There are no rigid formulas for how to reflect about purpose, but there are many helpful techniques to assist you. Here are seven mind-changing ideas that have brought powerful results to many people over the years. Use them to see what you can discover about yourself.
- Think about this sentence for a moment: “From family and friends who knew me when I was very young, I have heard that my ‘special gift’ is __________________.” How have these “gifts” persisted in your life?
- Imagine being on your deathbed, still clear and coherent, when your best friend drops in to visit you. Your friend asks, “Did you give and receive love?” “Were you authentically you?” “Did you make a small difference in the world?” How did you answer the questions?
- Get out a calculator and do some “life math.” Multiply your age × 365 (____). Then, subtract that number from 30,000 (____), an average life expectancy. Once you get clear that you have (____) more times to wake up, it might inspire you to live more courageously now. How do you feel about how you are spending your most precious currency—your time?
- What mood do you wake up with most mornings? Do you resist getting up or do you get out of bed with energy and purpose? Think about the way you wake up, these days, and you will learn something about your life’s purpose.
- Write the question, “What are my gifts?” on five index cards. Give them to five people who know you well and ask them to write their response to the question on the card. Put them all together in a place where you can see them. Who are the five people that you will select? What theme or thread do you anticipate that you will discover?
- Curious? What are you most curious about? Here are some clues that will help you answer:
- Time passes quickly when you’re spending time on this.
- It’s so natural you can’t help spending time on it!
- You enjoy it so much, your worries disappear when you’re thinking about it or experiencing it.
- A bad day doing this is better than a good day doing most other things.
- Who are your models and mentors? Ask yourself who is really leading the kind of life and doing the kind of work that you envision in the next phase of your life? Initiate a courageous conversation to find out more about them.
Reflecting on these seven questions, journal your thoughts about what your purpose might be. For the full, expanded exercise, check out The Power of Purpose . This blog post is an excerpt from The Power of Purpose.
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