The First Stage in Finding Your Purpose
Discovering your purpose will spark a change in your life that you can’t help but follow.
Your purpose is meant to be fulfilled, and by doing so, you not only fulfill your purpose - you inspire others to do the same. And this is how you can personally have an impact that reverberates throughout the world.
There are three stages to finding your purpose:
The first stage involves your having a clear understanding of who you are and what you want.
The second stage is to identify what might be holding you back from finding your purpose and, once you’ve addressed any roadblocks, to understand what your purpose is.
The third stage is about bringing your purpose to life and how to do it in a way that is in with your life right now.
Right now, we’re going to go through the first stage. Ready? Let’s get started!
How do you like to feel?
In life, we are generally guided in terms of achievements. These achievements are a mix of what we need for basic survival (food, shelter, and sex) and society-based achievements (career, home, and family).
Your purpose is meant to be fulfilled, and by doing so, you not only fulfill your purpose - you inspire others to do the same.
Most of us aim for these achievements, although the details around them differ, such as the type of home, the income level, or the career is replaced by a business or self-employment. These goals are great. However, we’re often left with a feeling that there is ‘something’ missing. This feeling can be hard to articulate but can result in feeling restless, lost, despondent, or even slightly depressed. After achieving these goals, there can be a feeling of confusion. Goals don’t make us feel how we thought they would.
We get to this point because we’ve essentially jumped into life without knowing how we want our lives to feel.
This is the first aspect of ‘know thyself’ that we need to identify within ourselves. So, the very first place to start is to understand and establish how you like to feel rather than what you want to achieve.
Take Action: Make a list of how you like to feel. Free? Valuable? Connected? Narrow it down to 3-5 core feelings.
What Are Your Themes?
The next area to uncover about yourself is your themes. Your themes are made up of two elements: tangible themes and intangible themes.
Tangible themes can be described as your passions, your interests, your hobbies, or the constants in your life. What do you daydream about doing? What would you spend every waking moment on if you could? What are the things you don’t have much time for right now but wish you did? Some examples include writing, photography, art, music, and travel.
Intangible themes are interests that are mind or personality centered. You wouldn’t describe them as hobbies, but they form an integral part of your life. Examples of intangible themes include spirituality, discovery, learning, adventure, and freedom. A love of learning can be a large theme in your life, just as much as a passion for tennis.
The themes you uncover will help you narrow down how you can bring your purpose to life.
Take Action: Make a list of your themes, and narrow it down to 3-5 main themes in your life.
Uncover Your Motivations
When you’re incredibly passionate about something, it can be hard to distinguish between it being a life calling and being a hobby.
You need to get down to the core of a passion, or what exactly it is that hooks you.
You need to uncover your why. Start by asking what you love about __________, then ask why. Why do you love __________? What is it? How does it make you feel?
Take Action: Use this questioning strategy for your themes and core values - really get into exactly what it is that motivates you.
Keep in mind, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you enjoy something you should do it full time, especially if you’re particularly good at it. It’s almost harder if you’re particularly good at something, as many other people might expect you to turn it into something bigger.
Not every passion is meant to be followed, and not every opportunity is meant to be taken. There is nothing wrong with keeping hobbies as hobbies!
What Are Your Values?
The final section to cover in knowing yourself is to know your personal values.
Your values are the qualities you deem highly important in life, within yourself or from others.
Your personal values act as a sort of character guide, similar to your personal morals. Although you might not do so consciously, you make decisions based on your personal values.
Your values will influence nearly everything you do, as well as who you spend your time with.
Disagreements or conflicts with others are usually down to a clash or misunderstanding of values. A person who values honesty above all else may feel deeply hurt by a white lie told by a friend - more so than that friend ever expected or intended. We tend to hold our values as a measuring stick for those around us.
Knowing your values forms a personal guide and helps keep you on the right path. Your decisions, interests, friends, and social groups will be loosely based on your own values.
Take Action: Make a list of your core values and narrow it down. Examples include respect, honesty, compassion, openness…
By now you should have a clear picture of who you are and drives you. This is the first stage covered! As for the next stage; your purpose is built around what you have written. Your answers will give clues to what your purpose is, and how you can bring it to life in your own unique way.