Knowing our purpose helps us succeed in times of change.
So how can we find out what our purpose is?
The best way I know how to uncover our life’s purpose is to follow these four steps. They are adapted from Jack Canfield®’s Life Purpose Exercise, which he adapted from Arnold M. Patent’s book, You Can Have It All.
To begin, 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 those qualities
Ask yourself how you most love putting those qualities into practice. How do you most enjoy expressing them? What outcomes are you creating when you do this?
- 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 world for you?
Don’t read further until you have done this.
Once you have defined these things, defining your 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.
Your purpose is to express the unique person you are, in order to create the kind of world you want to live in.
There might be a thousand different ways you could put this into practice — there is no single one ‘right answer’. So start from the best understanding you have now, put that into practice, and see what you learn. Then adapt and improve as you move forward.
To start right now, combine your three answers in a way works for you today.
— “My life purpose is to create [my ideal world] by using my [two best qualities], [in the way I love expressing them],”
— “The purpose of my life is to use my [best qualities] to [do the thing that is the way I love expressing them], in order to create [my ideal world]”
Play with the wording until you find a version that feels right for now. You can always adapt or improve it later.
You might then ask yourself:
- What parts of my life am I living most in line with my purpose today?
- Are these the times when I feel happiest, most fulfilled, most energised?
- Where in my life today am I living least in line with my purpose?
- Is this where I feel least fulfilled?
- What small changes could I easily make, to spend more time living in line with my purpose, and so increase my energy?
- What bigger changes might I start to think about making later?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
(The book contains other tools that will bring deeper insights.)
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