Turns out, there are huge benefits to finally figuring your sh*t out ...
What is your "life purpose" and how do you find it?
It sounds so important, but does anyone really know what it means? Does "personal purpose" make you think of a divine mission statement handed down from the clouds? Or, the stuff that makes people run marathons and discover the cure for AIDS?
Or, does the topic make you feel a little queasy as you think, "I have no idea why I exist ... or what my purpose might be."
If you feel lost, you're not alone. I promise, finding your personal purpose isn't as mysterious as you might think, and you gain some pretty amazing benefits from having one.
So, use these questions to get started in your search:
- What do I want most in the world?
- What are my gifts and true passions?
- What sort of work am I supposed to do?
- What behaviors do I most need to change in myself?
- How do I want to contribute? To make the world better?
Sure, the questions sound easy to answer, but refining your answers and then aligning your world around them is a process that lasts a lifetime. So then, why bother? Well, because it turns out, living a life with purpose brings a whole array of advantages:
1. It makes you healthier. Studies show that people living life with a clear sense of purpose use better preventive health care and health-promoting practices. They're more apt to exercise and they get more out of therapy. They eat their greens. They go back to school, start new businesses, or indugle in hobbies that relax and/or energize them. Not only do they live healthier and happier, some research says that people with purpose even live longer than those without it.
2. It gives life meaning. Having a life purpose keeps you curious, seeking new solutions and answers, and helps you heal when you experience trauma—like breakups and loneliness, financial problems, and squashed dreams.
3. It helps you make hard choices. Your personal purpose is like your own unique compass. It helps you puts everything into context so you can make choices that keep you on path to reaching your larger life goals.
4. It helps you be true to yourself. Life purpose creates a calm, centered you, and satisfaction in your unique path. Knowing your life purpose helps you become more of who you are.
Work, love, self, compassion, and learning—these elements build your purpose. Personal purpose drives you. It determines the kind of work you do and the friendships and love relationships you cultivate. It helps shapes your skills, knowledge, and curiosities. It makes you practice, study, and explore. It fuels your passions, which could result in fame and fortune. Even if you're not a great social activist, you have a unique contribution to make.
When I ask people about their reason for being, I hear these responses over and over again:
- To help others
- To bring as much joy to people as possible
- To create beauty
- To always keep learning
I love watching people arrive at their answers. Their faces brighten; their breathing deepens; they slow down and shift their focus to a higher plane of experience beyond day-to-day hustle and survival; they connect with their true selves.
The quest for personal purpose takes you closer to your Higher Self.
Many religions teach some concept of a true self or a higher self. In Christianity, every person possesses a part of the Holy Spirit, which connects him or her to the higher self, or God. In Hinduism, we begin to connect with our higher self, or Atman, when we notice ourselves noticing our thoughts and feelings.
As I get to know the person I really am, I live in greater alignment with my raison d'etre (reason for existence). And from that place, I harnass my focus and energy and I make things happen. I lean into the Universe. I initiate. I become more of me.