Before I delve into the topic of the day, let me demystify the word purpose. It is simply a reason. One may pose a question: since you say a purpose is just a reason, then why is it so hard to live a successful yet purposeful life? And like any other coach, I would start answering by saying,” that is a good question.”
Later on in today’s topic I will answer that question. I will discuss in depth four ways that will help you identify the reason for your existence on earth. My coach on purpose confessed the Christian faith but I will try not to preach here today. Don’t run away.
Step 1: Look up.
Everything on earth was created by another thing. Nothing just happened. Most religions will point to God as the origin of mankind. We have also created objects and systems. We always want them to work according to our will. So it is our creator with the perfect reason for creating us. Well, he does not execute us every morning but rather gives us the gift of free will. We are however bound to him and we will keep wandering until we make a choice of going back to him and asking him why we are around. We can all go to the books of our confessed religions to see what our God intended for us to be.
Step 2: Look back.
I like this one. Step 1 is a little bit tricky as it tests our spiritual maturity. It also creates room for dialogue and our piece today is meant for another objective. Looking back is pausing and reflecting on our past life. When looking back, we focus on The Five Hs. The first one is Heritage. What in our culture do we take pride in? This could range from being peace-loving people to being conservative. The second one is Highlights. We all have stand-out moments in our lives. I would consider winning a national award a highlight. It is how it affects our resulting life that makes it a highlight. The third one is Hard-times. Most of us have had to cope with tragic moments, it affects us to the point of altering our goals. The fourth is Heroes. These are people who have stood for us especially in the hard times. We tend to align ourselves to these people. The last is Hand of God. In some moments, we have managed to win them in ways we cannot explain. This makes God real in our lives and gives shapes to our purpose.
An example given is; I come from a very generous family. When I was five years old, my family and I were involved in a grisly road accident where I lost my parents and my right leg. All appeared to have been lost before the church took me in and schooled me. Right now, I run a foundation that works with disabled and orphaned children to give them an education, food and shelter. My purpose is service to the less privileged and I have made a career out of it.
Step 3: Look in.
The best way to establish purpose is looking within ourselves. I love Rick Warren’s book ‘Purpose Driven Life’ and I recommend it to you who is out of school. By looking in, I mean recognizing our SHAPE. SHAPE is an acronym that stands for(S-Spiritual gifts, H-Heart which is simply passion, A- Abilities which are talents and skills, P- Personality and E- Experiences.) By looking in, we are able to find a purpose that we are best suited.
An example can be; my purpose is to entertain people through music. This is because I am a gifted singer, I can play the guitar really nicely, and I am extroverted and exemplary good with people. I also have a passion for song writing and have backed up ten renowned artists.
Step 4: Look out.
Looking out gives a mirror effect. We learn about what gets us mad and raring to fix. Look out for problems, gaps and solutions.
The example for this section will be of environmentalists like Wangari Maathai who get mad when they see people cutting down trees or abusing natural resources. These people make it their purpose to protect the forests and other natural resources.
I have roughly explained the four steps for establishing purpose. You chose which approach works for you but let your purpose count. It becomes impossible to experience success and purpose together because we have given success a unitary value for money. Money follows success and not the other way. If we work to be successful in what we do, then we can experience true happiness which equates to purpose.
If you are newly graduated from college, be sure to check our last article on 10 tips for winning the year after university graduation.