Purpose is a powerful thing. When a person has it, they are able to accomplish incredible feats. It also allows a person to persevere through difficult times because they know why they are doing what they are doing, and they know where they are going. A purpose in life gives a person a sense of drive and a single-mindedness towards a goal. John D. Rockefeller, the famous business magnate and philanthropist, once said, “Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.” Do you know what your purpose is? Do you know what gets you up in the morning and keeps you up late into the night? What brings you satisfaction regardless of the cost?
All of these questions can be answered if we have a strong sense of purpose in life. But as we all know, discovering and faithfully living out our purpose are not easy things to do. Nevertheless, we have to start somewhere. As Winston Churchill said, “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.” What is that “something” for you?
Here are 6 skills to develop in order to live your life with purpose:
- IDENTIFY the pain. Often times it is through our pain where we can find our purpose in life. We have all experienced pain, therefore, if we have found freedom and perspective from these experiences, it can give a glimpse into our purpose. Most likely, these are the things that you probably care about intensely. Remember, that our experiences shape us and provide a road map to our life purpose.
Next step: Take time to reflect and explore your experiences which caused you a lot of pain. Write it down and see if it stirs your heart for others to experience freedom as well.
- INVESTIGATE the patterns. Life is full of patterns. Not only do things in our lives repeat themselves, but we are able to glean some insights. Part of finding our life purpose is to see some of the positive things that we have experienced. What are some things that you are good at? What are some things that people have commented on and gave you good feedback? What are the things that you enjoy doing and make you happy? When you start seeing a consistent pattern, then investigate it a bit further because you might be discovering more of your life purpose.
Next step: Answer the questions above and see if you find a pattern or a tendency. Then write it down and ask others to give some confirmation.
- INQUIRE from other people. It is easy to have an over-estimation, as well as an under-estimation of ourselves. This is why it is always helpful to have people who know you and love you enough to tell you the truth. Ask them to honestly share what strengths they have observed in your life. Inquire and see what has encouraged them in your interactions. Find out what areas you were effective with as they worked with you. As we get some feedback, it will help us to not only be more self-aware, but it will assist us in narrowing down some of the things that we can move towards in our life purpose.
Next step: It us usually better to send it in an email so that they can have time to think about it. Therefore, share your reasons for asking and then ask them to be honest.
- IMPLEMENT a plan of action. We will never move towards our life purpose if we passively wait for something to happen. This is why it is imperative that you are proactively taking small steps towards the discovery of your purpose. Even though, some of the avenues might not lead to your desired purpose, at least you can start ruling things out. Therefore, it is always a win to try new things and even make connections with people that might not make sense. But regardless, it is important to come up with some steps – contact people in a specific field, take a class to learn about a topic, see if there is an internship, go to conferences, read books on the subject, etc.
Next step: Sit down and plan out a 3-month and then a 6-month plan of steps that you are going to take explore some areas of interest.
- INTERNALIZE your values. Something that we don’t think about is that part of discovering our life purpose is knowing what we value. This is connected to our identity and where we find our sense of meaning. When we know our values and we are willing to live by them, then things become a little bit clearer in terms of our purpose. We will begin to think about what will bring the greatest good and even the greatest impact. We will reflect on how we can use our life to invest in something that has meaning and that will last beyond us. We will start to think about how to help others by adding value. Therefore, know what it is that you believe in and value, then internalize them.
Next step: Come up with a list of five values that you are not willing to compromise on. Then ask yourself, “With what I am pursuing after, can I do it without compromising on my values and will it have a lasting impact?”
- INVITE others on the journey. Life is so much better when we have a community that accepts and supports us in our journey. Encourage them to be a part of your life purpose. It is amazing to see what a handful of people, who have the same purpose in life, can do when they are united. By having others on the journey with you, it will help sharpen and strengthen your resolve in living out your purpose. They can even help tweak the purpose as different challenges come your way.
Next step: Think of 2-3 people that you can invite to your life purpose. Contact them and buy them some coffee and share your thoughts with them.