What does it mean for you to find purpose in your life?
Most of the people we hear from after working through SNAP: Getting Unstuck & Ahead In Your Life fall into one of these 3 categories:
- They fear purpose – it seems overwhelming and have no idea how to set out to discover their own purpose in life
- They have completely given up control and their purpose is simply a regurgitation of someone else they admire or that controls them
- They feel there is only one, overwhelming purpose in their life and that's it
Not only are these conceptions of what a purpose in life really is, but these beliefs set you up for near certain failure.
The Truth About Your Purpose In Life
1. It Is Within You Now
While you may need to seek help outside to discover your purpose, that purpose is within you right now. You may not realize it, most people do not because they simply haven't been looking in the right areas or, in many cases, have been ignoring their purpose completely because they have been influenced by someone around them (teachers, parents, friends, mentors) that some other purpose is BETTER – when it is definitely not
2. Your Purpose Changes Over Time – It's A Journey
Many people feel they should only have one purpose in life and that once they have it, they can't change.
No wonder nobody wants to commit to their purpose if they have created the false belief that it is some sort of prison sentence they must stick with for the rest of their lives.
For example, as a teen your purpose may be to simply find an area of interest to focus on given the ton of potential and stimulus coming your way. As someone who is perhaps addicted to a bad behavior or in a dark place, your purpose is to get back to living in tune with your true potential, getting yourself back into a good place.
In your early twenties, your purpose could be around self-development – rising the bar every day on learning about yourself so you are prepared to make a huge difference in the world.
Later in life, your purpose may be impacting the lives of your children and your friends or marketplace. Don't think of your purpose as lifelong – some may be, but others will be building blocks as you grow through life.
3. Your Purpose Will Become Multi-Faceted
While you don't want to have 20 different areas of purpose in your life, the truth is that people often have more than one. So, you may have the following:
- My purpose in life is to continually live my life in alignment with helping the largest # of people with (X, Y or Z)
Which then breaks down into the following:
- In order to fulfill my main purpose in life I will dedicate at least 15% of my life toward learning ways to improve my own life and the lives of those around me
- In order to fulfill my main purpose in life I will make sure to secure the financial future of myself, my family and be in a position to contribute $1M to help others around me
- In order to fulfill my main purpose in life I will constantly seek out careers, professions and businesses that will make full use of my potential to maximize my potential and improve the lives of others
You may find that you have one all-encompassing purpose and you break it down into individual purpose components (as you see above) or you may find it easier to come up with the components first and then come up with your higher-level statement. Having several purpose statements and how they impact and guide areas of your life is fine – what you want to make sure is that they are congruent in that they have limited conflict with each other and work together to fulfill your ultimate purpose in life
4. Your Purpose Needs To Be Bigger Than Money
Look, the reality of the society we live in is that money is important – first for survival and then as part of the tool chest toward making a difference in people's lives. However, it is not the money itself that is everything but rather what that money can do to put you in a position to help others OR what the pursuit of that money can do to help you become a better person and help those around you.
It's fine to have financial goals (in fact it is critical), however what will help you achieve those financial goals is to seek a purpose higher than the money itself. It needs to be bringing about transformations in your life, in the lives of those you love and in society in general…when you reach that level of a purpose statement, you will find that you will become much more driven and empowered.
5. Your Purpose Should Be BIG
Many people mistake short-term goals (such as getting good grades in college, securing a higher paying job, making a single donation of time or money to charity, etc…) as their purpose in life. While these are goals and perhaps even components of an overall, multi-faceted purpose statement – they are not BIG enough to make a purpose that will empower and drive greatness in your life.
6. BONUS TIP: Your Purpose Should Hit You In The Gut
Many people ask me, "when do I know if I have found my real purpose in life?"
My answer is always, when you feel it in your gut!
When you have really identified your purpose and begin to map out the components of fulfilling that purpose you should feel:
- Reborn – almost like you were 12-years old again
- Excited unlike you may have felt excitement for years
- It should just feel "right" – as right as anything has felt in decades
- Some fear – along with any great purpose realization comes a natural fear…you quickly realize your life is about to change and you are feeling things you haven't felt for years – that can be scary, but that's ok as it is all part of the realization process
- You can't stop thinking about it…you become obsessed with your purpose and suddenly everything else seems smaller in relation
Self-Discovery Is All Part Of The Passion-Filled Purpose-Driven Life
It may take you some time to find your passion-filled purpose in life and that's ok.
The very process of opening yourself up to the discovery process is incredibly empowering and part of fulfilling the reason you want to live a purpose-filled life in the first place — to ensure you are living congruent to your own passions, beliefs and emotions – which all begins with the process of discovery.
Don't worry about how long it takes or if you are doing it "right" – give it time and enjoy the process of discovery itself out of which will come an entirely new confidence, assurance, joy and enlightenment followed by new found strength of character that will change your life forever.