Did you do that on purpose?

Since I’ve become a professional life coach, there is one question that I get asked more often than anything else. It comes up over and over again, whether I’m at a cocktail party or meeting with a client.

“How do I know what my purpose is?”

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. You can’t just fill out a worksheet or survey and get the results handed to you. It’s something you must explore and discover.

But the journey itself is half the fun and finding your passion is the ultimate reward.

Many of us get so overwhelmed at the idea that we’re supposed to find our one true calling, that we avoid the question completely by just living our same old hectic lives without giving it much thought.

The good news is that none of us have a single purpose. Life is a multi-faceted journey that can provide purpose and meaning in many different ways. When we focus too much on any one area (such as career or family), we limit our ability to truly honor and embrace why we’re here.

When you look at purpose from that broader perspective, finding your purpose (and ultimately your joy) can be more exciting and fun and far less scary.

If you want to get clearer on your purpose but don’t know where to start, try this FEARLESS LIFE INVENTORY exercise that I created for you:

  1. Get a piece of paper and draw six large squares, labeling them as follows: career, family, friends, self, community and spiritual/religious. If there is an area of your life that is missing from this list, add it to the mix.
  2. In the top right corner of each box, write down (by percentage – the total of all boxes should be 100%) how much time you spend on each area of your life. Be honest! Don’t write down what you want it to be in the future or what you’d like to convince yourself it is right now. Take a fearless inventory of where you’re spending your time.
  3. In each box (if applicable), write down the ways in which you spend most of your time in that area of your life.
  4. In a different color, write down how you’d like to be spending your time in this area of your life but can’t seem to find the time or otherwise keep putting it on the back-burner.
  5. Mark through the activities that don’t provide you meaning or fulfillment. If it isn’t bringing joy to your life, draw a line through it. (This doesn’t mean you can just stop doing the laundry or going to work, but it’s important for this exercise).
  6. Circle the activities that bring you the most fulfillment, joy and happiness (this may include items you added to your boxes in step 4).
  7. Pick 3 things that you circled (they can be from various boxes or a single one) and commit to spending more and better time (quality is just as important as quantity) on these activities for the rest of the month. Write them on post-it notes or index cards and put them where you’ll see them — on the fridge, computer, desk, purse, vanity. Wherever you’re likely to see it and read it at least daily.

Although this exercise won’t reveal your purpose, it will give you a glimpse of what brings you meaning and happiness and that’s a pretty good place to start!

What are the top 3 things that you’re going to focus on this month?

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.” — Oprah Winfrey​



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