Knowing our purpose helps us to succeed in a time of constant change.
So how can we find out what our purpose is?
Some people just seem to know what their purpose is. For those of us who lack that clarity, the best way I know to uncover our life’s purpose is to follow these four steps.
Before you begin, as preparation, first answer these three questions:
- What are your two best qualities?
What are the two best qualities you bring to the world? Not skills or knowledge but qualities.
If you find it difficult to pick just two, ask some trusted friends. Listen to their answers, ignore what you don’t like, and keep what you do. Then pick the two qualities that best describe you: qualities you love to express and which summarise the essence of who you are.
- Say how you love expressing these qualities
How do you most love putting these qualities into practice?
You might describe this in terms of the way you like using them or the outcomes that you love to create.
Describe it in whatever way works for you. How do you most love to express your two best qualities?
- Describe your ideal world
What would the world be like if it were perfect, according to you?
What would you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell?
What kind of a world is that?
What is a perfect, ideal world to you?
If you want to find your life’s purpose stop now and answer these questions before you read on.
Once you know your answers, defining your life’s purpose becomes easy:
The purpose of your life is to express your best qualities, in the ways you most love, to create your ideal world.
Or you could change the order and say:
“My purpose is to create [my ideal world], by using my [best qualities], [in the way I most love using them].”
Feel free to play around with the wording until you find a format that works for you.
The purpose of your life is to most fully express the unique person you are, in ways that create the kind of world you want to live in.
What matters is that you start from the understanding you have now, act on it. Then learn and improve as you move forward.
Which parts of your life are you living most in line with your purpose today? Which parts of your life are you living least in line with your purpose today? What small changes could you easily make to change the balance — and so bring yourself extra focus, energy, and enthusiasm (and change your genes so that you become healthier and live longer)?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
(The book contains more tools that will bring you deeper insights into your purpose, but this post is a simple starting point.)
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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)