Finding your purpose in life is at the heart of who we are. Whether consciously or otherwise, when we have not found it we spend our time seeking to discover it. On the flip side, when we feel we have found it, life becomes about seeking out the activities that allow us to fulfil our purpose. The process as well as the final destination, has a marked bearing on what we think, how we feel about our environment, our interactions with the world and people around us and rudimentary are our values and beliefs.
Your purpose is your reason for living. ~ Bob Proctor
It is in many ways a veritable voyage, if only we could focus speculatively on the journey that is navigated by our inner world. More often than not, we are a rowing boat in the middle of the ocean being tossed about wildly. Expectations from authority figures or peers in our families, educational environments, work contexts and society in general can disrupt that journey rendering us stuck and feeling like we are failing.
I see this in my employability and enterprise work with young people. Dubbed NEETs – not in education, employment or training. However, it is quite remarkable to see the transformation in some when presented with a broader understanding of how their work life could be experienced. Some may have been reluctant to find an entry level job say for instance in a supermarket. When they are coached around considering new perspectives and begin to see it as a part of their self-development and not something that has to consume their lives as a ‘dead end job’ and further that there are opportunities for self-employment or even their own business, it is excellent to see the world of work open up for them. Motivation becomes a factor, they become cause in the matter of their future. They become unstuck and begin to see their way to winning.
If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose. ~ Bishop T. D. Jakes
How to find your purpose
Five key questions that will start your journey or enable you to review your current outlook:
Who do you most admire and why?
It could be someone in your family or they could be in the public eye. This will provide you with a basis for considering what values and beliefs furnish your outlook. We often admire in others, that which we want for or to be in ourselves. It is a good thermometer. Take a note of your top three.
What do you do? In other words, what do you know you could produce or teach others without hesitation?
The passion you have for this activity is the most telling sign. Something you would do even if you were not being paid for it. In this case the game will be to find out how to make money or monetise it. However, do not concern yourself with a creating a block or limiting belief of money. It is too easily done. Instead, start to realise how you can spend your days being productive and happy in your work. Write one sentence about what you do.
Who do you do it for?
This could be your ideal customer if you are thinking with your entrepreneur’s head on your shoulders. It could also be a group of people that you know you want to make a difference to. It could be people that love art or hate ironing. Close your eyes, relax and listen. Visualise who you see as your customers, beneficiaries or clients.
What do the people you do it for want or need?
Again, allow the quiet within to reveal another source of your purpose. Do they need to express themselves creatively, improve their diet, find a way to fitness and health or discover new information? Do they want to travel the world, create their own fashion line or make jewellery? Take some notes on your thoughts.
What do the people you do it for get out of it?
This question helped me to define aspects of my coaching practice by revealing the underlying mission in assisting people in enjoying their working lives. This not only embodies why I do what I do as a coach but also compliments my vision for a world where harmony prevails. So, are your people healthier, fulfilled, experiencing freedom, more creative, motivated… ? Explore in your notebook.
Once you have gathered this information, congratulate yourself because you have the content and most important the insight for discovering your purpose. Please take a moment to share in the comments how this process was for you. This will also support you in processing the exercise.
At this point your discovery exists only in thought and it may seem artificial and intangible. Sharing it (in the comments or with a trusted friend) you will start to create it in word. Once you start putting it into existence by aligning with the activities that uphold it, taking actions that cause you to act in accordance with your purpose, this will begin to concretise it. The more you practice it the more it becomes you and you become it, you become your purpose.
Life is never a done deal.
Discovering your purpose is not the end rather it is a beginning. There may be times when you doubt your choice. It could be that the work environment or business opportunity is no longer a match as your grow as a person and life shifts your perspective.
Be outward facing. Take the focus off of yourself and your own wants and needs and discover what others want from you and your business. Don’t be afraid to try something new as well. If the environment doesn’t fit, change it! If you find yourself feeling less than motivated over an unusually extended period, review your purpose. Take the time to check in with yourself, because none of this is set in stone. It is all, always something of a moveable feast. But isn’t that what makes life exciting?
Finding your purpose is not complicated. Based on a set of simple questions the work, if you want to call it work, is in how you shuffle and deal, switch the pieces of the puzzle around and use the resource that you are to live a life you love. As Jim Rohn has said, a life best lived by design. I see it as a creative activity, you and your life is the canvas and all the wonderful things the world has to offer are your paints and pastels.
A life best lived is a life by design. Not by accident, and not by just walking through the day careening from wall to wall and managing to survive. That’s okay. But if you can start giving your life dimensions and design and color and objectives and purpose, the results can be staggering.
~ Jim Rohn