Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
09.14.2016 by Dr Bob Wright
When life becomes challenging or even boring, we can become disheartened and unfocused—and it’s often because we’ve somehow lost our sense of purpose.
What is Life Purpose, Really?
What is purpose? It’s a big, big question. The simplest answer? Purpose is the wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all of us reach our full potential.
Purpose is the heart of the matter—it’s the “why” behind what we do. Our purpose summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing with our lives. Purpose is the answer to questions like, “What is this all for?” and “Is this it? Is this all there is?”
To be successful in life, we have to find our own purpose. Without it, we’re just floating around…lost. We’re going through the motions; we’re checked out and zoned out. We’re filling our lives with soft addictions and pacifiers. Maybe we’re finding little successes along the way, but without a true sense of purpose, we get the sense we aren’t quite there.
When you feel lost or unfocused (or simply “blah”), check your sense of purpose. Maybe you’re pretty fulfilled at work, but your marriage has lost the fire. Maybe your marriage is okay, but you think your social life is lacking and you dread your job.
Purpose is something that’s got to exist in all areas of our life. It transcends your entire being. It’s one of those things: you’ve either got it and it spills over into all facets of your life or you’ve lost it and it starts to suck the meaning and fulfillment out of all of your activities.
Life Purpose: The Big Picture
A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. It’s your vision—the whole picture. Your purpose is the summation of what you’re working toward.
For some, it’s connecting with God or religion, or finding a higher power. For others, it’s about making a difference, connecting with humanity, and feeling secure that we’re working from a place where we help all those we touch. For many of us, it’s all those things and more. Purpose goes even deeper than just participating in a religion or giving to charity; it’s more than just finding success in your work and having all of the checks on your “bucket list” ticked off. It’s MORE.
At first blush, “finding our life purpose” sounds like it’s all about personal satisfaction and how we individually want to be fulfilled. But true purpose is beyond our own ego and super-ego. It seeps into and goes beyond the essence of our actions and personality.
Our purpose is about the way we are fulfilled, but it’s through the fulfillment of others and our role in the lives of those around us. It’s about elevating those around us and bringing out their best—which in turn, brings out our own best self.
If we think of a projector shining a concentrated light through film onto a screen, life purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.
It’s about becoming visionary leaders. It’s about being the light to those around us.
True transformational leaders have vision, but their singular goal isn’t to simply achieve that vision. It’s to embrace and share their vision with those around them. It’s to listen, connect and engage with those they come in contact with to help them realize their vision as well.
Transformers live purposefully and with intent. They don’t meander through their days; they are on purpose—to follow and fulfill their yearning to learn, grow, love and be loved, to matter, to make a difference. Transformers care so deeply about living with intent and pursing their purpose that they can preserve through extreme hardship. Their yearning is so powerful that they feel compelled to engage…To develop the sense of mission and purpose, dedicate yourself to follow your deeper yearning—substantial, real, here-and-now yearning—and your purpose will emerge. Purpose is not an escape and rarely is it a charity or cause alone—it’s a way of living. It is something that is a unique expression of you.
Most of us wait, not feeling fulfilled until we accomplish things—rather than experiencing fulfillment in every moment and in every situation. By orienting to purpose, we see greater possibility in every situation and stop waiting to live and love, because we are living and loving our fullest toward our highest, honoring life in all its manifestations.
Purpose provides the focus for the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, which automatically leads us to even greater accomplishment.
How to Unlock Your Life Purpose
Now you’re probably thinking, “Well that sounds all well and wonderful, but okay, how do we DO it? How do I unlock MY purpose?”
To find your purpose, you have to truly understand yourself. You have to explore your yearnings. You have to look into the history of where your innermost desires and the longings of your heart come from and identify them. Do you want to be loved? To be respected? To be heard? What is your truth?
We need to dive in and explore social and emotional intelligence to identify our yearnings. It takes work. Our selves are sometimes our greatest mystery. We can be so aware of those around us, the world we live in (current events, politics, the financial climate), and the state of our social circle—and yet, we might be blind to what’s truly driving us. We might not understand our capacity for emotional intelligence and how to unlock our hidden superpowers of empathy and understanding.
Is it simple to gain a deeper understanding of yourself? No. It can take years of work and growth. It can mean facing some hard truths and working through the baggage and limiting beliefs you’ve been carrying around and laboring under. It means opening yourself up and starting to change and grow.
It means pushing yourself WAY outside your comfort zone and into a whole new world of possibility.
The first step of the journey is to WANT to change—to have a desire for more. By simply wanting to find your purpose, you’re already opening yourself to the possibility that there’s a greater answer and more to unlock than meets the eye.
So start today! Roll up your sleeves Engage in the world around you! It’s never too late to find your purpose, unlock your hidden yearnings, and lead your best life!
Ready to start down the path to finding YOUR purpose and unlock your best, most amazing self? Learn more at our next Foundations Weekend Training held several times every year at the Hilton Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.
Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.