Life purpose. You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that your mission in life is to figure out your “purpose” as soon as possible so you can start living it. But that sounds like such a daunting task, doesn’t it? It’s so huge and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Much of my work is based around what I call The Three Happiness Questions: Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? You can call these questions th key to authentic happiness as I do, or you can call them the key to finding your life purpose. I believe that if you get clear on who you are and where you are in life, this can help you understand your life purpose, so you can plan where you want to be heading in the future.
These are big questions. Perhaps just as big as the concept of “life purpose”. But if you break them down and look at them step by step, it makes it a lot easier to get clarity. First of all, who are you? This question looks at who you are: the important things that probably won’t change drastically throughout your life though they may shift a bit as you grow and change as an individual. What are your values, your interests, your passions? Spend some time exploring the things that are important to you and the activities that make your heart sing.
This can be a deeply rewarding way of getting in touch with your true self. Look at what you do when you procrastinate. You know, when you should be hard at work but instead you’re doing something else? Maybe you dive into a book, or perhaps you spend time on crafting and projects. It’s been said that what you do when you procrastinate is the thing you should spend the rest of your life doing. Think about how you can turn your procrastination activities into something bigger. Could you be a book blogger? How about starting a new Etsy shop for your crafts? Getting clear on who we are is the first step. Then we’re ready to look at where we are in life.
We often focus on doing the things we think that we should do, or the things that we think others want us to do, rather than on the things we truly want to do. That can lead to us living a life that we don’t want to live. The second question is, where are you? It looks at where you are in life, at this moment. What things do you do because you feel you should do them? What things do you do because you think others expect you to do them? And what things do you do because you truly want to? Make note of each of the activities in your weekly schedule and classify each one as want, should, or others. The wheel of life exercise is another easy way to get clear on where we are in life.
Rank each area of your life on a scale of one to ten: career/business, finance, personal growth, health/wellbeing, family, spirituality/religion, social life, attitude. Adjust the categories if any of these areas doesn’t resonate with you. Next, rank each area in order of importance, from one to eight, because there are eight categories. Reflect on the areas that you placed as top priorities, and ask yourself: are you truly living a life that is consistent with these priorities? Or do you make decisions that make other things seem more important? Simply reflecting on these things can help us get clear on our life purpose. Often we get caught up in our busy lives and don’t take the time to pay attention to our inner calling. By allowing ourselves this time, we can take steps toward finding our purpose. It’s all part of our journey.
Once we get clear on who we are and where we are in life, we can start planning our future. A vision board can be a powerful way of exploring our inner wishes. So many times I’ve made vision boards that I don’t entirely understand on the day that I’ve put them together. It’s only after things start shifting in my life that I get clear on what it was that drew me to select certain images. That’s why vision boards can be so powerful, even if you’re not fully clear on where you want to be headed in life. They have a way of releasing our unconscious wishes in the form of images. If you are clear on where you want to be headed in the next few months or years, start setting goals so that you encourage yourself to take action. Remember that a goal needs a deadline, otherwise it’s just a dream of something that you’d like to do someday.
Set yourself a reasonable date for completion of each goal, and map out your path to get there. If you have big goals that seem scary, break them down into bite-sized goals, with separate due dates for each. Remember that it’s all about taking little steps to reach your goals. If you break things down into small enough chunks, you can take the action needed to start living the life of your purpose.
Holly Worton helps authors make sense of social media so they can build their online platform and sell more books with her business Tribal Publishing. She also helps people achieve authentic happiness by answering The Three Happiness Questions with her blog Ready to Bloom, which will be released as a book with the same name in late 2013.
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