My purpose: Be a catalyst to shine light and beauty into people’s lives by helping them become aware of themselves, be life creative and take action towards their happiness.
This topic has had a lot of attention paid to it because whatever you call it: purpose, reason for being, calling, or life meaning, understanding more of what your purpose is will get you to a happier, more successful life – one imbued with love, peace and yes, purpose! In this two-part series we will follow a three step process of: Think, Plan and Act, so you can enact your purpose.
In the first step, the ‘think’ part of this process, you will create a way to describe your purpose; or your Purpose Statement. This is a description of what you think your purpose is right now, at this time in your life.
Let’s start with what it’s not. Purpose is not necessarily the thing you do for a living. Similarly, hopes and dreams are not what your purpose is either, although they are clearly connected. While these things may have components or expressions of your purpose, they don’t represent it entirely.
What it is: Purpose is what you are uniquely qualified and capable of doing during your time here that no one else can do as well or in the same manner as you do. In other words, you were coded or created here for this unique “purpose”. When I first heard this definition I was daunted. It felt out of character for my world. I thought: “How could I possibly live up to that? How important do I really think I am?”
My suggestion is to fight past these initial thoughts because you are just THAT important. That IS the point, isn’t it? We are all created for a reason. Now let’s explore that reason.
Before we go further, please consider this: your purpose statement is a collection of words that express what you think and feel describes you best. Your actual purpose is part of your being, something intangible, yet very real. The statement, therefore, is nothing more than an expression that resembles what your purpose is to you.
The words can change just as you change a bit when you grow from your life experiences; but your purpose, like your being, remains what it was when you were born, regardless of how you describe it. What’s important is how you live it. As you learn more about yourself, the words will matter less and intuition will guide you in following your purpose. However, to move from the intangible to the tangible, or something you can live and enact, we must have something we can work with. The Purpose Statement is where we start.
Listed below are activities to help you sort it out and find those words that express your ‘inner you’; your Purpose Statement. So let’s begin:
- Put your “best life” story together. Define the positive feelings, happenings, goals and dreams you have and desire in your life. What puts a smile on your face and gives you energy when you think about it or feel it? Do you get thrilled more by carnival rides or by sitting on the beach quietly listening to the waves? What makes you get excited when that certain ‘something’ happens? You can map these things by following the list below:
- Create a journal of your “best life” story and include events you felt positively towards during your day. Write every day, or as often as possible for at least several weeks. For instance, if you dreamt of something beautiful, record it. If a thought came to you, or something happened that was positive, record it. Record just the things that touch you, that move you and add to your life. Do not record the events of your day, just what you have observed as being positive; what you love, have and want in your life. Positive things are green flags to the path of knowing your purpose.
- Review your journal after a few weeks or so and make a list of what you’ve observed. Look for the ‘repetitive’ positive things and make note of these in particular, with a star or extra comment.
- If you’re the creative type, you may want to make a collage of images that resemble what makes you happy. On a poster board paste pictures of your dreams, goals, things that you love in your life and what you want or want to become. Keep in mind, “things” are not always material, so make your board comprehensive to really be about YOU.
- Create a list of what you’re good at doing. You may know right away, but typically we don’t.
- You may ask people, family friends. Recall all those complements and think of your ‘family reputation’. Are you the go-to person for event planning? Or do you have an uncanny knack for… fill in the blank!
- Make this list comprehensive and don’t focus on just the obvious things. Often, it’s the less known things about us that have the greatest significance.
- Create a list of what you’re not so good at doing. Again, you may know right away, but take a poll.
- Make a list here too and see what you should know is not your forte’.
- Use this list and divide it into two things: what you should avoid doing and what you should try to improve upon. Some things we don’t do well are necessary to doing those things that we must do, or already do well. Other things we don’t do well, sometimes we just know we don’t have the capabilities, so we must let them go. Be objective, though and not self-serving when you discard an item.
- Culling through your items, make two ‘Short lists’: First, what you should avoid. Second, what you need to improve upon to keep your purpose whole. For we can improve some things when we need to.
- Look for similarities in ALL the lists by creating categories.
- Start with the positives and look for items that belong together and group them into categories such as: “Things having to do with people”. Or, “Things having to do with certain activities” (fill in the activities). There are no ‘rules’ here. In creating these categories, look for ways your items work together.
- Next, categorize those items that you do well AND also don’t do well but need to improve upon, (do not include the things to avoid), pairing them up with the positives. This is a second chance to review again the things you don’t do well and want to avoid to make sure you don’t have a conflict with removing these things to avoid.
- For instance, if you want to work with people, but you need to communicate better, put them together. But, if you said you couldn’t improve upon your communication skills, maybe you need to rethink your goals. This should be an eye-opening activity and you will have to make choices in the pairings.
- When creating the categories, choose them using your own intuition and thinking. These categories are like veins of gold in your gold-mine for purpose. They will make sure you have included the major, repeating elements of your life into your statement.
- Start writing sentences.
- Next, look at the pictures, the lists, the categories and use them to form sentences of nouns, verbs, modifiers, etc. In this step make sure you have captured what you’ve learned. Some sentences may not be well written or even accurate, but others will be better.
- Keep refining the words in the sentences. You should have several going, but maybe not. It really is up to you to create what is so for you, but be sure to keep referring to the categories, lists and your ‘best life’ story. If you don’t, you’ll get off track.
- Sleep on it.
- Choose one or two sentences, refining them as you look at them, changing out adjectives or whatever isn’t just right.
- Finally, pick the one sentence with the group of words that are ‘perfect’ which was called out by your intuition. In reading this sentence it should make you feel just as excited as you were when you began the exercise in the first step. Does this sentence match you? Is it your essence – perhaps what you didn’t know before, but now you do?
- You should have a deep sense of accomplishment at this point.
You now have a statement of what you feel is your purpose. Above all, it should reflect what you do well, need to do better and what you love in life. Be patient because this may take a few run-throughs of effort. It’s worth it.
In the next blog we look at how you can put your purpose into place.
Question: What other ways can you think of to determine your purpose?