People are most productive when they have a sense of direction. Navigating the complex geography of your life is much easier and enjoyable after you have a clear understanding of your destination--the purpose of your existence. Unfortunately, most people get overwhelmed when contemplating these serious life questions and end up drifting away from their true values, only later realizing that they've missed important opportunities.
As a life coach and licensed therapist, one of the most important things I do is help clients clarify their purpose, values, and then decide what goals they would like to attain. Working with many motivated clients that have achieved success in the professional world of business, I've learned that even the most motivated people benefit from reflecting about their current state, and then deciding which route they'd like to take towards their life purpose.
The list below is a brief exercise of questions designed to help people like you discover their life's purpose. When you know your chief aim, you can discern which behaviors contribute to achieving your goals and which actions are simply holding you back.
1. What are three of your favorite skills or abilities that you possess?
Focusing on right now, and this moment only, try to determine which two or three skills you possess are your favorite. I'm not asking you which you are the best at, or which make you the most money, I'm simply asking you to be honest with yourself.
For example, my answer to this is: my awareness, compassion, and critical thinking skills.
2. What are two methods you would like use to impact others, things, industries, or anything else in the world?
This is the how: How would you like to impact the world? You can be as general or specific here as you want. Don't over-think these questions, just follow your intuition and write down the first few thoughts that enter your mind.
My answers are: enlighten, inspire, and do both through leading by example.
3. Who or what would you like to impact? (Be specific).
Now is when you want to be specific. Try to narrow down your target--the people or things that you would like to change. Again, challenge your perfectionist tendencies and note what first enters your awareness.
I said: Motivated young adults and adults who want to get more satisfaction and meaning out of their personal and professional lives.
4. To what end? - What goal would you like to see attained through your impact?
This question asks you to think about the people or things you want to impact. What does your influence on these people or things do to them? How is your influence beneficial? Think about the outcome you desire for each person or thing that you'd like to effect.
I answered: To move people towards Wholeness, integrate all of the good and bad parts of their experience, and find balance between their mind, body, and spirit.
5. Create a run-on sentence combining these elements starting with, "I want to," or "I aim to."
Now, put it all together! Each of the previous four questions, when combined, contain the elements of your life purpose. Try to find a combination of your answers that sounds meaningful to you, knowing that you can shuffle the order and paraphrase as desired.
My life's purpose is: I aim to use my awareness, compassion, and critical thinking to enlighten and inspire individuals passionate about self-development to achieve wholeness, integration, and balance between their mind, body, and spirit by practicing what I preach and leading by example.
Keep in mind that your life purpose, as discovered through this exercise, may change depending on your mindset. You can do this exercise again in a few months to see which elements of your purpose change, and which values stay the same.
The components of your purpose that are consistent over time are most likely central to your development and long-term goals. Building trust in your life's journey is built through believing in your destination. Discover your purpose so that you can improve the progress you make towards achieving your ultimate aim.