Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? Have you wondered if there is more to life than what it seems? Have you searched for meaning?
Two strong basic urges that humans possess are a desire to belong to something bigger than themselves, and a desire to make a difference. People for whom those needs are not getting met, or not getting met at sufficiently high levels, can go through life feeling unfulfilled, feeling like a part of who they are is not getting expressed in the world.
This can be profoundly unsettling, provoking feelings of disconnection, alienation, emptiness and sadness.
Some people feel that their purpose needs to come find them. Or that they need to go out and discover it, like a holy grail. The problem with this approach, if taken, is that it may take a long time to happen upon a suitably inspiring reason to exist. The emphasis is on luck in connecting with something that people may fear doesn’t exist.
Design Your Purpose
Rather than going out on a search for meaning, for a purpose, I coach people to design their purpose. It starts with making a simple statement about what they want their life to be about. They are told to keep the statement brief and general. I tell them to incorporate who they want to be for the world, and the difference they want to take on causing for others.
An essential foundation for articulating a powerful and inspiring purpose in life is self love. How to achieve that I’ll leave for another conversation, but suffice it to say that it does not work to make a life of contribution on top of a flawed or suffering relationship with one’s own self. It will not work long term. It will be limited at best.
What might a life purpose statement sound like? Well for me, what I designed for myself some 10 years ago is that “love be present for all”. A gentleman I had the pleasure of working with took on being “a joyful servant of humanity”. Another person took on helping people connect with their power. See, short and general.
Once generated, the next step is to look at what concrete steps can be taken to fulfill on such a commitment. I encourage people not to just look at broad and noble gestures, like going to another country to help build a hospital, but also to define for themselves what actions they can take now to launch a purpose driven life. And by ‘now’ I mean in the next hour; today.
Once a strong purpose is established, then there is a place for discovery, for being open to what the universe delivers. What I discovered for myself was that once I grounded myself in having love be present for all as a game in life, I had a love for working with families, and young people and teens. I did not foresee that, but I’m thankful that this fact emerged.
If this is something you wish to take on, take these steps: Articulate a purpose that inspires you, that is about what you can contribute to others. Keep it concise and general. Imagine what your life would be like if you became masterful at fulfilling on this purpose. How would you feel in 10 years if you were able to review the previous decade and see that you made the world a better place, with obvious and undeniable results?
What if YOU mastered self love, then made that available to hundreds? What would that be like?