Up until recently I had no clear aim of where I wanted to be in my life and my goal results showed that. I had my finger in too many pies so-to-speak and had a lot of projects that were each getting a small amount of my attention. If you know anything about results or productivity, you’ll know that spreading yourself too thinly is a horrible curse.
Since I realised this, I went on a path to discover my life purpose and figure out exactly what I want to do, and how I can do it. Since then life has been much clearer for me and all the pressure and doubt I had previously have all evaporated.
Today I want to take you through 3 very simple and very quick (but enjoyable) steps that will allow you to find your life purpose. Since finding mine, which I’ll share later, life has been more like running down a slope rather than struggling heavy bags up a mountain.
Before I get into how you can find your life purpose I think it would be wise if I share my take on what a life purpose actually is. Do they exist? Do they matter? Can you have multiple life purposes? I’ll try and address a few of these and more.
The Mystery of your ‘Life Purpose’
I’ve never claimed to be someone who has all the answers and I never will; therefore my take on this subject is exactly that, my take. Don’t assume that whatever I say is fact and that is how you should follow your life, I don’t encourage that at all. In fact, for the most part your life should be completely decided by you but with a little bit of people like me to help you on your journey.
To me, I don’t think there is anything set out for us when we are born that we just ‘have’ to do. I don’t think our life path or mission on earth is decided for us when we come out of our mother’s womb, mostly because it doesn’t make logical sense. Would it make sense for half the children in Africa to be born with a life purpose that involves becoming airline pilots or NASA spaceship engineers?
I’m not saying that it isn’t possible, I’m just saying that most peoples life purposes depend on where they are and the resources and opportunities they have available to them. If you live in poor communities of Africa and are struggling to survive then your life purpose is going to be different to someone brought up in the western society. So to get one thing out of the way, in my opinion there is no guided mission or set life path from birth.
Your Life Purpose should be about finding, then doing, whatever makes you happy and whatever you want to become successful at.
Playing tennis makes me happy, I enjoy it, but I don’t believe a career as a pro tennis player would be right for me and I’m not bothered about becoming successful in that area. Your life purpose can’t simply be about following the things that make you happy, definitely not. Your life purpose is about:
- Doing things you want to become successful at
- Doing things that also make you happy
- Doing things that just feel ‘right‘ when you do them
Notice how I say ‘things’ rather than ‘something’. I believe we can have multiple life purposes but should pursue the bulk of each independently
What I mean by that is that you may have multiple goals or ambitions that you want to reach, but the ‘bulk-load’ of them should be completed on their own. I wouldn’t try to follow two large “purposes” at the same time as that will lead to distraction, de-motivation and stress. Instead, get as far as you can with one purpose so that the effort involved is less than when you began and you can afford to bring another task into the mix. Until then, keep it to one.
To give an example of that before we go into the ’3 quick steps’ I would like to share my purpose. My main purpose right now is to build PluginID to be the best site it can be and hopefully one of the best in the world on this subject. Blogs take a long time to grow but once you get past a certain level, threshold if you will, you don’t have to put in as much effort to promote the site and earn money. This is the level where I would bring in a new purpose to my life if necessary or expand on the one I currently have.
Some people think your life purpose is your career, other people would strongly argue against that. These arguers tend to claim a life purpose is only a true purpose if you are doing something that can last a lifetime such as ‘helping as many people as possible’ or ‘becoming an ambassador for [anything charitable here]‘. Knowing you want to help as many people as possible is all well and good, but you still have to work out HOW you are going to be helping people.
What is life about to you? To me it’s about feeling happy, fulfilled and performing positive actions and therefore life purposes should reflect that, as do my exercises below.
Finding Your Life Purpose in 3 Steps
If you want to find your life purpose, all you have to do is follow these three steps, but you do have to follow them. You have to take action, because I’m not going to email a guesstimated life purpose to you because that wouldn’t make sense and it’s pretty absurd.
Instead, actually follow the points below and I’m sure you’ll be happier and have more clarity in your life once you’ve completed them. For me this took less than 5 minutes, for you it might take a little longer.
Step 1: Write Down all Interests / Career Options
Right now at this stage in your life, write down all the things that you could see yourself doing or areas in your life you would like to pursue. Whether it be a career in science, wanting to blog full-time, becoming an artist or anything else, just write down all your options here. Even if you don’t think they are your ‘life purpose’ but you are pursuing them or they do have a big foothold on your life then put it down.
My list goes a little something like this:
- Starting my own internet marketing company
- Blogging for and building up PluginID full-time
- Working on myself and becoming a life coach
- Becoming a public speaker in the Personal Development niche
- Doing affiliate marketing full-time for other sites
- Running multiple successful blogs
I’m sure my list differs greatly from yours, if it doesn’t then send me an email, I would love to meet you .
Write down all your possible career paths and life options, things that you could actually do for the rest of your life, your list can be as short or as long as you want. I recommend putting down too many ideas rather than too few.
Step 2: Would You Do any Forever, Can You Be the Best, Would You Like to Be the Best?
When we are looking at life purposes then you have to be willing to consider whether you would happily do something for the rest of your life. Life is infinite, we don’t know how long we have on this earth or whether there is anything else so it’s stupid if we aren’t spending time doing something we love.
One more thing you need to think about is whether you can become the best at something, and whether you would even want to be the best.
|Interest||Do It Forever?||Can Be the Best?||Want to Be the Best?|
|Starting my own IM Company||No, I prefer promoting my own content||Yes||Not Really|
|Full-time on PluginID||Yes, I could do it forever||Yes||I can be seen as an authority, that is enough for me|
|Becoming a Life Coach||Yes, I love helping people||Yes, with a lot of work||Not really|
|Being a Public Speaker in the PD Niche||Yes, if there was enough audience potential||Yes, with a LOT of work||It wouldn’t make a difference to me|
|Do Affiliate Marketing Full-Time||Possibly, it’s ever changing and there’s lots of money to be made||Yes, in time||Only for egoic reasons, it really doesn’t matter|
|Run Multiple Successful Blogs||Yes, I love blogging and the community||Yes, although it would take more staff and a few years||No, I just want to provide value|
Set yourself a table similar to this on paper and answer the questions. You should hopefully start to see the things which really matter to you and the things which don’t.
Please Note: When I refer to being the best I don’t mean that you have to be, nor do I think that is what you should necessarily strive for. There’s a lot of ego involved in wanting to be the best at something unless it would mean benefits in other areas such as income / career.
However, if you BELIEVE that you can become the best then that is motivation for you to keep doing what you are doing because you know that you have the potential to be successful. Seeing if you can be the best is about being realistic and showing yourself what is possible, whether or not you can achieve it is irrelevant.
Step 3: Choose One
Now that you’ve wrote down all your interests and possible paths, you’ve answered serious questions about each one, you should have some idea of what it is you are going to do. I don’t see a life purpose as something we are supposed to do or even have to, but if you want clarity, strong goals and a sense of direction in life then I recommend you find yours.
Looking at my list, it may or may not be clear which of these I would choose, but it’s obvious to see the ones I wouldn’t choose. For example, I don’t want to run an IM company forever and don’t really care about being the best so it’s obvious that I shouldn’t follow this line of interest. The reason I included the question on whether you can be the best is because the best tend to have the most success; it’s likely you are going to have to become an expert or authority to earn enough money to follow your purpose (where applicable).
Similar reasoning goes behind my idea to ask whether you want to become the best, people are much more likely to achieve or ‘be’ something if they really want it from the core of their being. If you can’t put 110% effort into what it is you are doing then there is someone else waiting around the corner who will, and it’s likely they’ll succeed.
Since doing this exercise in the last few months I’ve became a lot clearer on what I want to do: focus full-time on PluginID for my life. Blogging full-time might be a difficult challenge or in other words getting enough traffic to make enough money won’t be easy. However, your life purpose isn’t about what is easy, it’s about doing something you love, you would do forever and you can become the best at it or one of the best (again, where applicable).
When going through your list, take note to your answers and you should easily be able to weed out some of the options. Not only that, but watch yourself and notice how you react to certain items. There should be some item in your list that just ‘feel’ right. That’s exactly what happens when I think about running PluginID full-time, it just feels right, like it is meant to be.
If no item on your list seriously interests you then it is probably a good idea to put yourself in a lot of varied industries and see if any of them could go through these 3 steps and end up being chosen. Another good idea is to look at career options and hopefully some will make you think ‘Hmm…that sounds like something that would be cool to do’.
Whatever you choose to do simply open your life up to it as fully as possible. Don’t let limiting beliefs get in your way, you have the ability to achieve anything you can set your mind to and open the doors to. I would love to hear your life purposes in the comments.