If you could pick the most essential aspect of your life that gives you a reason to get up in the morning, what would it be? Why Do you get up each morning? What Do you look forward to? What is your purpose in life?
Is it your morning cup of coffee, exercise routine, gardening chores, teaching someone how to read, volunteering at a soup kitchen or local hospital, or your daily dose of hugging and kissing?
This quest for a purpose is one we share with all the great minds over the past centuries: those philosophers, doctors, monks, street cleaners, and everyone else trying to come up with that reason to get up in the morning. Each great mind finding its understanding and definition of purpose, each finding an activity or combination that fulfills those definitions and living a purpose-filled life.
I expect my quest for purpose to continue for the rest of my life. Because every time I find my purpose answer, it evolves and changes at the same rate that life changes. And that is okay. The new evolved purpose gets me up each morning with joy, satisfaction, anticipation, and, most importantly, a sense of purpose.
They say that our life journey will end eventually, so, for me, there is no reason to stop the Journey of finding the purpose and looking forward to each day.
These eight principles can guide you and help you focus on and evolve your own goals and purpose in life:
1. Don't stop looking and defining your purpose.
Be bold; don't be afraid to define and redefine your purpose.
PURPOSE: to positively affect and change your part of the world, the lives of those you care about, and those who care about you. To be part of the butterfly effect and become a ripple of positivity and good that exudes wherever it flows.
We can define purpose from a spiritual, vocational, and social perspective. The above is my personal definition of purpose, which can apply to any of these perspectives. A definition that keeps me looking beyond where I am to where I am going. A definition that gives me hope, belief in myself and others, and a reason to get up every morning.
2. Start from the beginning.
Oddly enough, finding purpose doesn't start by finding purpose.
Finding purpose is not a treasure hunt. It can begin by thinking to yourself, what do I care the most about? Who do I love, and who loves me? How can I create and grow good in the world? Ask a friend what they have noticed about you that they believe is essential to you. What do they think your purpose is? Sometimes, friends and loved ones know us better than ourselves, especially when it comes to our bright and shiny selves, not the self. Our inner voice is always trying to correct and improve.
The family around you gives you purpose. The family you are born with, the family you create, the family you commit to for a lifetime.
Your social circle gives you purpose. That pod of people you accumulate throughout your life. That group of friends you know you can rely on through thick and thin, and they can depend on you. The group that knows that when you make a promise to yourself or them as a group or as individuals, You Will Keep It!
It may be three people; it may be 5. If you have five terrific friends, you
are very, very blessed. We should all be so lucky. You have heard that in most people's lives, there are people you are a hero to. You may or may not know them, but someone looks up to you because you are who you are. Continue to be that person they look up to. Grow that admirable person. It is an endeavor worthy of a lifetime.
3. Know what is important to you.
What is important comes in many forms; feel free to try as many forms as possible!
Postage stamps, homeless, God, family, caring for people and animals. The list is endless, but deciding what is important to you is the crucial starting point.
Now is the time to find your personal starting point. What do you enjoy in the world? What is your purpose? And, if you can't discover your purpose, then create it.
4. Apply your definition of purpose to everything you do.
If our long-term and short-term intentions and accomplishments are aligned, achieving a positive, larger purpose will become an integral part of our long, healthy, happy life.
Depending on where we are, we have an ever-present sense of purpose that guides and supports us. Immediacy can often be more important than a long-term goal or purpose. Creating focused steps along the way will keep us focused.
Having a purpose infuses our days, weeks, months and years with interest, excitement, and a sense of ongoing accomplishment, even if that purpose constantly evolves. Don't forget #1. We are not stuck. We are continually growing, evolving, and defining our purpose.
As a teen, our purpose seems to explore who we are, what we value, and what we want from life. As college graduates, we may have more goals than purpose, like graduating, getting a job, or losing weight. As adults, we finally ask, what's it all about? And we can finally identify our broader purpose. Many people's significant sources of purpose are our careers and family, religion, and volunteering, and these don't come into existence in our lives overnight. They should be anticipated and planned for however we want to define these significant human life stages.
I have heard that midlife and beyond is a crossroads of purpose. The term midlife crisis comes to mind. (Healthline). How often do we hear or feel the "best years" are behind us? They are not, the best years are now. Though it may sound trivial, I like the reminder, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present." (Goodreads)
Now is what we have. Make every now your personal Best.
While much of what we identify as our purpose will evolve and change, and old age may come with a diminishing sense of purpose and direction (sagepub), purpose tends to be the highest in adulthood. (GGSC). Research (4) suggests that greater reported purpose is related to better health and well-being outcomes for older adults. Therefore, part of your lifelong purpose should be to focus on your health and happiness. I have always liked the concept attributed to Willie Nelson, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Right now is the time to start taking better care of yourself in anticipation of enjoying all your tomorrows with those you love and those that love you.
5. Embrace the tremendous benefits of living with purpose at every stage of life.
Studies have shown that having a purpose will statistically add 8 healthier and happier years to your life. A sense of purpose is associated with many positive life benefits. This includes physical and mental health, positive well-being, and longer life.
The world is changing at a rate we could not have comprehended 15, 10, or even five years ago. Most of us could not have imagined the changes occurring, that our country could be so politically divided, and that a new war would erupt around the globe almost every week. We never anticipated that social media would take up such a large part of our lives and that AI will soon have the ability to think and reason better than most college graduates.
The benefits of living with purpose get us through the toughest of times and provide us with a sense of accomplishment, happiness, and contentment in the best of times in our lives.
6. Enjoy the different stages of purpose in our lives.
Just when we believe we know it all, when we know our purpose, life changes, and we start all over again to evolve and rediscover our purpose.
I remember graduating from college when (I thought) I knew it all. Sound familiar to anyone? I knew exactly where I was going and my life's purpose. I can't recall that purpose, but that does not matter. What matters is I believed I had the answer. And that answer guided me into the next stage.
And that is good. We must commit to life and a purpose that brings meaning to that life. But as we evolve, grow, and change, that initial purpose may get fulfilled or become less important than our next purpose. People often see their purpose dramatically change when they get married or have children or grandchildren. Things that seemed so crucial fade away entirely as others, more meaningful and pressing, take their place. All is good. Thank that purpose for providing you guidance and satisfaction and welcome the new.
Go with the change, widen your life's definition, purpose, and what you want to accomplish.
7. Get Specific:
Many people plan to make a plan when the time is right… unfortunately, that plan makes them even one step further from making a plan.
I constantly reflect on what Lily Tomlin's Bag Lady persona said, "I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize that was not specific enough."
I realize that "not being specific" applies to many of us. And, of course, as I have noted before, life is what happens while you are making "plans." Making "plans" essentially means you don't have a plan.
We all need to get specific, with a real plan to find and explore a path to our purpose. Take a first step. Take a quiet walk in a park or wander along the sidewalk in a quiet neighborhood and think about your purpose and what it will be. Visualize where you want to go with your life and write it down as you sit on a park bench or backyard steps.
Forget where you were told you should go. Make that unlimited life purpose, dreams, and accomplishments wish list. Take your time; this is a life you envision, but keep on the task. Once you have that list, outline the steps and accomplishments you will need to get there. Bingo! Plan Done! Now, work on the plan. The plan will change and evolve, but you must take the first step; you need to walk your talk. Now is the time to remember what you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/02/09/boldness/[P6]
Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.
There are always significant, life-growing things that we can focus on that will guide our way to purpose and carry forward the purpose we have already identified. If you prefer more current terminology, we all need to get granular on who you want to be or, more specifically, what exactly you would like to change and grow in your life and, thereby, in the world.
8. Keep your promises
Which is more likely, you will win the lottery or fulfill those New Year's resolutions, those promises we make to ourselves and others?
You are right; better go buy a lottery ticket now because fulfilling your New Year's resolutions, the promises we make to ourselves and others, well, there is always next year.
But identifying and creating your purpose is a promise you make to yourself and others. This is one you have to keep in some form or another. Who other than yourself can you trust to keep a promise to yourself if it is not you? Keeping promises to yourself can have a profound impact on you and your purpose in life.
Bluerisa's YOU2.0 workshop is about developing the skills to keep our resolutions and promises to ourselves and others. Our sense of accomplishment in creating and fulfilling our purpose comes from being that person that keeps those promises.
Keeping promises is a potent commitment! Be that honorable, trustworthy person who makes wise and worthy promises and keeps them. Not a promise to a trivial purpose, but to something, someone, worthy of promising to.
Take your time to identify the kinds of promises you want to make, a crucially important endeavor and commitment all its own.
LIVE LONGER, HEALTHIER, AND HAPPIER WITH PURPOSE.
Effect and change your part of the world, the lives of those you care about, and those who care about you. To be part of the butterfly effect and become a ripple in life that exudes positivity and good wherever it flows.
Identify, believe in, and commit to your purpose. Practice these Eight guiding principles as you pursue your Journey To Purpose.
Now is the time to think hard to get "specific" as to who you are, who you are becoming, and how that all connects to the reason or reasons that motivate you to wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and make a difference.
Let the excitement and worthy challenges of life and your role in it begin! Always stay on your Journey To Purpose!