A life lived on purpose is the most powerful of all." - Gary Keller
What is the meaning of life? I would bet my bottom dollar that you have asked this question at some point after grinding day-in and day-out without any sense of fulfillment. Despite our best intentions, life does happen fast. Before we know it life has either happened to us or for us which inevitably causes us to lose sight of ourselves.
I experienced this several years ago after losing the first post-undergraduate career job I thought I wanted. I was so conditioned to survive that I mindlessly pursued this job for the pay. My habit of survival caused my life's purpose, by default, to become the pursuit of money because that's what I was being driven by. The universe must have felt my uneasiness with this lifestyle because I was let go from my position. I had spent so much time and energy working against my identity that this sudden life change left me feeling ill-equipped and unanchored.
After giving myself a short amount of time to sulk, I chose to use what seemed to be a setback as an opportunity to step-up from a life I dreaded to one that I had dreamed of pursuing. I looked at the free time I now had as a gift. I used my time wisely by rediscovering who I was with these three questions. Little did I know at the time, that this exercise would be my starting point to help me find my purpose at any new chapter in my life.
Unfortunately, my sense of aimlessness is not uncommon. Whichever point you may be at in your life, knowing who you are helps you determine where you want to go which inevitably dictates the actions you choose to take to get you closer to your goals. Your chosen actions are essentially the answer to life’s golden question. To make this journey a little easier, here are three things to keep in mind when you begin to discover your life’s meaning:
Block Out The Noise
The biggest distraction is the many opinions of others. Whether those opinions come from family, friends, professors, employers, or subconsciously via social media, they are present and they negatively affect your ability to quiet your mind. This is not the same as seeking out wise counsel from trusted friends, family, or mentors. The former can be overwhelming which leads to confusion. The latter helps you gain clarity which will get you closer to your goals. I encourage you to make a conscience effort to be mindful of who, what, and where you receive information from. It is absolutely necessary to guard your mind and heart as you work to identify your purpose. Your voice alone is the only one that matters.
Be Brutally Honest With Yourself
Let’s face it: the truth hurts. It is difficult to face inadequacies head-on. The truth is also often buried under layers of lies that are unknowingly accepted over the years so it can become overwhelming to unlearn all of those false truths. This can be frustrating and disappointing however the old adage, “the truth will set you free” holds true in this case (no pun intended). In order to grow, and help others, it is essential to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Choosing to accept the not so pretty parts, working on them, and building upon your strengths is the courageous first step that will help you make better decisions in your life. This skill will also help you be able to strategically position others coming up under you to succeed because your level of discernment will be heightened. The truth is a win-win so search for it and accept it.
Persevere Through The Waiting
Patience and perseverance are one in the same. They are defined as peacefully accepting difficult situations without the expectation of a deadline for its ending. This is a hard pill to swallow but the most important skill to keep in mind when looking to discover your life’s meaning. This is the point with which you will develop the discipline that will be needed in your next level. It is the point with which you will (uncomfortably) outgrow old habits to make room for the new habits. The waiting is also where your character will be shaped, tested, and matured. When you are discovering you purpose, the seeds you plant for your fulfillment may not be ready for harvest until several seasons later. It is important to be at peace with this and enjoy the in-between time. After all, this is where the real magic happens.
Living with your purpose working as your life navigator is the surest way to discover your personal power. The first step of one thousand miles begins by honing in on your own voice, being absolutely honest with yourself, and developing the patience to persevere when the fruits of your labor do not seem to be blossoming. Intentional living is possible for those who take the time to uncover it. How will you choose to answer life’s golden question through your actions?