This article focuses squarely on finding your purpose. Unlike other writings which include this subject, we resist the temptation to wander to related subjects like how to pursue your purpose and why a purpose is important. Don’t let the shortness of this document fool you — it covers a lot of ground but without chat.
Write the exercises in a good quality spiral notebook with unlined pages. The same notebook
may become central in pursuing your purpose.
You don’t need an "inner calling” to have a life purpose. You don’t even need to have a specific life purpose — unless you feel something is missing. Also, you may, like many of us, feel more comfortable with multiple purposes and pursuits. In that case see <a href=”purposemuse.com/main/refuse-to-choose>Refuse to Choose</a>.
You have a purpose from birth: not necessarily in a destiny sort of way but rather as something that comes naturally and that evolves with you. You also have control over how and when you pursue your purpose. Your purpose utilizes your authentic self: your natural talents, passions and interests. Turn within to claim your purpose and then choose the best medium and environment in which to share it with the world.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” Lao-tzu
Put simply, your purpose will likely have elements that you:
- feel are important
- feel passionate about
- find energizing
- are naturally good at
- like to do
Here are some exercise to help find your life purpose.
- Who does meaningful work?
- What does meaningful work accomplish?
Look at these personal examples.
1. People who do meaningful work:
- good musicians
- good artists
- some priests and spiritual leaders
- some doctors and other healers
- some sociologists - who help us understand ourselves
2. Meaningful work
- brings beauty and health into the world
- reduces pain, increase pleasure
- promotes peace and repect for others
- promotes respect for the earth
- helps people become less materialistic and grasping
- produces useful things that work well
Now, write your own lists.
We’ve looked at meaning a purpose in other peoples lives. Now lets move one step closer to your life today. Think back to the magical time when you were a child. Write answers these questions:
- What did you like and dislike?
- What did you do with your friends?
- What did you excel at in school?
- What toys were your favorites?
- What costumes did you favor for holidays and special events?
- Who did you dream of being when you grew up?
- What did people notice about you?
Those memories hold clues to your authentic self.
Make a list of your favorite memories. Why are they your favorite memories? Look closely at them and identify their essence. Can your bring any of their essence into your current circumstances right now?
When you are on the right track, your:
- creative juices start to flow,
- heart rate speeds up,
- mind races with ideas and
- excitement rises.
Here is another way to know whether you are on the right track. You can use this simple technique every moment of every day to align closer and closer to your true purpose. In ‘The Lazy Way to Success’, Fred Gratzon (whom my friends and I refer to as 'The Reverend Fred') suggests that finding your purpose is simple.
Whenever you are on the right course you will feel happy and energetic. If you deviate from your true path you will feel tired and frustrated.
Your feelings and happiness are a feedback system, or better still, a guidance system. As implied in the title of his book he strongly discourages anything that feels like Hard Work. Instead he suggests relaxing completely and dreaming bigger and bigger dreams, always monitoring how you feel about you actions. Its a wonderful, challenging read.</P>
Here is a neat trick that Wendy Betterini proposed in her ebook, Discovering Your Life Purpose. Make a matrix like the following:
|I Love To||I'm Passionate About||I'm Good At||Important|
|Work Out||Fitness||Writing||Women's Issues|
|Write||Alternative Healing||Problem Solving||Dom. Violence Solutions|
|Teach||Helping People||Blogging, Web Design||The Environment|
A quick examination reveals connections between the items. Wendy suggests these possibilities given the above matrix:
- Writing and publishing books on health and fitness
- Empowering women through conscious living
- Publishing a children’s health and fitness magazine
- Establishing a “Mommy and Me” fitness/educational center
- Speaking in schools about fitness for children
- Writing cookbooks with healthful recipes
- Becoming a licensed dietician
- Becoming a personal trainer
Write your own matrix. Even if your matrix doesn’t have such clear connections, studying your matrix will clarify them and give you ideas.
Often your life purpose will take you away from your home office, or otherwise out of your comfort zone. Create life circumstances that are suited to who you are, your likes and dislikes and your talents.
Describe your Workplace in Heaven. (If you find that too difficult, see the next exercise which uses The Workplace in Hell to define your Workplace in Heaven.) Here is an example of a Workplace in Heaven:
- The primary product brings beauty, love, delight, reverence, mutual respect to the world and/or promotes respect and care for the Earth
- Private office with space for several people to viisit. Wardrobe, music, view, fresh air, nice lighting
- Daily routine most days
- Meet early with beautiful, bright, open minded vested people for a short chat, touch-base and steering exercise
- Do some finely-focused information gathering with breakfast
- Work toward getting something working or preparing a report or presentation for couple of hours -- maybe working with a colleague
- Travel in comfort to meet with an interested, intelligent client or prospect in an nice office and genial atmosphere
- Early afternoon, have a short nap or a sunbake depending on the time of year work on personal things: chess, music and personal tasks: shopping, banking etc for an hour or so
- Work with a pleasant partner taking care of accounts, financial planning and other administrative aspects of the business
- Get home at a reasonable hour
- One or two days per week work from home office
- Public speaking opportunities
- Travel to other countries to manage partnerships and distribution
- Travel to other locations for various reasons
- Plenty of Holidays
Now, write down your own Workplace In Heaven. If you have trouble imagining a Workplace In Heaven use the following exercise.
Another strategy to find your Workplace in Heaven is to first define The Workplace in Hell and then reverse each point. Here is an example:
Workplace in Hell
- mildew-smelling office
- hateful, closed-minded, pious people
- florescent lights
- punch in and out
- salary, no overtime
- bad unmportant product that customers dislike
- mean customers
- mean boss
- clutter everywhere
- old equipment
- no humour
- lousy location
- no fresh air
- expected to always stay late, unpaid
- radio blaring
Now, we reverse each point to define our Workplace in Hell's opposite - A Work Place in Heaven. Each Hell points reversed:
- nice smell
- loving, open-minded, fun, devilish co-workers
- halogen and natural lighting
- fexible work schedule
- hourly rate plus profit sharing and company ownership
- beautiful, world-class product that customers love
- lovely customers
- nice boss or I'm the nice boss
- everyting is tidy and clean
- modern equipment
- freguent laughter
- lovely location: either trees or harbour
- abundant fresh air
- nice enough so longer hours is pleasant but not expected
- no smokers
- appropriate use of music
Armed with a vision of your Workplace in Heaven, you can interview prospective employers and clients or set up your new workplace to match your values.
Some Recruitment web site have tests to determine your predilections. Seek one out and take the test. I took one and felt confronted by how different my test results were to the way I make a living. Even so, the test results confirmed what I already knew, at some level. The specifics are funny. As an engineer, I shamefully confess feelings of superiority over my more-artistic but less-technical colleagues. So the test’s conclusion that I was better suited to be an Art Director was ironic. What will you discover?</P>
Stuart Lichtman wrote a short eBook about Life Purpose that he gives away as a bonus with his worryingly-named but fascinating 'How to Get Lots of Money for Anything Fast'. He suggested seeing your life as a series of meanderings and wild zigzags that oscillate around a smoother path that represents your life purpose. To find that smoother path he suggest dividing your life up into chunks of seven years and writing down what happened in each chunk. As with the matrix technique above you then look for a pattern that exists across all of the chunks of your life. That pattern is a clue to your life purpose.
Your life purpose doesn’t change you into someone you are not, instead, your purpose returns you to your authentic self and awakens to the potential within you. It helps you avoid “playing small” and helps celebrate your uniqueness and power. “Playing small” deprives the world of something magnificent. Your purpose goes beyond the things you do each day. When you realize that your life has meaning and purpose, your actions have a resonance.