Wouldn’t it be just dandy arising each day, infused with a meaningful vision that gave you fulfilment and an empowering sense purpose? Not only would this sense of life purpose boost your general health, well-being and happiness in life, but undoubtedly it would also help others.
Unfortunately, this utopian picture is not always easy to achieve. Sadly the majority of us mere mortals meander through the journey of life without having a clear sense of purpose and meaning.
Don’t expect me to magically lay out red carpet solutions to finding your life purpose in a few easy paragraphs. Rather, I intend to put forward some quick examples of types of life purpose that many other people have been lucky enough to find fulfilling in purse, in the hope that it may be easier for you to discover yours.
Examples of life purpose can come in all sizes and shapes, big or small, local or global.
One person’s life purpose could be to save the planet, or discover the ultimate cure for cancer. Whilst someone else’s life purpose could seem insignificant by comparison but no less fulfilling, like being the stop-and-go traffic person at the local school – keeping kids safe!
Unravelling your life purpose can take some time, but from my experience working with over 50,000 individuals over the last two decades, it all starts with a clearer understanding of yourself.
What gives meaning and purpose to an individual’s life greatly depends on who they are – their own set of values, motivations, life interests, skills and personality. So getting clarity on WHO you are (your values, skills, personality and interests) is a key first assignment to next, understanding WHAT would give you more purpose.
Personal life auditing tools such as The Career Development / Lifestyle Blueprint can help you identify WHO you are as the first useful step to greater life purpose.
No, I’m not talking religion or 70’s rock music. The music to some peoples’ ears is Martin Seligman author of ‘Authentic Happiness’ and one of the founders of the positive psychology movement. I have met Martin a number of times and his research suggests three models of happiness in life:
The Pleasurable Life: Doing pleasurable short-term activities that you enjoy such as going to the cinema, eating out, trips away. These can give pleasure, but don’t provide real, sustainable purpose.
The Engaged Life: Doing activities using skills that you are good at and love using. In this scenario you may be engaged, but again they may lack purpose as it may not be helping others.
The Purposeful Life: Using skills you love using and are good at (the engaged life) and that help others.
Life purpose examples big and small:
Fortunately for me, my purpose is my Life by Design work, but I also get additional purpose from my efforts at bringing up a great daughter in the world and setting up the Life by Design Youth Mentoring Foundation.
Mount Everest mountaineer Edmund Hilary was instrumental in helping establish hospitals and schools for the people of Nepal post his adventuring career, which gave him a great sense of purpose and meaning. Having the achievement of being the first summiteer of world’s tallest mountain gave Hilary the profile and notoriety to give back to people in need.
I have had the privilege of running my week long Life by Design residential program at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra for well over a decade. A challenge for many athletes is when they finish their sporting careers. Many sports stars can feel lost and slip into depression with a lack of direction and purpose due to their diminishing fame and identify after their careers. While others use their past sporting careers as a launch pad for their next careers, sometimes as business people, motivational speakers or spokespeople for great causes and charities. Having clarity of purpose is importantly understood by the AIS and that’s why it is compulsory for every resident athlete to do co-current study while on scholarship.
So, as mentioned, developing your purpose is important to enhancing your meaning and happiness in life – but it can take time to develop and nurture. Life purpose comes in all shapes and sizes, big and small, but the beauty is that you get to choose what suits you and when.
Perhaps you want to start local before you consider going global, by helping yourself, your loved ones a little better, your community and then expand if you want to.
As a way of saying thanks for being part of our Life by Design community I have designed Kick Start. It’s a mini personal development course to help you with more simple tools to get more clarity and on the right path.
This complimentary introductory self development course includes:
FREE 28 page Kick Start Interactive Workbook
FREE Worksheets & Tools
FREE Video Lessons
FREE 5 Day E-Course
The key to identifying your ideal life purpose first starts with you getting clear on WHO you are, and life audit resources such as your own Career Development and Lifestyle Blueprint can really help.