I realize “What is my life purpose?” or “What is my Why?” are very big questions.
Questions that aren’t easy to answer but are at the very center of everything you do whether you can define yours or not.
People who don’t understand and live their PURPOSE/WHY out loud tend to feel like there’s something more they are being called to do but can’t put their finger on what it is. The ability to articulate it means the difference between living in your truth, feeling fulfilled, and inspiring others… Or…. Wandering aimlessly through life without anything solid to map decisions or desires against.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurmon
What does that mean for YOU?
Simon Sinek single handedly brought the word WHY to the forefront of every business professional’s mind with his TedTalk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” which was based off of his best-selling book, “Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action”. If you haven’t seen the TedTalk, I’d encourage you to find time to watch it. It’s 18 minutes well spent.
Although the content focuses on the concept as it relates to business, we can easily adapt the fantastic learning to our personal lives as it relates to finding our Life Purpose. Sinek talks about the golden circle. The outer ring of the circle is HOW, in one ring is WHAT, and at the center is WHY.
Let’s break it down
HOW: Some people know HOW they do WHAT they do, both professionally and personally. HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better. Not as obvious as WHATs and many think these are the differentiating or motivating factors in a decision. It would be false to assume that’s all that is required.
WHAT: Every person can describe what they do as it relates to their work or personal life. They can describe their duties and tasks as a business leader, mother, spouse, or volunteer. WHATs are easy to identify.
WHY: Very few people can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. This isn’t about making money – that’s a result. WHY is all about your purpose, cause or belief. WHY do you exist? WHY are you a Mother, or business leader? WHY do you get out of bed in the morning? And WHY should anyone care?
When most people think, act or communicate they do so from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason – they go from the tangible to the intangible. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.
But not the passionate people that we gravitate to. Every single one of them, regardless of who they are or where they’re from act and communicate from the inside out.
How to figure out your Life Purpose
This isn’t a process that comes easy to many people so I’m going to offer some simple questions that I use with my VIP Coaching Clients to help them begin the process of defining their Life Purpose.
- What lights you up? Think about the events and activities that bring you joy or satisfaction. These are usually things that you can spend huge amounts of time and energy doing but rarely feel run down or depleted afterwards. On the contrary. The more time you spend here the more energy you get.
- What do other people say you’re good at? Ask your friends and family what they believe your natural gifts are and be ready to listen and really hear them. We don’t always see in ourselves what others see.
- What would you do for free? Think about the things that you have such a love or strong conviction for that you would devote large amounts of time and energy just to be around it without the need to be compensated in any way.
- How do you want to be remembered? When your time on this Earth is through what do you want to be remembered for?
Still having trouble? You may want to try this visioning exercise:
You’re in an auditorium full of people. Everyone is seated and there’s an energetic buzz in the air. Everyone is eager to hear the next speaker. That speaker is you. Picture yourself looking out over the crowd. Feel the feelings you have as you are about to address everyone. Just as you step up to the microphone time freezes for an instant. You hear a voice in your ear that says, “In the next 30 seconds you will have a chance to have any impact you want on this entire group. It will be only one chance, one impact, but all of these people will be changed in some way. They will have a different life because of the impact you have had on them. Then the countdown begins. 30 seconds…. 15…. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Now ask yourself:
- What impact did you have?
- What happened to everyone in the room?
Food for thought
Once you have an idea of what your Life Purpose is, it’s time to bring the awareness into your daily life. Don’t wait till it’s perfect… Start now!
Keeping your Life Purpose or your Why at the forefront of your mind insures that you’re aligning with what’s at heart of your being on a regular basis. The clarity that comes from that place allows you to naturally be pulled to the activities, events, projects, etc. that have heart and meaning for you.
Big Bold & Brave Challenge
Spend some intentional time thinking about your Life Purpose. Know that you don’t have to clearly articulate what it is right now. Just start exploring what it might be for you and keep it at the forefront of your mind each day and adjust it as you need to. Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post or head over to the Big Bold and Brave Facebook page to join the conversation.