What is Purpose?
People often climb to the top of the mountain only to discover that they’ve climbed the wrong mountain, sometimes without really understanding how they got there. Don’t want to end up at the top of the wrong mountain? The key to getting to the right place is to know, fundamentally, who you are and what your life’s purpose is. There are lots of places to discover this. For example, look to see what you’ve been passionate about in the past. Passion is often a measurement of purpose. This is not always the case, though. Some people feel more at peace when they know their life’s purpose. For the most part, looking back on our life at the times when we felt the most alive and energized can show us a common thread. There, you’ll probably start to find your purpose.
To “live on purpose” requires the following three things:
Have a spiritual practice so you can hear the deeper wisdom beyond your ego.
- Know what is unique about you that has been formed by all of your life experiences, including that which you can celebrate and that which you can grieve.
Be of service with your gifts.
Now, whether you know your purpose or not, it’s worth taking the time to explore the idea deeper. Sometimes, a Dream University ® Certified Dream Coach ® will recommend that people go on a passion quest. A passion quest is where someone takes a period of time (a day, a weekend, a week, a month, a year) where they get their antenna up and pay attention to what they love, what matters to them, what moves them, etc. Even beyond that, they seek answers to the questions, ”What do you need to say no more to?”, “What are you done with?”, “What are you done complaining about?”, “What’s sucking the life out of you?”, and “What’s out of integrity with your heart and soul?” As we say “no more” and “no, thank you,” we can start to say, “now what?” and “yes” to what matters most to us, leading to further development of our life’s purpose.
When you’re standing in your purpose, the quality of your dreams and the quality of your life will actually change. This is literally about turning your life right side up so that someday soon when you open your calendar or your scheduling device, what you will see are the activities that are moving you forward to the dreams that are the expression of your purpose. It’s such an important foundational piece to getting to the top of the right mountain.
What is YOUR Purpose?
Our purpose is never very far away from us, so know that you don’t need to look far. It actually resides right inside of you. Consider this: an acorn is designed to become a mighty oak tree just as you are designed to grow into the best possible you. So what were you uniquely seeded for? We all have particular gifts and talents that will help us to leave our unique mark to make the world a better, more beautiful place.
There are a couple of hints that can help with this process. First, the answer is already inside of you. At a universal level, we all have the same purpose, which is to love and be loved. But life formed you in a very special and unique way that makes you, you. So, in addition to our shared purpose, you also have your own unique purpose. Second, keep in mind that your purpose could be anything that gets your juices flowing. In fact, the broader you state it the better, because the broader your purpose, the more room there is for passion and possibility. If you’re concerned that your purpose is not going to be worthy enough, big enough, or decent enough, here are some examples of what others have offered when asked to complete the sentence, “My life’s purpose is…”
“…to live life as an adventure.”
- “…to create joy.”
- “…to be of service.”
- “…to make a difference.”
- “…to go beyond.”
- …”to play.”
As seen with these examples, it’s okay to have a broad purpose. It can be anything that touches your heart and makes a difference to you.
The Relationship between Purpose & Happiness
Many of us have been getting bogged down with the daily ins and outs of our jobs. Dream University ® Certified Dream Coaches ® hear this kind of complaint quite often. People are working at a job just for the money, and what they’re doing doesn’t make them feel proud or happy. Perhaps this is the biggest sign that they have lost their sense of purpose. Are you turned on or are you so busy reacting to the needs of daily life that you’re happy just to be getting through the day?
Most of us spend our lives reacting and responding to clocks and calendars, paying bills and putting out fires. It’s hard to “live on purpose” when life revolves around daily crises and you’re always feeling overwhelmed. By taking the time to define your purpose, you’ll open up more time and space, have more energy, and be more focused. Then, there will be a clear path for your life to change for the better.
A Simple Exercise around Purpose
Sit in silence or meditate for 15 to 20 minutes and think of three times in your life when you felt really passionate, alive, energized or engaged, and see if you can find a common thread between them. It’s often something simple and broad, so try not to overthink it. For example, my purpose is to believe. Write about what you came up with, or even create a list of those “alive” moments to help you continue shaping your purpose long-term.