While there are many ways of discovering your life purpose I’m going to focus here on three ways are simple and surprisingly helpful.
Please note that I’m not talking about finding work for your midlife or long-term goals—but rather, “Why are you here?” What’s the point? What’s this purpose to your one beautiful and precious life of yours?
Maybe you think you don’t have a raison d’être or that it’s not important to delve deeply into this often unexplored territory. The truth is we’re all here to fulfill a purpose even if we’re not sure what that may be. The more we resist understanding our purpose the longer it takes to truly grasp what that may be.
Write it down. Steve Pavalina developed this method. It involves taking a blank sheet of paper or computer page and writing at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
Write whatever comes to mind—a single word or short phrase will do. Usually this exercise take about 15-20 minutes but for some it can take longer and generate many responses.
Once your gut and heart come into play and a surge of emotion is felt, that’s when you know that you’re on the right track. Keep going until you feel it in your mind, body and spirit.
The words that describe your purpose will hold a special energy and meaning to you that resonates within you over time as you read them.
The next step in this process is to make sure that every day you work on some aspect of that purpose so that you feel the connection between these words and your actions.
You may need to revisit this exercise until you’ve nailed it and with practice you’ll achieve “convergence.” That is, where your inner truth aligns with your outer behaviors and actions.
Can you say that your day is spent at least to some degree doing what matters deeply to you? What are these actions or activities?
Childhood dreams and fantasies. Think about what you wanted to do when you were a kid. What dreams or fantasies did you entertain? Did you want to be a dancer? A cowboy? A firefighter? A doctor? A writer? An artist? Which of these dreams or desires have persisted over the years. Is there some consistent theme that runs through your wishes? Do you sometimes long to live out one or more of these fantasies?
Our childhood fantasies have an uncanny way of tapping into our core selves. In this exercise our job here is to peel away the “shoulds” and the adult expectations and tune into the essence of who or how you wish to be in your life. As I mentioned in a recent email one of the greatest regrets of the dying is the wish to have lived a life that was true to the self—rather than the one that others had expected of us.
These years it become exquisitely important that we pay attention to the messages that we get from our intuition, our heart and our gut. The answers lie within. We need only to silence the outer interference and pay attention to the voice within.
Just do it! Discovering your purpose is not an intellectual exercise. It’s a matter of moving from your head to your heart. All of these practices involve actively doing and experiencing and not just thinking.
This exercise is about experimenting with the interests that move your spirit and that you find compelling. Consider what would you want to do with your life if money was not a factor.
What makes for a wonderful or memorable day? What activities or adventures bring out your best qualities and your greatest sense of joy? How can you bring more joy and meaning into your life right now—today?
When you peel away the layers, you are left with those desires, interests and passions that capture you wholeheartedly and elevate your spirits.
Your charge is to make sure that you infuse each day with some of the juice that you get from doing these things—whether this is a part time activity or engulfs your day.
Finding your life purpose is about gaining clarity about your burning desires and bringing them into alignment with how you lead your life—day in and day out.
By focusing in on the whispers that come from that voice inside we remain in integrity with ourselves regardless of what others think or say. This is when we are living a life of purpose on our own terms.
What are you doing to make sure that you are living in your truth—living your best life by making sure you fill your soul—one day at a time?