Sometimes we get the day-to-day busyness of living, confused with our life's purpose. Because we're busy, we have a ton of things to do, and there's not a minute to spare on any given day; we must be doing what we're meant to be doing, right? But if you stop what you're doing for a minute, take a breath, and think about your life, ask yourself these questions? "Am I happy?" "Am I fulfilled?" "Am I doing what I'm passionate about?" If you answered "No" to any one of these, you may not be living your purpose. While you may be busy, you're not living in your purpose. Given your busyness, you may not have a clue what your purpose is.
Here are some things you can do that can help guide you to finding your purpose in life.
Evaluate Your Interests
Take good notes and honestly evaluate your interests. You can do that by asking yourself questions like the following:
What do I enjoy doing?
What would I be willing to do even if I wasn't getting paid to do it?
What do I enjoy doing so much that I'm likely to lose track of time while doing it?
When am I my happiest?
What are some of my proudest moments?
What makes me feel really alive and energized?
If I had one week to live, how would I spend that week?
Acknowledge Times you've Experienced the Greatest Joy
If you did the previous exercise, you should have some responses to this already. Once you've established the times you've experienced the greatest joy, make note of where you were or what you were doing. When you discover the things that bring you the most joy, you usually discover where your passion lies. Our life's purpose will most likely revolve around what we're passionate about.
Step Outside of Yourself
Take a minute to see yourself outside of your current life. If you could live exactly as you wanted, what would your life look like? You could even imagine yourself at 90 years. Imagine that you are looking back on your life, and you are completely content that you lived a meaningful, wonderful life. Imagine what the specifics of that life are, then work backward through time to determine what you need to do by each decade between now and 90 to live that complete life. Your backward planning could lead you to determine not only what you should be doing, but some things you could start doing now, to get you headed in that direction.
Acknowledge What Comes Easy to You
We are all born with a deep and meaningful purpose that we have to discover. Your purpose is not something you need to make up, it's already there. Take note of all the things that seem to come easy to you. You know, those things that you seem to do effortlessly; you could do them with your eyes closed. When you look closely at the activities or skills that have always come easily to you, you'll likely stumble upon passions that you can turn into a profitable career.
Align Your Goals With Your Life Purpose and Passions
Now that you've had time to examine your life, your purpose should have been identified. Once you know your life's purpose, organize your activities around it. Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose. If an activity or goal doesn't fit that formula, don't do work on it. Aligning with your purpose is most critical when setting professional goals. When it comes to personal goals, you have more flexibility.
Act on Your Purpose
Now it's time to act on your purpose. You didn't go through this process just for the fun of it. We are all expected to work in our purpose. So write your mission statement. A mission statement is a formal summary of what you aim to do - either in life or business. It serves as a guide and should give you a sense of direction, so you won't get off track. It helps to keep you focused. You're not writing a book here. Your mission statement can be a single sentence or a short paragraph. Once you've formulated your mission, list the goals you will need to accomplish to fulfill your mission statement, and the individual actions or tasks you will need to complete to reach your goals. Your goals can be identified as short-term (1 to 3 years), mid-term (3 - 5 years), or long term (5 to 10 years).
Identifying your purpose is the easy part. It's a lot more difficult to act on your purpose and successfully carry it out. To do that will take an internal will to succeed and determination on your part. I will talk about what success looks like later. But know that walking in your purpose may mean your life may have to look a little different. Remember, your life is already busy, so it's going to take a lot of prayer and meditation to identify how to rearrange some things in your life so you can focus on your purpose. Some examples of ways to do that include: stop trying to please other people, doing things that only lead you to fulfilling your purpose, avoiding things that distract you from your purpose, and being around like-minded people.
Happy purpose-filled living!