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How do you find your purpose?

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do…”

– Steve Jobs

While some people spend much more time thinking about the purpose of life than others, no one wants to come to the end of their life and feel like their time on Earth was pointless.  We all want to feel like we are having a positive impact on the world and like there is a purpose for our lives. 

Recently, I was watching a video on high-performance by one of my mentors, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author, Brendon Burchard, and he said something that really struck me:

“You don’t FIND your life’s purpose.  You DECIDE on your life’s purpose.”

I agree with Brendon completely.  Your life’s purpose is not something you should search for desperately like buried treasure on a deserted island.  Your life’s purpose is whatever you choose it to be.  Too many people waste hours, days, weeks, months, or even years trying to figure out what the purpose of their life is.   

If you want to have a more meaningful, more fulfilled, more rewarding life, you simply need to DECIDE what the purpose of your life will be.  The purpose of your life can be whatever you want!

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to “find” the perfect answer to this question.  There are plenty of ways you can live a purposeful life.  You can also adjust your purpose along the way, as your purpose will likely evolve. 

If you feel stuck on how to find your purpose, here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to start the process of deciding what the purpose of your life will be:

  • Who do you admire and why?  (Your answer to this question will tell you a lot about your values and help you decide on the impact you want to have through your life.)
  • If you could change anything about the world or help any group of people, what would you do and why?  (Your answer to this question will help you decide on who/what you want to serve through your life.)
  • What do you want there to be more of or less of in the world because of your life?  (Your answer to this question will help you decide the impact you want to achieve through your life.)
  • What traits, talents or skills do people compliment you on?  (Your answer to this question will help you decide how you are best equipped to achieve the impact you desire to have.)

After you answer these questions, you can complete the following statement to decide on the purpose of your life:

“I will use my _____ (insert your skills/talents/traits) to help _____ (insert who/what you want to help) be _____ (insert the impact you want to achieve).”

As an example, here is what my current answer to this question is:

“I will use my communication skills and caring personality (my skills/talents/traits) to help students and young professionals (who/what I want to help) be happier, more confident, and more successful (the impact I want to have).”

After you decide on your “big-picture” purpose, you then need to decide how you will implement this purpose in your life. 

Just like a dream job, your life’s purpose is not a “soul-mate.”  It’s not about finding “the one.”  There are plenty of ways you could design your life and career to be purposeful. 

Based on the purpose I chose (see above), there are a number of career paths that would allow me to feel fulfilled and like I’m making the world better in a way that is highly rewarding to me and well-suited to my skills, talents, and personality.  For example, I could be a teacher, I could be a personal trainer, I could work for a non-profit that serves underprivileged people, I could be a career coach, I could be a speaker and author, I could be a mental health counselor or psychiatrist, and so on.  (Note: I could also pursue several of these paths at the same time or throughout my life.) 

In addition, your career is not the only channel for you to live with purpose.  The way you approach every facet of your life contributes to your overall sense of satisfaction with your life.  Make the decision that every person/project that comes in contact with you will be better off than they/it would be without you.  Be the best family member, friend, employee, and person you can be, and you’ll feel like you are living a more purposeful, meaningful life as well.

Scottish Author, William Barclay, once wrote that “There are 2 great days in a person’s life.  The day he is born and the day he discovers why.” 

He’s close, but I like this better: “There are 2 great days in a person’s life.  The day he is born and the day he DECIDES why.”

If you want more fulfillment, meaning, purpose, and passion in your life, simply make the decision today that you will have more fulfillment, meaning, purpose, and passion in your life.  You don’t need anyone else’s permission, and you don’t need to spend years looking, desperately hoping that you will “find” your purpose.

What will be the purpose of your life?  Please comment below with what you decide (or what you already decided) and then go out and live that life to the fullest!  The result will be a much happier, more rewarding life.

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