Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose

Welcome back to Life Compass!  I just started sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. So far, we’ve covered:

      Today I’ll share Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose.

      First, what do I mean when I talk about Life Purpose?  Others may refer to it as a mission or calling.  It is the overarching theme of your life, which blends your interests, goals, passions, dreams together.  It is built on life experiences of the past, and points you toward your future.  And it becomes your guide, and a benchmark, to help you weigh future decisions.

      How do you identify and clarify your Life Purpose?   Grab some paper and a pen, or sit at the computer and take a good look at yourself to understand your personality, how you work with others, and what motivates you.

      What are your unique skills and abilities?  What are you good at?  But don’t stop there.  Sadly, many people do stop there when they make career decisions, and that’s why 80% of Americans end up feeling unfulfilled in their work.

      Experts tell us the average person is probably good at 100 things.  For fun, take a few minutes and make a list of all the things you’re good at.  You might be surprised at how big your list is!

      After you’ve written down your unique skills and abilities, think about your personality tendencies.  Are you an introvert or extrovert?  Do you take action immediately or procrastinate?  Are you extremely organized or a clutterer.  Do you get things done, or do you leave projects half-completed?  Are you self-motivated or do you need outside accountability?

      Next, what are your values, your dreams and passions?  Your values are the non-negotiable things or principles that are most important to you.  We’ll take a more in-depth look at your values in a future post, but for now, just jot down whatever comes to your mind.  For example, your values might include:  being debt free, being home with your family at least four nights a week, growing in your faith/spirituality, maintaining personal health.  You get the idea.

      You already took the time to think about your dreams when you started your Master Dream List, which we covered in Pillar #1.  Of all those dreams you wrote down, which are the ones that might shape your life’s direction?  Write those down here.

      Passions are interests or causes that are important to you. The things you’d give your life for.  Maybe your passion is to help at-risk youth stay in school, or you want to improve the lives of people living in sub-Saharan Africa, or maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom whose passion is to encourage other moms to stay at home at raise their kids.  List all the passions and interests that come to your mind.  And you can always add more later.

      The more you take the time to understand yourself, the more confidence you can have about your life’s purpose.  And this understanding and confidence then leads to clear focus regarding your Life’s Purpose.

      For extra credit, now that you’ve taken a good look at yourself, ask yourself how others see you.  Then, if you’re bold enough (and I think you are), ask a good friend, spouse, co-worker how they see you.  We can eliminate blind spots in our life, improve the quality of our work, and strengthen our relationships when we take the time to ask trusted friends how they see us.

      It is through this process of introspection, of taking a good look at ourselves and how we’re uniquely made, that we’re able to understand and clarify our Life’s Purpose.

      Your next step is to write out a first draft of your Life Purpose.  You can just write down the first thoughts that come to your mind, then refine and edit it later.

      Here are some suggestions to help you as you write your Life Purpose:

      1. Identify the highest priority roles you fulfill in your life (for example:  at home, at work, at church, in your community).
      2. Include the values and ideals that are important to who you want to be in the future (for example:  excellence, continuous improvement, generosity, goal achievement).
      3. Summarize the most important long-term goals and achievements you wish to obtain.

      Once your first draft is written, you can feel free to edit, refine, or synthesize it a bit.  Then let it sit for  a while.  In future posts, we’ll cover some more tips that will help you refine your Life Purpose further.

      That’s Pillar #3 – Clarify Your Life Purpose.  Tomorrow we’ll cover Pillar #4 – Evaluate Your Current  Reality.


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