Your life purpose is the main motivator behind what you do in life – why you get up in the morning and why you carry on from day to day. Your purpose can help give you meaning and direction in life, it clarifies your goals and guides your decisions and behaviour. If you are living on purpose, you are sure to feel a sense of fulfilment in life that was lacking before… But finding and clarifying purpose can prove to be as elusive as finding a unicorn.
“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand.” – Og Mandino
There is no quick 1, 2, 3 for this unfortunately, very few of us know intrinsically what our calling is… we don’t all know at age 7 that we want to be a doctor or teacher. Some people have a life altering experience and find their life purpose through a random act or encounter… for instance – having a conversation with a person living on the streets may ignite a burning need to serve in a night shelter. For most of us though, some time, thought and retrospection is required to gain clarity on our life purpose.
The first thing to understand is that you, like many others, may find fulfilment and purpose through several activities or areas in your life – your children, your job (if you are lucky), your volunteer work and creative outlets such as painting or singing, are all fulfilling you in different ways, and align with various aspects of your core values. You are a complex being – it is okay to broaden your scope.
There are also many different ways to fulfil your purpose, you can be creative as you need to be in incorporating your purpose into your life. Also remember that your purpose can shift or change over time… just as you grow and develop, so may your life purpose.
In order to define a life purpose you need to get to know yourself. I don’t mean the superficial info that you share in passing with co-workers and acquaintances, I am talking about the bones of what makes you, YOU… Grab some paper and find a space where you won’t be disturbed as you reflect on the following:
What makes you happy?
When thinking about this, steer clear from anything that only brings fleeting happiness, such as shopping, you want to list things/people/places etc that have given meaningful happiness to you.
What are your core values?
Knowing your core values can guide you to to your life purpose. If you find that your core values are for instance love, generosity, servitude and humility, you may find great joy in volunteering somewhere. For assistance on identifying your core values you can read my blog here.
What are you passionate about?
Create a list of all your passions, from art to nature, to justice and equal education, to your children and friends. Whatever truly makes you come alive… jot down anything that excites and ignites you.
What are you good at?
Sometimes, what we are naturally good at can lead to a life purpose. Some of us are blessed with obvious talents, like being an poet, a painter or ballet dancer, while others of us may think we aren’t very good at anything (although trust me you are good at something – it may just not be obvious to you)… and while you may not be able to perform Swan Lake, you could be an incredibly good listener and enjoy advising and helping people – in this case studying towards a counselling course could tick all your boxes. Or you could be a bit of a clown and love to make people laugh… volunteering at a children’s hospital could be just the thing to fulfil your purpose and lift the hearts of the little patients. The idea is to list anything and everything you are good at – you can whittle the list down at a later stage.
What is your life situation currently?
Let’s be honest… Not all of us can pick up and fly off to central Africa to build schools or quit our current jobs to earn a living doing something more meaningful – you may be the breadwinner of the family and are reluctant to rattle the boat as there is too much riding on it or you may love your current profession but just feel that there is some area of you that isn’t being fulfilled. What you can do is look at the areas of your life that you could expand or make small changes to, which would allow you to incorporate some of the ideas you came up with and little by little you can begin to live more inline with your purpose. Look at your income and expenses, your work situation and hours needed for your job. Weigh up EVERYTHING. Is there any expenses you can get rid of to lower your expenses? Maybe that freedom will allow you to work less hours and spend time on a meaningful project, or you may be able to give more generously to a charity. Just know that living on purpose doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time – both to define your full purpose and even more so to implement it. But who knows… if you persevere you may be able to turn your life purpose into your full time employment over time – as I have been blessed enough to be able to do. My business, The Healing Room, allows me to help my clients through energy healing and mentoring to Live the Life they Love… and the best part? I still get to be a full-time mom to my children as I work from home.
By Debbie Taylor