle, coach, leader, and student.
This is all part of my proactive mental health regimen, along with daily meditation and journaling practice. Physical health — movement, nourishment, sleep — is also critical to giving me the energy needed to honor my commitments, achieve my vision, and enjoy the journey.
What about when it feels like a purpose-driven life is out of reach because you’re going through a difficult time?
Everyone has access to improving their overall well-being. A purpose-driven life doesn’t come easy; it’s a way of being and takes practice to create strength and resilience during challenging times. Change is inevitable, but you learn to smoothly recover from positive and negative experiences with a solid foundation. This is why it’s critical to start building these habits when everything feels okay.
Two of the many resilience-building exercises I offer my clients are keeping a gratitude journal and writing a letter to their present self from their future self. Writing three things that went well and why they did — each day — is scientifically proven to increase positive emotion. Shifting your perspective to the future also helps people view the all-encompassing nature of their situation from a lens that makes it look smaller depending on the issue.
If someone is dealing with severe past or present trauma, it’s essential to explore licensed therapist options. This does not mean you are broken! On the contrary, it’s about positive action to improve your well-being and happiness. Some of my clients are committed to both therapy and coaching, and the results are truly remarkable.
What about those who feel it’s too late to start living a purpose-driven life now?
It’s never too late to follow your curiosity and passion. Whether you have a family and responsibility to others or just aren’t feeling up for it — living a purpose-driven life can happen whenever you want it to.
For example, the Harvard Study of Adult Development showed that the main factor that supported health, well-being, and longevity was deeply connected and fostered relationships. Those that replaced workmates with playmates in retirement. They had a friend they could call at 3 a.m. or spent time focused on their marriage into old age.
Positive emotion and engagement can happen at any stage of life. It’s essential to continue evolving the design of a life you love. You can live it for a short or long period of time — but all it takes is the first step in linking your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
How does living a purpose-driven life impact how your clients show up at work?
When you live your life on purpose, it shows up in your professional life — whether you want it to or not. Being present and self-aware changes the way you engage with and understand others.
Many of my clients talk about feeling burnt out, but a critical step in avoiding that is being aware of yourself — where you are, how you’re feeling, and what’s important to you. Take actions in your life that align with your strengths and values to increase positive emotion, fortify key relationships, and achieve balance over alleviating burnout.
When you’re aware of your strengths and values and align a career that leverages them — people feel that energy and want to be around it, grow from it. It allows you to be there for people authentically, be a better leader, empathize and collaborate with people without having a hidden agenda, and clearly define what success looks like for yourself and your organization.
Overall, living a purpose-driven life allows you to show up and respond to what life — at work or personally — brings your way. It gives you a grounded approach to working through challenging situations, intentionally spotting positivity, and understanding others.
So what are you waiting for? What does success mean to you? Take the first step. Start today.