“Life purpose” can be defined as a contribution to the world that gives your life passion, fulfilment and meaning through commitment and dedication to something larger than yourself. Perhaps it is living with an attitude of love and treating the people around you with kindness and compassion. Perhaps it is working for social transformation or helping people in need. It might be expressing your creativity, exploring uncharted territories or developing your highest spiritual potential.
Knowing your life purpose and fully living it brings much meaning and fulfilment into your life. When you consciously align with your deepest reasons for being, you tap into rich reserves of energy, personal power and passion. Your life begins to flow in new and delightful ways.
Why Are You Here?
Few of us have ever asked ourselves what our life’s purpose might be. However, if we watch how our lives unfold and we know what questions to ask ourselves, we can begin to understand why we are here. Our purpose reflects:
- What we naturally DO best in life – the gifts, talents and skills our personality has to offer the world; and
- How we aspire to BE in life – the qualities of our authentic self.
We each need to ask ourselves what gives our lives meaning? What is important? Defining your passion and purpose gives you a sense of meaning. It’s the big picture – the ‘why’ of life.
It sounds so simple, yet the answers can be elusive. It might take some deep soul searching to feel like you’ve found the answer to your ‘why’. It’s so important to remember that it’s not the answers you’re looking for, but the right questions that will lead you to the path of purpose.
My Greatest Needs – Exercise
Your life’s purpose is not a job title – it is what you value and need. It can partially be detected in those things or ideas to which you feel very connected, or that you value highly.
To complete this exercise, find an hour during which time you know you’ll have no distractions. You will need coloured pencils or crayons and a piece of white paper.
What I Love About My Life Now
In the centre of the page, draw everything you really love in your life right now. Use simple symbols and stick figures, including everything that is ‘non-negotiable’ – everything that you cannot live without. These may be people, places, family, friends, house, car, computer, colleagues, running shoes, church, books, trees, love, health, freedom, security and education. It’s important to draw them, instead of using words. You can include dreams for the future, cherished memories or qualities you’d like to cultivate.
Identifying Your Greatest Needs
Take a look at your drawing and select the three pictures which most seem to describe what motivates you. For example, if you drew a picture of your children, two of your greatest needs might be to have a loving family and be a good parent. If you drew a picture of your car, it might represent freedom, mobility or status. You may have drawn a picture of your house, representing security, financial independence or personal expression. In the space below, write your three greatest needs:
From those three, select the one you absolutely must have fulfilled. This greatest need will be the one that shows up in almost every choice, in almost every way you interact in the world. This primary need is one core element of your life purpose. Write it down below in the space provided.
Now have your kitchen timer or watch ready, along with your pen. When you are ready to write, set the timer for five minutes. Start with the greatest need selected above, and write (on the following page) a stream of consciousness-style piece on the subject of that need.
As you write, give yourself permission to write anything, no matter how silly it seems. Incorporate your other two top needs if you get stuck. Just keep your pen moving until the timer rings.
[My greatest need] appears in every choice I have made in my life. For example…
After the five minutes is up, stop writing and ask yourself the following:
- What words did you start and end your piece with? Is there a message for you in these two words?
- Underline significant sentences that give you insight into how your greatest need is motivating you and shaping your choices. What does your writing tell you?
- What does this exercise say about your life’s purpose? What do you think your life’s purpose could be?
- What do you need to do to achieve that life’s purpose?
- Aligning yourself with your life’s purpose rewards you with a deep sense of fulfilment and inner peace. Manifesting the results you want out of life becomes much simpler. And by being true to your life’s purpose, you share with the world your authentic self.