“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” – Viktor E. Frankl
What is your purpose? For many people having a purpose other than getting through the day is a thought that they have never entertained. What is your purpose?
Purpose is a driving force, a reason, a passionate desire, a legacy, a story and an internal motivation to do something that matters. It is amazing that most people haven’t taken the time to discover their purpose. Without a purpose life loses some of its meaning. Work becomes a way to pass time, to collect some money and to continue to exist. Life becomes a series of routine activities that has no meaning. Eventually those without a purpose wake up one morning and wonder what life is all about. What is my purpose?
There is an intrinsic purpose to life of course but there is also something deeper and more meaningful to purpose other than to exist. People without purpose feel like they are lost. They feel like they are just going through the motions of life and feeling less and less engaged in life as each day passes by. That often means that whatever they are doing they are doing because they feel like they “have to”.
Where do you start? If you have no idea of how to identify what your purpose is then it’s time to take out a piece of paper. Divide the paper in half along the vertical axis. On the left hand side of the paper list your strengths, the things you are naturally good at. Identify the things that come easily to you. Those will be things that just are easy for you to do or to learn.
On the right hand side of the paper list the things that you like to do. These will be interesting things, perhaps reading, exercising, or whatever those things are that you like to do.
Now you have a list of things that come naturally to you, or strengths, and a list of things that you like to do.
From those lists circle the things that are the most interesting, most energizing and most consistent in your life. What do you find yourself naturally doing? What things do you do that makes time just fly by?
For those things that didn’t get circled put a box around the things that you would do if money or time were no object. Maybe these things are things you are curious about that you want to know more about but just haven’t found time to do.
Using your core strengths which ones speak to “who” you are the most strongly. These could be things that go to the core of your being. They might be, your “to be” statements. My purpose is to be ” _____________________ ” something. What is that something?
Next, define what it is you want “to do”. What is the activity that you will undertake. “To do work that makes a difference in the world” or “to work with people ” or ___________________.
And then we take the to be and to do and culminate with a “so that”. Why do you want to do that. ” … so that I can positively influence those closest to me” or “so that I can make a difference in ____________”. The “so that” summarizes your ” to do” and “to be” statements into a result. That result is your “why”, your purpose and that will be your unique contribution. Your purpose lived out will be your legacy.
“My life is my message.” Gandhi