Purpose. It’s what lights up your face, it’s what makes it a joy to get up in the morning. It’s what you are excited about sharing with others and what you enthusiastically enjoy talking about. Purpose is about knowing what fills you with energy, what your talents are and how you will use them to add value to life. Purpose is one of the Four Ps of Positive Shift that organizes the 12 practices that have been shown by positive psychology to increase happiness.
Some people just know. It’s like they were born knowing their talents and purpose. For others, it’s more difficult to identify, clarify and understand our purpose. We must fumble and stumble and feel our way as we attempt to puzzle it out. There’s no magic formula, but there are some things we can do that will unearth clues.
What are your values? Map your values to know your core values, the personal qualities that are your character strengths, and your personal values. Learn how to create a value statement, the power tool for purpose.
There are three clues to purpose that are especially powerful.
1. Notice the flow experience
What activities are you doing when you lose all track of time? The flow experience is the perfect balance of challenge and skill.
2. Look at what are you always chasing
“The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” -Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, said this in an MIT commencement speech. Read more at What are You Passionate About?
3. What you want to build
“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.” –John Gardner. Read more at Design Your Life Like an Architect.
A few more things that can help…
- Schedule quiet time for reflection.
- Write in a journal.
- Remember what you loved to do as a child.
- Create a vision board.
Tools for Purpose
How to Start a Fire is a free ebook with the best tools I’ve found for discovering passion and purpose. Find more tools to explore interests and skills, strengths and talents, personal qualities and values at List.ly and the Daily PlanIt Sticky Wiki.
- Oprah’s Find Your Passion Tool.
- The Name Your Talent Exercise from the book “Is Your Genius at Work?” by Dick Richards.
- The Pave Your Life Roadmap from Idea Sandbox.
Books on Purpose
- “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt
- “Design Your Life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans Video (25:20)
- “Path Made Clear” by Oprah Winfrey
Keep looking for those clues…