“Having a purpose is the difference between making a living and making a life.” —Tom Thiss
Have you discovered your purpose—why you’re here, what you’re meant to do? How do you know when you have? And why do you need to find it?
Because it’s where you find fulfillment and satisfaction. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and makes time fly. “Your purpose may be to be an incredible parent, teacher or nurse, or to bring joy to people through the arts,” writes well-being author James McWhinney. “Your purpose is highly important regardless of the size or scale of reach—every single person has an important role to play.”
Some people seem to be born knowing what brings them joy and meaning. Most of us, though, need help figuring it out for ourselves. Here are 5 questions to get started:
1. What makes me feel happy and alive?
Your purpose is often related to what you love to do. It might—or might not—be connected to your career, or you might find it while volunteering or in your favorite hobby. Think about what you most look forward to and consider how you can expand those activities into more of your life.
2. What am I good at?
Don’t be so humble! We all have talents and skills—what are yours? You might have the ability to build things, the patience to be a mentor or the vision of a leader. You’ll find more success in using natural strengths than in trying to get rid of your self-perceived weaknesses.
3. If income didn’t matter, what would I be doing?
This question often leads directly to the discovery of your purpose. The answer can point you in the direction of your true happiness. Maybe you work in a large corporation but dream of being an entrepreneur. Don’t let yourself get stuck; start taking small steps to reach your goal.
4. How can I add greater value to the world?
When you take time to become self-aware, you can see where to use your knowledge and skills. You might be passionate about helping the elderly, building a new playground for the neighborhood or changing laws in your city. Each of us has unique interests that can be used to make the world a better place.
5. What will be my legacy?
Your purpose in life can affect how you will be remembered; it’s an opportunity to leave your mark on the world. Ask yourself how you can make a positive difference in the lives of others.
When you begin to consider your purpose, you are on your way to the happiness and enthusiasm that will enrich your life, and the lives of others. Your natural focus will drive you to reach your goals—and you will become successful, on your own terms. Why not start today?