By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Knowing your own personal purpose gives meaning and significance to your life. Having an intensely-felt purpose gives you powerful motivation to achieve whatever you desire. Discovering your purpose grounds you, sustains you, excites you, gives you a sense of destiny, empowers you, and guides your behavior in support of creating a lifestyle of true greatness.
In the book, “The Power Of Purpose,” author Richard Leider writes:
“Purpose is that deepest dimension within us—our central core or essence—where we have a profound sense of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going…a discipline to be practiced day in and day out… Purpose serves as the glue that holds the various aspects of our work together. It gives our work greater focus and energy. It serves as an inner guide by which we can judge appropriate responses to events, people, places, and time. Purpose is the passion that shapes our work life.”
Former president of Apple Canada, David Rae, conducted research in the Young Presidents Organization, and wrote, “If a man has a `why’ for living he can stand any`how’.” Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” What are you willing to sacrifice everything for?
To assist you in discovering your personal purpose, begin by asking yourself a few questions: Do you have a clear picture in your mind of where you are going and where you want to end up in life? Have you set personal goals and targets for your own growth? Have you written out a specific path to track your progress toward goal attainment? Do you have an effective set of personal values by which you desire to live? Are you aware of the time-honored principles and laws of achievement? Do you take the time to regularly reflect and contemplate your direction? Do you know your own gifts, talents, weaknesses and strengths? What social roles do you currently play…spouse, parent, employee, etc.? How will the world be different because of what you have contributed to it?
Ron Jenson, Ph.D., in his book, “Make A Life, Not Just A Living,” offers some guidelines for discovering your purpose. Some of these include fully writing down your personal answers to the following questions:
1. Do you believe you have a personal destiny? What is your intuitive sense about that?
2. What are your unique gifts, abilities, and skills that indicate this sense of destiny?
3. What sources or activities give you the greatest sense of satisfaction? Can you see how they might fit into your destiny?
4. What is your innermost desire? What makes you happy to think about achieving?
5. Are your working toward the desire you described in the last question?
Enjoy the search and discovery of your own personal purpose. It may be small or large. But it will always be beneficial to your happiness about being alive!
Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life coach. He serves on the faculty of the International University of Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams) the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.