This past week I needed to close up my classroom, return personal belongings to students, and collect borrowed chrome books. I cannot even begin to tell you how great if felt getting up in the morning, getting dressed for leaving the house, and driving to school. Driving to work and having a purpose to leave my home; knowing I would see colleagues (masked and from a distance), and see my second-grade kiddos (again, masked and from a distance) filled me with joy!
This also got me thinking about the importance of purpose in our lives. Staying at home has altered so many lives that many people have faltered when it comes to knowing their purpose. Being a school teacher, knowing that I had to show up each day for the children in my virtual classroom to teach them, kept me on course. When my life got thrown for a curve ball, I hunkered down and focused on my purpose.
Over time, and a few different career paths, I came to learn that my purpose is centered on teaching, inspiring, and helping others grow their talents and skills. It is not always easy to figure our your purpose in life. If you’re way past 21 and still asking yourself what you want to be when you grow up, the process can be unclear.
Even if it takes some effort, it’s still a question worth answering. Numerous studies suggest that finding work that aligns with your purpose is more motivating and satisfying than any pay increase.
If you’re still searching, it’s time to discover your mission! Use this checklist to help you find and fulfill your purpose.
Finding Your Life Purpose:
Calm your mind. Ease yourself into a creative state of mind. Meditate or take a long walk through the park. Soak in a warm bath or read poetry. Your thoughts become more expansive when you take a step back from daily concerns.
List your passions. Ask yourself what you value. What would it take to make you excited about getting out of bed in the morning?
Identify your strengths. Focus on what you do well. Think about the kind of compliments you receive or tasks that come easily to you.
Analyze flow. Recognize the activities that create a flow experience for you. When do you lose track of time and find that your work becomes effortless?
Focus on service. Your purpose takes on more meaning when you look beyond yourself and think about how you can have a positive impact on others. Try to find an underserved need that you can help fill.
Do research. The internet makes it easy to learn more about any topic related to your purpose. Look up information on careers in education or take cooking classes.
Talk with others. Learn from others who are already working in the fields that you find interesting. Attend networking events. When you’re at parties, ask other guests what they do and follow up with relevant questions.
Keep a journal. Writing about your search can help you organize your thoughts. Over time, you may spot patterns that will guide you in moving forward.
Fulfilling Your Life Purpose:
Be flexible. You may be surprised by some of your discoveries. You may even find that you have more than one purpose. Try to keep an open mind.
Change your assumptions. If you’re hesitant to act on your ambitions, you may have self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Remember your past accomplishments and focus on what you have to gain.
Make realistic plans. It’s okay to aim high, but you want your targets to be feasible. Not everyone who loves opera can sing soprano, but there are plenty of other roles in the same industry, from costume design to fundraising.
Set a daily intention. Keep your purpose fresh in your mind. Figure out something you can do each day to bring you closer to your goals. Consistent effort builds momentum, and small victories add up.
Evaluate your progress. Assess your development on a regular basis, so you can devote your efforts to activities with the highest payback. Weed out distractions and make adjustments as needed.
Find balance. Give equal attention to contemplating your purpose and taking action. Otherwise, you can wind up overlooking your top priorities or missing opportunities.
Seek support. Pursuing your purpose is rewarding and challenging. It helps to have partners on your side. Ask your friends and family for the assistance you need. Team up with others who share your vision.
Being driven by purpose will make you happier and more successful. You will be living a fulfilled life. If you are not living your purpose, it is worth the time and energy to find what your purpose really is. Examine your experiences and discover how to share your unique gifts.