Jake* is a 3rd-year teacher. From a young age, he knew that he wanted to coach football. When he was a freshman in college, he got his coaching certification, volunteered with the high school football program, and attended various coaching clinics. By the time he was a sophomore, he was an assistant, part-time football coach and mentored students at the middle school level. He continued building relationships with the high school football coaches and administrators and took on additional coaching responsibilities while he was a full-time student. Jake knew his life purposes and that helped inform nearly every decision he made! (*Jake is based on a real person, but details have been changed).
Most of us aren't like Jake. We don't really know what we want to do with our lives. I, for instance, originally wanted to be a teacher. While my career path has veered from that a lot, I still love training and teaching and learning! What if you don't know exactly what your life purpose is? I think finding your life's purpose can be like opening a gift! It keeps unfolding and offering up new insights as you open the gift. "What do I want to do with my life?" "What am I most passionate about?" "How can I get paid for doing what I love?"
Reframing Your Life Purpose
The name "Life Purpose" itself does a disservice. Do we really have only one purpose in life? Probably not. Instead, what if we asked ourselves how we can give our life meaningfulness and happiness.
What Your Life Purpose Can Do
Purpose helps guide your life. It can put things into perspective and provide meaning. It can be the foundation for small, everyday behaviors that can guide your big-picture goals. It can help steer you in how you want to be in this world. It can be a beacon when things get rough. Let's get curious about seeking our purpose. Whether you are looking for a dream job or contemplating a cross country move, grab a pen and piece of paper, and ask yourself these questions.
How do I want to be today?
Do I want to be focused or productive or resourceful or solutions-focused or efficient?
Do I want to feel calm or positive or energetic?
Do I want to manage interruptions better?
Do I want to manage stress better?
How do I want to be in three months?
What would I like to nurture in my life?
What am I grateful for?
What would I like to let go of?
How do I feel when I show up as my best self?
What do I get lost in?
What brings me great joy?
What activities do I get lost in and lose track of time?
What would I spend time doing do if there were no internet, computer, social media, TV, Netflix?
What do I love learning about?
Discovering your life's purpose isn't about having a definitive answer or even knowing that you want to be a football coach when you are eight years old. It's about finding meaning and perspective and joy.
“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are ultimately to be at peace with themselves. What humans can be, they must be.” Abraham Maslow