“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
And yet, when you live your life on purpose, with purpose, you will indeed live a happy life.
If you are like so many people in 2018, you spend most of your days running, doing, accomplishing the many things on your “to do” list. You have many roles in your life and there is lots to be done. Perhaps you have reached a point where it is becoming increasingly challenging to move forward without an understanding of “something more” than this. Oftentimes, this is when we begin to search for purpose in our lives.
For some, this journey is long and doesn’t come as easily as you would hope. For others, once you begin asking yourself some fundamental questions, you find the answer you are looking for with little effort. Take the time and stay the course. The reward of a life with purpose justifies the means.
The most effective way to uncover your life’s purpose is to dive inside, discover your essence, and determine what inspires you. This is a process of uncovering your values. Your values are your moral compass, your “why”. Why you get out of bed in the morning, what makes you get up and go, what drives you to lead a life with meaning. Prompts to consider are, “I am inspired by…”, “I am proud of…”, “I get excited to..”, “I am happiest when…”, “I am grateful for…”
Once you are on solid ground with what moves you, explore what you like to do and what you are good at. What have you put aside during your parenting journey or while you were climbing your career ladder? What did you like to do when you were a kid? What makes you feel free and joyous? What activities set your soul on fire?
You can then begin to pull out the common threads of your values and your strengths and identify the issues that are of utmost importance to you. Organize your activities around what gets you in the flow. Understand what matters to you and use this as a self-organizing life principle. Let your causes show you how you choose to get involved in something greater than your self.
Finally, create a Greater Purpose Statement “GPS” for yourself. Your GPS is uniquely you and helps you determine how you want to make an impact on the world or on other people. My purpose is to use my (values) and (strengths) to (express myself) so that (achieve desired impact).
This GPS will serve as your guiding force, providing an overall sense of your goals and direction in life. Once you craft your GPS, it shows up in your work, your relationships, and your service to community. Uncovering your purpose starts with importance to self and leads to productive engagement outside of self. Knowing your purpose induces joy, interest and life satisfaction.