Living Your Life on “Purpose”

No matter the reason, any purpose is better than no purpose

January 25, 2011

There have been many occasions after I have given a talk where people approach me and say that they didn’t learn their personal mission or purpose in life until it was too late to act upon that purpose/mission.  The purpose of this article is to encourage you and offer tools you can utilize today to find your mission and/or purpose so you can make the most of it before any more time passes.

My purpose or mission in life is to empower others to help themselves

For me, I discovered my purpose very early in life.  I was 10-years-old when I took responsibility for my twin seven-year-old brothers Jason and Randy.  I did my best to empower them to be their best and to give full effort to everything they did.  I am so proud to say that both of them have grown into amazing people.  That isn’t to say that I am the reason they became successful. I played a very small role, but every little piece is key to a successful person.  Even the smallest addition can be a difference maker in people’s lives.

How do you find your mission or purpose in life?

The first tool I suggest is the power of quiet reflection and journaling.  Many of us aren’t very good at giving ourselves quiet time earmarked specifically to think and write about what we want in our lives.  I suggest a half day in a quiet place (beach, park, backyard, mountains, lake, etc.) with no distractions (computer, phone, BlackBerry, iPhone etc…) on a weekly or monthly basis.

“The first tool I suggest is the power of quiet reflection and journaling.”

That day should be spent writing whatever comes through your heart and into the pen in your hand.  Write about what your life would look like if it were perfect.  Write about who you would help and what you would do if you have $25 million dollars.  Write about how you can improve the world by making small but significant contributions.  Reflect and write about where those contributions might be made.

The second tool I suggest employing is to allow the people you are closest to (family, friends etc.) read what you have written and ask them to help you identify what your mission or purpose is and how it can best be deployed.  Sometimes inviting advice from our trusted inner circle allows us to see what we cannot see on our own.

Finally, test run your mission/purpose in some real world scenarios.  Try it and see how it works.  Does it come easily to you?  Do other people respond positively to what you are saying and doing in support of your mission/purpose?

Once you have found your purpose in life.

Deployment requires discipline and consistency.  Every day you must ask yourself, “How can I best fulfill my mission/purpose today?”

Type your mission/purpose statement on a piece of paper and deploy it for those around you to see both at home and at work. Post it on your door or on a bulletin board next to your work station.  This will add some accountability to you and ensure you take advantage of every opportunity to live your mission/purpose with integrity and focus.

“Type your mission/purpose statement on a piece of paper and deploy it for those around you to see both at home and at work.”

Try your best to be aware of opportunities to deploy your mission/purpose.  What can you do when the opportunity arises to move your mission/purpose forward for the service of others?  In the end, we are measured not by what we have (materialistic goods), but rather by whom we have helped and how much of a positive impact we make on other lives.

 A Closing Word about Purpose

Purpose/mission can be an opaque concept.  For some people, identifying and living their purpose/mission comes easier than for others.  The important component here is to stay aware of the people and opportunities around you.  If you witness something that causes an emotional response, reflect on why and if that event and feelings that came from the event could be a window into your purpose/mission.

I would highly recommend continued weekly or monthly reflection sessions to allow yourself the opportunity to examine your life and the lives of those around you in order to find and refine your mission/purpose.  Write about it and examine it for clues on how you can be making a positive difference in the world.

When I was a kid my dad told me that it takes less energy to be nice and keep a positive attitude than it does to be mean and have a negative attitude.  The positive outlook will help you to see where there is need and allow you the vision to see how you can fill that need and improve the world in your own way.

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