Have you ever wondered about your purpose in life? You aren’t alone as only around 25% of American adults say they have a clear sense of purpose about what makes their lives meaningful. Our purpose is our unique calling, which is where our passions, gifts, talents, and the world’s deepest needs interact. In short, finding your purpose gives meaning to your existence. Mark Twain famously said that “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Oftentimes, when we think of purpose, our minds jump to what we do for a living. However, your purpose is much more than your job or career. If you are lucky, you may have a vocation that is in line with your purpose, but this isn’t always the case. If not, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change careers. You may just need to find other ways to channel your purpose through your home life, hobbies, community work, or volunteering.
About five years ago, I did the work to craft my purpose. It is “to help others to reach their God-given potential.” Articulating my purpose has made a big difference in my life. It can often be used as a filter when prioritizing and considering adding new activities.
If you aren’t sure of your purpose, working through the six steps below may be helpful.
- Listen to your life.
Start by answering these questions:
*If money were not an issue, what would you do with your time?
*What do you love to do?
*What gives you energy?
*What drains the life out of you?
*What do you want to change, shape, and leave better than you found it?
*What segment of the population are you drawn to help?
*What are your gifts and talents?
- Ask others for feedback.
Sometimes it can be hard to recognize our own gifts and talents. Fortunately, other people that you are close to or work with frequently might be able to give you some insight. Ask others what they think you do well and what comes to mind when they think of you. Take note when someone gives you a compliment or shares feedback and look for patterns that might help inform your purpose.
- Utilize assessments.
Assessments can be utilized to enhance self-awareness and can also be quite helpful in finding your calling. They often can help us identify the things that we are naturally good at and the things that we enjoy doing. StrengthsFinder is a great assessment to use for this purpose as it helps us to identify our areas of greatest strength. Others that I like include the Enneagram and the Working Genius.
- Identify your values
Identifying your values is critical to determining your purpose in life. Your values are the things that are most important to you in how you live and work. There are several good values surveys to choose from including the Valued Living Questionnaire, the Portrait Values Questionnaire, and the Personal Values Questionnaire which were recommended by Positivepsychology.com. Once you have determined your most important values, try to narrow your list to your top five core values.
- Write your purpose.
Once you have gone through these activities, you can begin to write your purpose. Keep it simple and general enough that you don’t pigeonhole yourself. Remember that it can be a changing living document.
- Put your passion into action
Devise an action plan to put your purpose into action in your personal and professional life. Identify any of the cages that limit you (fear, insecurity, perfectionism, etc.) and try to get past these to step into your God-given adventure.