What is Your Purpose?
The past few years I have read three books that have helped me with time management. They’ve helped me, because they have helped me determine what my life purpose is. After I got that figured out, it was easier to streamline my life to line up with my purpose in life and get rid of the things that didn’t help me achieve that.
Although the three books were all different and unique in their own ways, they all had common denominators in living your life with purpose and productivity.
What do you like to do?
First, ask yourself what it is that you like to do. When you have free time, what activities do you gravitate toward?
Me? If I have free time I gravitate towards reading books or writing. I love to read both fiction and educational books. As far as writing, that consists of blogging, writing articles for other women and/or teens, spiritual-related stuff, and even some fiction dabbling. In addition to my reading and writing I love to garden and be in tune with nature. I like to learn about natural living and experiment with natural foods and recipes, as well as cleaning products, beauty products, and essential oils.
For you, the reader, your free time may look entirely different. Perhaps it’s meeting friends for a cup of coffee and then spending the rest of the day shopping. Maybe it’s an afternoon of watching movies. Maybe some of you are gifted with artistic ability and free time is consumed with painting or sculpting. Or, perhaps you are a musician and you can think of nothing better than to sit at your musical instrument and compose new music for an afternoon.
Another way to ask this question is to ask, “What makes your heart beat faster and what makes you feel a warm feeling of contentment in your heart?”
What are you good at?
Next, evaluate what you are good at. Where does your strength lie?
Again, for me, it’s in expressing myself via the written word. I’m also very good at stepping into other people’s shoes and feeling their emotions, happy or sad. I am strong at seeing both sides to an argument and being able to remain objective without getting caught up on one side or the other. I fall into helping those who are down and out, as easily as breathing, and without even trying, I attract teen and college age women to me, who are always seeking advice.
What about you? Are you great at leading a team? Do others instinctively look to you for direction and instruction on a project? Are you naturally gifted in the area of public speaking? When you speak, do the words flow easily and smoothly and do people feel motivated after they listen to you? Are you a visionary? Can you see things that no one else can see? You’re gifted with insight and creativity that others struggle to find. Maybe you’re amazingly talented at designing, whether it’s websites or clothing or interior decorating.
What exactly is it that you can do better than other people but you don’t have to work hard at because it just comes so easily for you?
What are your dreams?
Next, what are your dreams? If you could be guaranteed not to fail at anything, what would you do?
I’d start a home for terminally ill and abused children. I’d use arts and crafts and music and pet therapy to aid the healing process. We’d be self-sustaining, with our own wind power and greenhouse. I’d also write books.
What do you dream about? Being a famous artist? Having your own photography business? Maybe it’s traveling to war-ravaged countries and making a difference in the lives that have been torn apart. Or perhaps it’s discovering the cure for breast cancer or AIDS. Maybe your daydreams consist of teaching mentally handicapped students, using alternative ways of expression like art or music. Or maybe you dream of opening an animal shelter for abused and abandoned animals.
What is an ideal life?
The next thing to ask is, “What is an ideal life?” I think an ideal life is being surrounded by children and animals and beauty, while being deeply in love with my husband. An ideal life for me is a huge home, being debt-free, able to bless others, with laughter ebbing from the walls of my house — a place where people take one step inside and they feel loved and safe.
The ideal life for you may consist of traveling near and far, seeing all sorts of places. Maybe it’s as a single woman or maybe as a married woman, but with no children. Maybe your ideal life is to live in the richest neighborhoods that your country has to offer, with the ability to give millions to charities. An ideal life for others may look like living in a jungle in the Amazon, studying some exotic animal and saving them from extinction.
What is an ideal world?
Lastly, ask yourself, “What is an ideal world?” Moving beyond what is ideal for you, picture the world as you see it being it’s best.
An ideal world, as I “see” it in my heart, is women and children free from abuse and neglect. I see people living as God intended them to live, free from things like mental illness and fear and pain. I see people who are joyful and have smiles on their faces, who wake up every day feeling like their life has purpose and meaning.
What does your ideal world look like? Is it a world free from smog and pollution, crime and corruption? Is it equal rights for everyone, no matter what their choices in life are? Maybe you’re like one of my friends, who’s ideal world is to help criminals, including sex offenders, find freedom from the compulsions that drive their horrendous deeds. Maybe an ideal world is families full of love and wholeness instead of brokenness and abuse.
If you could change the world, what would you change it into?
Now that you have asked yourself these questions, the time has come for you to blend it all together into a concise statement. This statement is going to be what helps you streamline your life. More on that in a second.
Pick out key words or phrases in the answers to the above questions and then form your purpose statement. You may be able to do it in one sentence, or you might be a little bit more long-winded and need three or four sentences to get it all in. When I combined all my things together, this is what I came up with:
“My life purpose is to use my thirst for knowledge and my passion for sharing what I learn by mentoring and writing, in order to teach others (most especially young girls, teens, and women) how to live as God created them to be, in the lives He intended for them to live.”
This statement is in front of my journal. I look at it almost daily to remind myself what my main purpose in life is. As I remind myself, I then line up my daily tasks to fit with this statement. For example:
Playing with my daughter. Yes, this lines up with my life purpose. I want to teach her how to be all she can be, and I can’t teach her that if I don’t invest time into a relationship with her.
Blogging. This lines up with my purpose, too, for it involves sharing what I know and writing, and even some mentoring relationships.
Learning natural ways of living. Although this isn’t explicitly stated in my life purpose, it still fits into it. I love to learn and I believe teaching others how to live a healthy lifestyle contributes toward teaching people how to live the best life possible.
Dating my husband? Again, this isn’t specifically placed in my life purpose, but it still helps contribute to it. How? When I date and romance my husband I am contributing to his life, helping him be all he is intended to be.
See where I’m going with this? The things that line up with my life purpose, I do. The things that don’t line up with my life purpose, I try to say no to. Again, example:
Someone asks me to take on a data entry job. I don’t take it, because it really doesn’t line up with my passion for learning and sharing what I learn.
Improving my piano playing ability. It’s not something I have a passion for and it really doesn’t line up with my life calling of writing and mentoring others.
Attending every function my church has to offer me. Doing this will take away from the time I invest in reading and writing, so I say no to those activities.
This doesn’t mean everything I do has to be in my life purpose. I don’t think going to a movie at the movie theater necessarily supports my life purpose, but it does give me some down time so that I am refreshed and able to return to my calling. Taking up photography someday doesn’t really line up with my life purpose statement, and yet, it is a hobby I would greatly enjoy and get satisfaction from.
In essence, I say no to the things that would drain my emotional and mental energy, thus keeping me from giving my all to what I am called to do, while at the same time, I do say yes to things I enjoy, because they rejuvenate me, so that I can give what I’m supposed to be doing my all.
I would love to hear feedback from any of you that decide to participate in this exercise! I can’t wait to hear what some of you come up with. That’s the beauty of our own individual life purpose statements. The world needs each of them, in order to keep going.