Figuring out Purpose for Personal Growth
The most important ingredient of personal growth and positive transformation is finding clarity on one’s purpose. My purpose wakes me up and springs me out of bed. I’m eager and excited to start my day as opposed to the days when I felt aimless with a lack of drive and vigor.
When I embarked on my Holistic Lifestyle Certification years ago with The Chek Institute, I worked 1:1 with founder Paul Chek. His first fundamental question to me was, “What is your legacy?” I thought it was an odd question at first, but then as Paul explained that knowing my legacy and getting cIear on what I want to leave behind is a great way for me to understand the “whole picture” and focus my attention on my purpose in life. Working on my purpose was exciting and was also life changing. I reevaluated the choices I was making and it generated momentum moving forward with the parts of my life that were more meaningful.
A life purpose is simply your life’s message. It is the message you wish to drive into the world during your existence on Earth
Developing a clear sense of personal purpose is a necessary ingredient of a full, impactful life. Finding your purpose is a continuous process to better understand what you’re best at, what you love, what your values are and how you can use those qualities to serve the needs of others. While there’s no one pathway for discovering your life’s purpose, there are many ways you can gain deeper insight into yourself and a larger perspective on what it is that you have to offer the world.
German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!).
Discovering your purpose
The first step is to understand what you want from life. Although the answer is unique for each of us, there is a general answer underlying our responses, a common canvas and palette awaiting our brush strokes. At the most basic level, we all want to be happy and fulfilled. The purpose process, then, is a series of questions you reflect on throughout your life. Day by day, you affirm your worthiness to lead a happy life and your ability to make a positive impact on the world. You endeavor to discover what is most powerful, most motivated and most moral in you and seek to use that to serve the needs of others.
Thinking about your life map helps you do the best you can. If you don’t have some sort of life map, you end up wandering around hopelessly lost. Some people chart the road better than others.
What is the place of a human being in this world when you’re young? When you’re old? How do you live a full and meaningful life? Each of us answers those questions differently.
When you are on the path of purpose, you continuously ask:
What are my strengths? When you can honestly assess your talents, you can harness that which is most powerful in you in the service of your purpose.
What are my passions? When you know what you love, you can focus on those activities that are intrinsically motivating, freeing a psychological energy within you that will lead not to burnout, but ever increasing excitement for your work.
What are my values? When you’ve carefully reflected on the type of person you hope to become by thinking through your moral standard or guidelines for life, you can call on that standard in times of decision and thereby continuously live into your vision of your ideal self.
How can I be of service? By viewing the world with eyes wide open and asking how you can apply what is best in you to the needs of others, you have great impact
Here is a Joyful Approach DIY guide to help you get clear on your personal purpose:
- What makes you come alive?
The word inspire comes from the Latin, meaning “to breathe life into.” Accordingly, when you are working toward goals that inspire you, it makes you feel more alive. It’s about connecting with what you’re passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on endeavors that put a fire in your belly, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can. When you really know what you love, you can focus on those activities that are intrinsically motivating, as moving energy within you will lead to increasing excitement for your work.
1.Write down three projects you have really enjoyed. What did you most love about them?
2.What are your hobbies? What do you most love about them?
3.What were your interests as a child? What did you most love about them?
4.What issues get you excited when you talk about them?
5.When do you feel most energized?
6.Which moments do you love most in romantic, friendly and familial relationships?
7.If you didn’t have to worry about money and you were assured success, how would you want to spend your days?
8.Without worrying about how realistic they are, what are 10 activities, trips, adventures you want to enjoy in the next decade? Think about the process rather than just the outcome.
- What are your innate strengths?
When people are in their element, they are not only more productive, but they add more value and enjoy more personal and professional fulfillment.
What are the things you’ve always been good at?
- What subjects were your strongest in school? What element(s) of the subject came easiest?
- Write down three accomplishments or successes you’ve had. What strengths did you use to accomplish them?
- When do you feel most confident? What strengths are you using?
- What do people thank you for?
- What strengths routinely show up in feedback at work?
- What are your hobbies? What strengths do you use in them?
- What are your strengths in a romantic relationship? In friendships? With your family?
- Ask five people who know you well from a variety of contexts what your top 3 strengths are. What do they say? (sometimes we can’t see what others see)
Keeping in mind what is most powerful, motivated and moral within you, how do you feel most compelled to help others? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Are there opportunities you can pursue that will continue to open doors for you as you continue the process of discovery? What can you do to help better uncover what you’re good at, what you love and what you value?
What are the most important fundamental values you would want to pass on to your children? What is most important to you in life?
1.How do you like to be treated? How do you think people should be treated in general?
2.How do you act when you are at your best?
3.How are you in darker moments? How would you change your actions when you’re not in the heat of the moment? How do you want others to care for you in those moments?
4.What big assumptions do you hold about the way people are?
5.List three people that you particularly admire. What is one quality about each you think all people should emulate.
The essence of a legacy is how we are remembered. Our legacy naturally intrigues us. It’s perfectly understandable that we would want to know how the world will remember us after we’re gone. How do people see us? What do we want our lasting impression to be when someone meets us for a brief moment or for a longer encounter. What do we want to be remembered for? Is it for our purpose, our looks, our smile, our courage, our laugh, our ambition, our actions, our negative attitude?
What lasting impression have we made with each encounter we make?
What do we want to be known for? Creativity, caring, thoughtfulness, activeness, intelligence.
Knowing your legacy can help with decision making. It can help you stay on track and help you be the person you want to be.
Photos by Nihura Monteil