What is curious is the concept of your life’s purpose. It is one of the most complex, most rewarding questions to answer and can set you on a path to championing your life’s passion. Have you ever felt like something is missing? Are you misaligned in your own life? Are you motivated and passionate about your day? Next week? Next year?
It’s ok if this doesn’t come naturally to you. Nearly 75% of us don’t have a clear picture of our life’s purpose.
Rod Hill, a wise coach and former CEO of Results.com, often shared a terrific metaphor for better understanding purpose. Imagine a honey bee going about its business – flying, navigating, collecting pollen, cross-pollinating flowers, creating a hive, serving the queen – these are all the things that a bee DOES as part of its existence. But in the bigger picture, a bee’s higher purpose is to REGENERATE LIFE. The whole ecosystem of the world is dependent on the bee’s existence. Now imagine if every individual bee understood and grasped the responsibility of their higher purpose. Would they curl up in a ball under the sheer weight of their burden, or would they rise to the challenge? The fact that they do not understand the scale of their contribution to the world keeps them able to function through their day to day life by doing rather than bee-ing.
So why is finding our life’s purpose necessary?
The science behind finding and living your purpose is compelling – from fewer strokes and heart attacks, improved sleep, and a longer life expectancy when your life aligns with a personal passion. When you couple this with an overarching sense of achievement and worthwhileness, you will find success with what makes you happiest. It’s a win all around.
Reflecting on your life’s purpose
If only it were as easy as the bee! Finding your life’s purpose isn’t always a walk in the park (or a beautifully manicured garden!), but as Roy Bennet says, “When the going gets tough, put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Don’t give up.”
So how do you discover your life’s purpose? The first step is framing this in a practical way to you. The objective is not to answer all the questions below in detail, but rather to gravitate to the one or two of the questions that inspire you most to answer and expand on these. Purpose is personal, and there is no wrong answer. It can also be amended or edited on a daily or even a moment-to-moment basis. The most vital purpose statements I have come across are those that are factual no matter the circumstances.
· What is my life’s purpose?
· What am I here to contribute?
· Why am I here?
· What ‘dent’ would I like to leave in the universe? (inspired by Steve Jobs)
· What would I like my legacy to be?
What I love about these questions are the different perspectives that you can take. For example, do I mean what is my purpose TODAY, or in this LIFETIME? What am I here to contribute – to work, family, community, and world? The choice is entirely mine.
We are all uniquely wired to be, do, or create something, so what is it for you? There are billions of problems in the world right now, some big, some small – which problem is uniquely yours to solve? A problem that you can only solve could be close to your immediate family, community and workplace. It can also be grander, focusing on global or universal challenges.
Carve your path
Once you have the answers/themes from the questions above, consider a statement, sentence, or paragraph that begins with:
These statements help frame and articulate life’s purpose, which will also begin to map out your core values. It’s a form of affirmation and visualisation to write down and map out what makes your heart sing. Each time you envisage a situation, have these destination cues in mind. Keep them somewhere where you can see them. Now each step of your day-to-day journey is shaped by the map designed for you.
For me, connecting this philosophical question to my life roles of being a great Dad, loving husband, and extraordinary coach, I realised that I am here to Make Dreams Come True. These are the problems/challenges that I am uniquely poised to solve. Other people would scarcely believe in my purpose if I could not make my own dreams come true AND have enough excess energy and inspiration to help other people’s dreams come true.
Inspiring and pursuing the greatest imaginable challenge for myself and the people around me is one way that I have invested in helping make dreams come true. Another recent blog explores the art of crafting the greatest imaginable challenge from the foundations of what you are most passionate about and what you do best in life or work. This is where you can add the most value to yourself or others.
Your purpose is uniquely yours to create, explore and find fulfilment in every single day.
The path to understanding might not always be clear but it is essential to find a passage that only you can walk.