Finding out your life’s purpose seems like a huge headache, especially if you don’t know where to start. This has been popularised due to thought leaders, positive and pop psychology, and people in your environment bouncing the word around like everyone must have this one thing they identify with. Naturally, we are teleological by nature, but it does not mean that everyone has an end goal or purpose that they can at least identify with. Your purpose does not have to be one thing, it could be many as long as it is aligned to you and is niche in some way for you to excel in it. Excelling in your purpose is important because it embodies you, expresses you and is the true and highest form of you; in other words, you are in your element. Don’t get hung up on finding one thing, focus more of finding things that are a fit, and from there you can make decisions based on your overall aims and priorities.
I cannot hide from the fact that if you can identify with a purpose, you are able to attract more opportunities into your life. Are you at an advantage if you can identify with your life’s purpose? It depends what your aims are but that would insinuate potentially that you have an underlying purpose that you have not uncovered. What I can say is, if you identify different pieces of the puzzle and stick with a piece that resonates with you, then you will get closer and closer to being clear of what that purpose is. The point of this article is to give you different ways of getting closer to that puzzle, however using all of them is not necessary, some may resonate better with you than others.
Below are a few things to think about when determining your purpose, or as Napoleon Hill would put it, your primary aim:
Try a lot of things
When you try new things you are able to observe and assess what value you got out of an experience. If the value you received made you feel good, and you also received a tangible product from that even maybe be you need to see if doing more of those things is worth your time in order to receive that value on a regular basis. This could be from volunteering, conducting a business, or teaching. The collection of experiences will allow you to decide what you like best based on what pulls your heart strings the strongest.
List the things you love and like doing
I think it is always smart to write down a list of things that you like doing. This is because writing something down crystallises an experience or thought in your mind. In other words what you love doing becomes more noticeable as you have gone through a process of identifying it. You can do this repeatedly every 6 – 12 months, and you’ll notice progressively that some things come off the list, others will remain, and some will be added. The ones that remain are more likely to be the ones that align to your passion. If the word passion does not tickle your fancy, then use the word cause, project, obsession, love or heart’s desire.
Determine your characteristics
One excellent way to give you a clue towards your life’s purpose is to find out what your character traits are. A famous model used by many corporate work spaces is known as the Johari Window. Effectively what you are doing is asking 5 – 10 friends or family members, who have an objective and honest tone to them, to pick 5 characteristics they think you have. These characteristics can be from a list, or they can freestyle them. Before you receive their answers write down 5 characteristics that you think you have also. What would be useful is if all participants (including yourself) wrote down the reason why they chose their characteristics. Once you receive all the answers, compare them and look for ones that are similar, very different, and ones that you did not know about. Do this every 6 – 12 months and you will inevitably see a pattern. Again what this does is it helps inform your choices when deciding to do something, as you are more inclined to want to do things that relate to your strengths and interests.
Work out what you’re good at
This is going to require you to dig deep but write down a list of hallmarks experiences you have had where you have achieved something. This could be from the following places:
- Sports Clubs
- Networking Groups
- Mastermind Groups
- Family Achievements
- Breaking Records
- Places of Worship
- Product Developments
- Service Developments
- Experience gained
This is not an exhaustive list, but definitely one for you to think about. This list will help you identify when you were most happiest, fulfilled or proud. It will also allow you to identify if there are any common themes that you had experienced when you accomplished certain achievements. These achievements may help direct and help you focus on things that you actually want to achieve in life!
Discover what you love talking about
They say “you are what you eat,” and you literally are what you speak! If a fly was on a wall observe what you say, what do you think it would say you talk most about? Think carefully about common topics, ideas or passions that hijack your conversations. This can also be reflected through what you look for online or even post on your social media platforms. It may give you a sneaky indication behind what makes your heart sing.
Define your values
Values are your standards of behaviour and what you think is important in life. By this very definition it makes sense to look retrospectively at your life and pick hallmark experiences, good or bad, where you had learnt a strong life lesson. 10 of these experiences is a great way to draw out your values. Go back to the of 16 – 18 and in a table or in your journal write the following:
- The hallmark experience
- How you felt
- What you learnt
- A one word ‘Value’ you would associate from that lesson such as stability, integrity or respect as an example
What problems do you like to solve
The easiest way to find your passion is by finding problems you love solving. I love helping people overcome their life barriers in order to mobilise them to their life goals. I also love systems change and innovation. So I knew whatever I wanted to do they’d have to be around these attributes. Look back at your work experiences, volunteering and other situations where you used problem-solving, and decipher what problems you liked solving in the past.
Sometimes your life goals can be around things like money, financial freedom, charity, business, and other things tailored to your lifestyle, that may be the problem you want to solve. Maybe your passion at the moment is getting your mum and dad financially stable, getting out of your 9 to 5, or even travelling the world. Although these are not niche things they are enough to get you motivated enough to do something about it. Finding the right channel will drive your motives even more so, realising them into a passion.
What industries do you love
Is there a specific industry that you love? Think of the following:
- Personal Development
- Personal Finance
- Banking and Finance
- Personal Health
- Beauty & Body
- Government & Politics
As you can see this is a long list but it is not exhaustive. Use these items to give you ideas about industries that you like. It’s a good starter to begin gauging what you would like to delve into, and what you would not like to delve into.
What would you spend your time doing if you had the chance
If time was on your side, or should we say if your activities were more favourable, what would you spend your time doing? This question is the same as saying, if you had unlimited money, what would you spend your time doing… after the partying and fun!?
This question allows you to be creative and free roaming and you can explore in your mind more possibilities and options for life. You can choose life, not Life choosing you. Many people say they would probably travel, but then I would ask “then what?”
You need to be thinking from a perspective of what would I want to do for the rest of my life, happily and enthusiastically? Think about this question and write down some options. This links back to causes that you are passionate about and what you want to see work i.e. things that you wouldn’t mind fighting for, building, and managing! I always say “Commit to a Cause” but firstly think about what cause you want to commit to.
Talk to people about what they love doing
Listening to other people talk about their passion is inspiring as it naturally allows you to reflect upon your life and what you’re doing. It gives you perspective behind reasons why people do the things they do, possibly giving rise to ideas that you may not have considered. Hanging around with “somebodies” usually makes you a “somebody.” Talk to people about what they want to do and don’t be afraid to ask them questions such as “what inspired you to want to do this?” or “how do you know you want to do it?” The more people you talk to, the better informed you will be.
Get loved ones to tell you what they think
You can always get people to tell you what they think your passion could be. This is good and bad depending on how objectively wired you are. It also gives you the chance to judge what people are saying and decide whether you agree or disagree with them; the decisions will be based on past experiences and how you feel. There may be things that you may not have considered, and if you are neutral or positive about the suggestion, potentially it may be worth testing out. Ultimately it is your decision to make, and one else’s.
If all else fails life will eventually tell you in some way shape or form, it’s usually a matter of time. However, proactiveness allows you to live a happier life sooner, and plus you never know when your time is up…
Hopefully this has given you some insight! My quick advice, I wouldn’t stress over it to much. Focus on these basic questions and you more likely to have a sense of your passion or primary aim:
- Who do you say you are?
- Where are you from?
- What are you capable of?
- Where are you heading?
Advice paraphrased from Mr Myle’s Munroe.
Enjoy your day!
Why not check out 100 other ways to stay motivated via this link. I hope you have found value in this article, especially as they are not the most conventional ways the common person employs. Follow through with these ideas properly and I promise, you will be more motivated to take action!
To further develop your understanding of these principles check out my self-published book Understand Reach Expand: 15 Super Effective ways to Manage your Mind out now on Amazon via Kindle and Paperback.
If you want more check out my FREE video series, 5 Models for Success Mastery!