Everybody deserves to experience a purpose-filled life.
Do you find yourself coming to a crossroads? Does it feel like your life, your love, or your work doesn’t have the importance that it used to?
This is a common feeling we all have during our lives. During our journey to living a fulfilling life, we all come to at least one moment where we wonder if what we’re doing is worth it. We may wonder why we’re living the way we are or we might focus on the lack of impact we feel like we’re having on the world.
As I see it, there are two responses you can take toward these questions.
The first response is to move on. You could quit your job. You could end the relationship. You could pick up everything you have and move to a new city. Sometimes moving on is the only way you can truly regain the purpose you’re searching for. Certain phases of life end and you have to be willing to pack it all up and start looking for the next adventure.
The other response to this situation is actively choosing to create a sense of purpose. Creating or recreating a sense of purpose can be hard work, but the pay off can bring a complete 180-degree turn in the way you view your life and the things within it. This is the process I want to focus on in this article. So, without further ado, here are some tips for creating a renewed life of purpose:
Become Very Clear on Your Values
Creating a fulfilling life requires you to be doing things that meet a few of your core values. This requires you to be aware of what your core values are.
Make a list of values you feel are most important. What ideas bring a smile to your face? Is it giving to local charities, spending time with family, or creating a company where everyone can be themselves? Maybe it’s all 3. Once you have your list, try to narrow it down to the 5 most important values. How are you currently incorporating these values into your life? How could you act more in line with them?
There are often little changes we can make in the way we do things that can make a big difference in how we feel about the situation. Take the example of a car salesman. He has one job which is to sell cars to customers, but there are many ways he can go about it. He could focus on trying to manipulate customers, persuading them to buy the most expensive car available even though it may not meet their needs. On the other hand, he could focus completely on the customer, working to find the car that will bring them the most satisfaction at an affordable cost. These are just 2 examples of how a salesman might approach his job. With each new approach, there is a different value driving the salesman’s decision and his job satisfaction will be greatly influenced by the approach he decides to use.
Nearly every job you can think of has multiple ways of approaching it. If you know what values are most important to you, you can find the approaches that will be most fulfilling.
Determining your core values is not a one-time thing either. You may start something for one reason, but find there is another reason pushing you to continue. We all go through shifts in value and purpose during our life. It is your responsibility to be aware of these shifts so that you can change your mindset and environment accordingly.
Determine Your Strengths
Once you have a good understanding of the values you want to pursue each day, you can begin to evaluate your strengths. Feeling a sense of purpose often requires us to feel like we’re doing a good job. We must believe that we are more effective at the task than the average person would be. Thus, doing work that centers around your strengths is quite important.
There are many ways to determine your strengths. The most straightforward way is to ask yourself what things you feel very comfortable doing. If you find you can give a presentation without the slightest bit of doubt then public speaking is likely a strength of yours. Maybe you find that understanding math or science comes a little easier for you, that might be the strength you want to pursue. Whatever you ultimately decide, it should be something you believe you could accel at with a little bit of training.
If you struggle to determine what things you’re good at, your friends and family can be an amazing resource. They know you better than anyone and they have seen different things you’ve tried throughout the years. Ask them what things they think you do well. Was there a point during your childhood that you did something that amazed them? They will likely be able to come up with a few strengths that you may have overlooked or forgotten about.
Perhaps one of the few things that all humans share is the sense of joy that comes from service. Giving and helping others must be a part of what you do if you want to experience true purpose. Luckily, there are so many opportunities to serve people.
If you’re selling something to people, approach them with the goal of helping them. You aren’t trying to rip them off, instead you think your product can truly make their life better. Maybe it will give them more free time or the opportunity to go on a trip somewhere. Climbing a mountain, traveling the world, or enjoying a good video game all require certain equipment. Even things as commonplace as a dishwasher or a washer and dryer save people a lot of time. Instead of cleaning, they can spend time with family or guests. The best form of selling doesn’t focus on taking money from people, it focuses on giving them time or freedom that is worth their money.
For maintenance and custodial workers, hospital employees, state workers, etc., service is at the heart of what you do. Our lives would be much more difficult if we didn’t have your work to keep things running smoothly. Without well-kept roads, efficient hospitals, or clean buildings, life becomes much more frustrating for everyone. These are essential services that it’s hard to picture our lives without.
Performers, athletes, and various celebrities provide us with a sense of entertainment. We have had a few comedians on campus, many of them have only been doing comedy for a few years, but I have thoroughly enjoyed each performance I’ve gone to. They may not be really well-known, but they made my night better. Like any good service, they made my life better.
Nearly every job you can think of provides an important service for someone somewhere. The key is finding a way to embrace that service you’re providing and maybe even go above minimum requirements to help someone you don’t have to. When you search for opportunities to help others, you usually end up finding there are at least one or two chances each day.
A sense of purpose is one of the most powerful feelings people can experience. It’s something worth creating. The 3 most important factors to living a purposeful life are following your highest values, doing work that capitalizes on your strengths, and providing a service to people. Combine all 3 and you’re well on your way to finding that purpose you’ve been missing.