“Is my life purpose something I create or something that I already have?”
“How do I go about figuring out what is my life purpose?”
“How do I know when I have found it?”
I have had a number of people and coaching clients ask me these questions. This is especially the case at the start of the year when everyone is pondering on the year ahead, making goals, thinking about life in a particular way.
Invariably, my responses to these questions are: there is no one-size-fits-all, step-by-step manual that will teach you how to go about finding your life purpose. While the path to self-discovery is different for different people, I have the following 5 questions that are a good point to start you off.
Q1: How are you using your unique strengths & gifts?
Our life purpose refers to the sense of meaning that we have in our lives. Knowing what gives us meaning in life requires us to ‘peel the onion’ and dig deep within us to find the answers. We must not be afraid to acknowledge that the ‘meaning in life’ that we have been holding on to all our lives might be one that does not belong to us. It may have been foisted on us by societal norms, cultural norms and parental expectations.
Use the questions below for reflection and note your responses:
- Am I using my innate gifts and strengths to make a difference in my community and the world at large?
- Am I living a life that is of service to others?
- Am I contributing to the happiness and success of others?
When we are living our purpose, we use our God-given strengths and gifts to make a difference to those around us. We want to amplify those gifts that have been bestowed on us and contribute. We play BIG, not SMALL.
Q2: How fulfilled are you in life right now?
Our lives are made up of different areas: family, career, friends, money, health, romance, recreation, environment. We wear different hats depending on what role we play in a particular area of life. This is known as the Wheel of Life and we are at the centre of the wheel. When we are driving our Wheel of Life in accordance with our core values and beliefs, we experience a sense of harmony and balance. We feel fulfilled and centred.
For each area of your life shown on the Wheel of Life, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest), rate your current level of fulfilment in that area of your life.
- For each area in your life, ask yourself what does the current rating mean to you?
- For each area in your life, what is your desired rating?
- Which are the top 3 areas in your life where you currently experience the least fulfilment?
When the different areas of our life are not in harmony or are out of balance with each other, we feel a sense of dissonance or dissatisfaction. This suggests that someone else or something else may be driving our Wheel of Life that is not aligned with our values, beliefs and life purpose.
Q3: What are your core values and beliefs?
Our values are the things that are important to us. Together, they act as the compass that navigate us along the course of our life, in the decisions and choices that we make.
Our values help us to live our truth. They tell us what to say YES to and what to say NO to.
When our choices and actions are not aligned with our core values, we feel un-resourceful emotions such as discomfort, dissatisfaction, resentment, anger, disillusionment somewhere in our bodies. These emotions tell us that something is not quite right. For others, it might be that little voice that is telling them that they may not be on course. The thing is whether we pay attention to those feelings and are curious about what they might be telling us about ourselves.
For each area of your life shown in the Wheel of Life, reflect on the following questions about your values:
- What are your top 3 values?
- Which area(s) in your life are you currently living in alignment with your values and which area(s) are you not living in alignment with your values?
- What do you notice about the relationship between your responses in #2 and #3 in Question 2 about fulfilment?
For example, a person who finds meaning in making music may hold the belief “Music does not pay the bills”. Another person who finds meaning in giving joy to others through baking may hold the belief “I will hate baking once it becomes my livelihood”. Another person may be holding on to the belief “Raising children is the most meaningful thing for anyone.”
For each area of your life shown in the Wheel of Life, reflect on the following questions about your belief systems:
- Using the Wheel of Life, what beliefs do you hold in each area of your life?
- What is the source of each belief? Who told you that?
- How have these beliefs empowered you or held you back?
The beliefs that we have been holding since we were children could be preventing us from bringing to the surface what gives us meaning in life. Any kind of personal change starts with examining our belief systems.
Q4: What would be your metaphor for living your life purpose?
Think of a metaphor (it could be an image, or a character from a movie or fable, or a scene) that describes you when you are living a purposeful life.
For example, my metaphor of living a purposeful life is being “an alarm clock”. When I am living my life purpose, I am an alarm clock. I am all about waking people up so that they do not sleep through their life. My life purpose is to helping others create a life that they truly want and they have to be wide awake to do that!
Q5: If you could visualise living your life purpose, what would you be experiencing?
Instead of asking ourselves the standard question of “What is my life purpose?”, ask yourself a different question that allows you to visualise what it is like to be already living your life purpose.
When you are living your life purpose,
- What will you be doing?
- What will you be seeing?
- What will you be hearing others say to you?
- What will you be saying to yourself?
- What will you be feeling or experiencing?
Just relax, tap into your imagination and unconscious mind to see what comes up. If you draw a blank, it’s OKAY. This is because your brain is taking some time to find the answers to these new questions that you are asking. Just keep repeating the questions gently and kindly to yourself.
One of the exercises that I usually ask my coaching clients to do during this visualisation is to create a Vision Board of what comes up for them. You could use pictures from magazines, post-it notes, handwritten notes in coloured ink, crafting material or whatever stationery material that are on hand to create a Vision Board. Place the Vision Board in a place where you can see it every day. This could be a physical or digital Vision Board, depending on what works for you.
To help people get started on a Vision Board, I organise webinars where I facilitate participants in building a digital Vision Board for themselves. Check my Events page for the next webinar!
Visualisation is a very powerful mind exercise to remind us of the things we want. What we focus on expands. Olympic athletes have been using visualisation to enhance their performance for years.
Craft Your Life Purpose Statement Guide
Besides the above 5 key questions, I also offer you another path to figuring our your life purpose. If you are the type of person who enjoys hands-on written exercises, this is for you. Download this Craft Your Life Purpose Statement Guide on my website. Enjoy working through the exercises!
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