You’ve identified your unique gift and written your gift statement as part of your work from Part 1. Good job. Let’s see how you can apply your unique gift in the discovery of your purpose.
Purpose is the overarching guiding principle that gives your life meaning.
Purpose is the forward-pointing arrow. When you are clear about your life purpose, with an explicit, written purpose statement, you will know why you get out of bed in the morning. It incorporates your special gifts and life experiences.
Opportunities come your way in life. By applying your unique gift to these opportunities, you discover your purpose. But you can’t just sit still and wait for it to drop into your lap. You’ve got to do the self-discovery work.
To make purpose resonate, it’s important that it serves a cause bigger than you. You can create a lot of meaning in your own life by helping someone else do something that is meaningful to them.
Your purpose may have nothing to do with what you do for a living. Your career may not be your calling. While you may get fired from your job, you can never be fired from your purpose. If you can get fired from it, you haven’t discovered your purpose yet. Your purpose is not about the expertise you bring your job, either. Let’s not make our position or expertise our purpose.
For it to be your purpose, it must work in all areas of your life.
Mining for and discovering your purpose means embracing your gifts, capturing your essence, and living authentically. When you are clear about your purpose, you’ll never feel like you are an impostor.
Your purpose is unique to you. It can do no harm. It permeates all areas of life. While your purpose may change with life’s seasons, the “red thread” of purpose never changes in your life.
When you are living by purpose, everything seems natural. It may not be easy, but you must live authentically. In your sweet spot. It’s like a baseball hitter or golfer who hits the ball on the sweet spot. Living on purpose is like the ball hitting the bat on the sweet spot. It just flies effortlessly.
When you’ve defined your purpose statement and live by purpose, there are many benefits. It serves as a filter. When an opportunity or experience presents itself, you ask, “Does this situation help me fulfill my purpose?” Or, “If I say yes to this experience, is that consistent with my purpose.” It allows you to quickly and definitively answer “Yes” or “No.” “Is what I’m about to do in keeping with my purpose and values?”
Heeding your purpose isn’t an easy path, which is why most people never know it. They don’t listen to their hearts. Or if they do and follow their calling, they fear the unknown, and they fear looking foolish or failing. So, they play it safe and drift along. Perhaps they are comfortable. Perhaps they have the means, but they lack the meaning. And they never create the impact they were born to make. Don’t let this be you.
“Would it not be better to ask people to what purpose are they applying their life, rather than simply asking them what they do for a living?” Thom Winninger, author, Your True DNA!
Step 2: Mine for and Discover Your Purpose
It’s time to go mine for purpose. Pull out your journal and thoughtfully answer the following purpose framing questions. The outcomes will be the raw material for your purpose statement and story.
When you were young, what activity brought you the most happiness and satisfaction? What were the specifics? What emotions do you feel as you recall these memories?
Hint: It could be one specific moment, a specific activity, or a list of experiences.
What have been the three most salient events in your life that have made you the person you are? Write one sentence that describes the gist of these events or experiences.
Hints: These are likely your most challenging life experiences. Pick an experience that is currently not impacting you.
Now, which of the three events would you call the single most defining moment in your life?
Hint: It is often – but not always – an event that happened early in life, often between ages 9-12, when you didn’t have the answers for the challenges you faced.
Why do you get up in the morning?
Hints: What gets your blood flowing? What causes do you care about most deeply? What is a problem that “someone needs to fix”? What are you committed to that is bigger than you?
What are your three inviolable values?
Hints: What are the top three values that guide you? What are the values you could credibly have printed on a t-shirt to wear? People would agree, “Yes, that defines what you stand for and how you operate.”
Using your unique gift and the responses to the purpose framing questions as raw material, reflect on the key words and phrases that jump out at you. Highlight the key words and themes. Can you see a pattern? A pattern – the gifts, the values, the red threads, the purpose – should begin to emerge.
It’s time to create a purpose statement. Your purpose statement does the following:
- Identifies the unique gift(s) you bring to the world;
- Taps into your own life experiences (challenging times, passions, and best memories);
- Uses a minimal number of words or symbols;
- Consists of words that have deep meaning; and
- Every time you recall and share your purpose, it provides clarity and focus to live on purpose.
Smarter people than your author recommend you meditate and contemplate intensively and extensively about your purpose statement. I suggest you do this, too.
Reflect on and complete this sentence:
“The purpose that is leading me is: ____________________.”
Now edit your sentence into your purpose statement. Here are some examples.
To provide safe passage down the river of life, helping others to experience adventure, find and feel joy, and live life fully.
To show others that their daily marathons are possible to get through and that nothing is really impossible.
To help others look and feel great, and to lift up their happiness, confidence, and self-image.
Creating content for the 50+ crowd and sharing stories of people living their passion.
To be a channel for those in broken situations to get connected to the Healer.
To guide others through the moguls – so they see what is possible and become unstoppable.
To courageously dig deep to unleash potential as powerful as Nature.
Now it is your turn. What will be your purpose statement? Write it here.
With your purpose statement defined, let’s use it as part of a story – your purpose story. Tomorrow, I’ll share with you an example of a powerful purpose story. We’ll then work together to craft your purpose story, to help you bring your purpose to life.
“I apply my knowledge of the purpose of my life every day. It’s the single most useful thing I’ve ever learned.”Clayton Christensen, late professor at Harvard Business School and bestselling author