What’s your purpose in life? Is it to survive day by day? Has it simply become about staying afloat, and making lemonade from the things that happen to you? Is it about getting all of your daily tasks taken care of, and preparing for the ones you’ll have tomorrow?
If this sounds like you, you’re far from alone. One of the most common complaints I get from my clients is that they feel as though their life has no purpose.
I don’t need to tell you that this is an absolute travesty. I’m sure you’d believe me if I told you that living this way this can even manifest itself in the form of suicidal feelings, if allowed to go on for too long.
After all, who could possibly go on for much longer, if they believe that their life has no meaning? This is why I want to talk about this today. I want to help you find your purpose right now.
It’s so easy for us to become “caught up” in everyday survival; the mundane, the “grown-up stuff”, family drama, and our job. Outside of these things, we tend to leave little to no time or energy to spare for our own dreams and desires.
Each of us still have our dreams and desires in mind, buried somewhere beneath it all, well-hidden in the shadow of our ever-growing list of priorities. The amazing part is, if we were asked…
“What did you want to be when you were little?”
“What would you do or become if you knew you could not fail?”
…We would be able to recall almost instantly. Just the very reminder of that dream can be enough to bring a smile to our faces in that moment.
Don’t believe me? Ask a friend or a date these questions. It makes for a fun and engaging conversation that might teach you something you didn’t know about them. (Besides that, they’ll enjoy having someone take an interest in them.)
How do I discover my purpose in life?
The answer to this may seem as simple as asking yourself, “What do I enjoy doing most?” Close, but not quite. There’s more thought that goes into it than that. Let me explain.
It was really the second question, “Why bother getting out of bed?” that inspired this post. When you or I open our eyes each morning, we eventually roll out of bed with ideas in our head. This happens pretty much before your feet even touch the floor.
If you’re tired, you’ll have internal dialog about that. You may hit the snooze button a few times, until you finally squint your eyes open to see that you should really, really be getting up by now; even if you don’t feel like it.
But after all of that? Without warning, the obligations kick in. I have to get dressed, scramble to get my breakfast together, then hurry off to work. Maybe, somewhere in there, you even have to get the kids ready for school, too. Oh, and don’t forget to feed the cat before you go.
Your tiring, busy work day is over. You’re sleepy, and emotionally drained. You give your spouse a weary hug and a gentle kiss, then you tuck the kids into bed.
So now, after all of this is over… What was your purpose in this day?
To help your kids get a good education, and get them through the day?
To work? To keep a roof over your family’s head?
To make sure the cat is fed, and the kitchen is clean before you go to bed?
All of this IS important. It’s just a matter of fact. That said, is it really your purpose? You’d be absolutely right if this doesn’t feel like it’s altogether true. There’s so much more to life than just surviving another day.
For one of my clients, when I asked him to write down EXACTLY why he gets out of bed, I was surprised. You know what his answer was? His answer was simple – too simple. “I have to provide for my family.”
Many of my clients answered this question quite similarly. To take care of the kids, to get that project done for my boss, or to make money.
Just as I explained to him, I will say it to you: This is not your purpose in life. It’s only just one of the many hats that you wear. It’s not what defines you.
Your purpose is not defined by what you must do to survive.
Your purpose is defined by what you must do to LIVE. Fully, happily, and with every ounce of enthusiasm you can give.
Many of my clients answered this question similarly.
“To take care of the kids.”
“To take care of my husband/wife.”
“To make money.”
At face value, these seem like fine answers. We don’t have to look much deeper to realize that these answers are too small and specific to build an entire life around for very long.
If a person’s reason to bother getting out of bed is solely to make money, take care of someone, or be a provider then we are looking at a life that isn’t fulfilling. It’s neither satisfying in the here and now, nor in the long run.
Worse yet, as soon as their circumstances change, such as a spouse leaving them or dying, children leaving the nest, or retiring from their job… they will no longer have any purpose at all!
Are you the one who controls your life, or is your life controlling you? It’s time to take back the reins.
What you need to ask yourself right now:
- -What was my purpose today? Is it what I’ve made my whole life about?
- -Did I grow today? Did my relationships grow? Has my life improved by at least 1%?
- -If I had no obligations, no family, and no job… Why else would I get out of bed?