I’ve talked a lot about purpose recently, and about how finding yours is really the first step to having a full, happy, and fulfilling life.
What I haven’t talked about is HOW you can find your purpose.
I think I may have, a long time ago, talked about certain ways that I use in my seminars and such, but really those are more experiential (ie, they work best when you are working with a coach right there to help you through them) and they can take some time.
So what I am going to talk about today is really a quick and dirty Purpose finding tool.
Now chances are you won’t nail down your purpose right away, this is a process and it takes time, but you can at least start to build awareness around it and get yourself closer to discovering it.
Step 1- Know that you have a purpose
This may seem a bit obvious, but it is necessary to mention for two reasons. One some people tend to overlook or disregard the obvious and Two, some people really don’t think they have any great purpose.
The first step in finding your purpose is simply believing that you have one, that you are worthy of something bigger than yourself to which your life is dedicated.
I did a post a while ago (I think it was Inspirational Quotes to Ponder #4) that talked about the phrase “Your life is an occasion, rise to it”, that is essentially saying the same thing.
You are important and significant and you DO have a purpose you are meant to be working toward in this life.
Step 2 – Brainstorming
Once you firmly believe that you have a purpose and now want to know what it is, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I doing when I am most engaged (in flow)?
- Who am I being when I’m “being myself”?
- What am I doing or who am I being in those moment when the world just feels right and “everything is perfect”?
- What have people told me I am good at?
- What did I get scolded/rewarded for doing as a child?
- If I was going to help someone else, what would I want to help them with, or help them do?
- What do I value? / What is most important to me in this world?
- If I’m doing something I really enjoy, is there a deeper meaning or reason to why I’m doing that?
- What or who inspires me? Why?
- What is the one thing I long to do or be (whether or not it is attainable)?
Ask yourself these types of questions, the more the better, and start to look at the answers. Are there similarities or recurring themes? If so around what?
Chances are this will get you close, or at least on the right track to discovering your purpose.
Don’t fall into the trap (when looking at the above questions) of thinking that “what I do” and “my job” are the same thing. It is possible that you might loose yourself in your work from time to time, but when I ask these questions I want you to look at your entire life including hobbies, recreation, relationships, etc.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
For the question: If I’m doing something I really enjoy, is there a deeper meaning or reason to why I’m doing that? I really enjoyed writing, but when I ask myself if there is a deeper reason for doing this, it is because I want others to enjoy my stories and feel happy.
Hmmm, and my purpose is to make the world a happier place, interesting.
So give it a try and see what you come up with.
Step 3 – Keep working at it
Keep digging and asking yourself deep questions like this, and narrowing down options until you have that OH-MY-GOD-THAT’S-IT moment when you come up with some simple phrase that completely sums up YOU and what you were meant to do or be.
Until then, keep laughing and uncovering your purpose.