‘The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better’
~ Robert F Kennedy
Have you ever considered what your purpose in life is? Are you currently plodding through life somewhat aimlessly? Are you lacking direction? Or do you know exactly what your mission in life is and are nailing it?
In his bestselling book Drive, Daniel Pink defines three factors that he believes create motivation in people; mastery, autonomy and purpose. In Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl argues that striving to find meaning is man’s primary motivational force. He believes that everyone has their own special vocation or mission in life to carry out.
But how do we know what our mission is? How do we define our purpose? How do we know what exactly it is we want to do with our lives? We may find that we have fallen into our careers because we had to make a choice years ago about what field to go into. Maybe we haven’t ever taken time to analyse if this is really what we want to be doing. Is this just what we currently do as we don’t have any feasible or more attractive alternative?
We may find ourselves thinking ‘Is this really it?’ Motivation to get up and go to work is low, we are not filled with excitement about what we are doing. Is there not something more out there we should be achieving?
If you are feeling this way, you need to focus on discovering your life purpose. You need to figure out your mission in life.
I spent a lot of time wondering about my purpose in life. In particular I felt like I wasn’t making enough of an impact on the world. I had friends who were doctors, teachers, scientists, policy makers and global shapers. They were making a massive impact. Why wasn’t I doing the same?
After pondering for over a year, it slowly became crystal clear to me. My purpose is to help as many people as possible to reach their full potential and become their best selves. This wasn’t an epiphany that came to me overnight, I figured it out over time. Now I understand my purpose, I am fully focused on it and all my decisions are centred around it.
Follow the steps below to identify your own purpose:
1) Decide what you want to be remembered for
Stephen Covey encourages us to imagine our own funeral. Who would be there? What would people be saying? What would our life have meant? It may seem like a morbid way to look at things but in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s about giving ourselves a wake up call now, to take control of our life and ensure we live it to the fullest.
2) Establish what gets you out of bed in the morning
When you wake up in the morning consider what you are excited about doing. Identify whether there is anything that you are drawn to spending your time on. There will be things that you want to get over with and things that you are looking forward to. It’s the latter that you need to spend more time on. Whatever that is, analyse how that can be part of your life purpose.
3) Pinpoint what you can contribute that otherwise wouldn’t happen
Consider what it is that you bring to the table that others don’t. Think through what you are talented at and where you can make a difference. Review whether there are areas where you can contribute where others don’t.
4) Identify when and how you get into ‘flow’
Flow can also be known as getting into the zone. It is the mental state of being fully immersed in an activity and is characterized by complete absorption in the task at hand. If you can identify the activities that you get involved in where you forget everything else around you and concentrate on this alone, this may be where you should spend most of your time to add the most value and to be the most fulfilled.
5) Identify when you are at your happiest
When we feel our happiest, it is usually when we are doing something we enjoy, with people we love. When we are at our happiest, we are usually performing at our best. Have a think back over the last few months to identify what you were doing when you were at your happiest. Can you link what you were doing to your life purpose?
Once you’ve defined your purpose, the journey has only just begun. The focus then needs to shift onto making it happen.
“Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do, yet cannot muster enough energy to do it.”
~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Don’t be the person with no energy. Take action to propel you towards your purpose.
If you need help to design your life and find your purpose, sign up for the Bestselfology Design My Life online learning course.