Are you wondering if you are living the life you wanted? More than likely, you stopped being the leader of your life somewhere along the line and gave the control to the wishes of others. You are not alone.
I know well this enslavement to the will of others. It was clear in the way I started up every morning. Soon after the alarm, I was busy checking my iPhone for messages and news stories. Next, I examined my social media accounts. I then turned on the television while I got ready to tackle the day.
At work I lived up to a hectic schedule of meetings and activities that were so habitual, no one ever questioned their purpose or value. I was so busy doing what others wanted me to, I never had time to work on those things I felt passionate about. My life seemed like a useless grind of doing meaningless and mundane things others assigned. I had become a hamster in a running wheel.
One day, a description of what it meant to have a life purpose moved me deeply,
“You find your life purpose in the place where your deep gladness and passion to do something and the world’s hunger to have it come together.”
Although I could imagine a wonderful coupling between my passion to do something and the world’s hunger for it, I could not define what it was. To do so, I took some simple steps to decipher what were my most important things. I am sharing them with you.
Nine simple steps you can follow to get to your purpose.
1. Write a list of the things that occupy the majority of your time
Be comprehensive and specific. Do a mind dump. Don’t just list the activities related to your job, include things like helping your church, working out, etc. This should be a long list.
2. Differentiate the reasons why you do these things.
Start out by putting a check-mark next to the activities you love doing. Follow this up by putting an “X” on the things you absolutely have to do. Note that there is a big difference between the things you must do, like paying the electric bill, and the things you think you ought to do like visiting grandma this coming Sunday.
3. Eliminate from this list the activities left unmarked.
If you want to free up time to do what you love, you can eliminate these activities. This will not be easy, for they have become a habit. But what is more important to you, to binge watch all the seasons of The Walking Dead, or to live out your purpose?
4.Make another list of the things you wish you were doing more of.
Reach within you for your highest dreams. Think of it this way, if you were guaranteed absolute success no matter what you did, what would you do? Include everything you ever wished for no matter how silly or impossible it seems to you. Don’t worry if this list does not coincide with the first list
5. Prioritize the two lists based on what you feel the most passionate about.
Straight forward. Do this so you can differentiate your levels of passion for what you are doing.
6.Select five overall priorities from the two lists.
Five is a top limit for me because I have found that when you possess too many priorities, in essence, you have none. You spend your time trying to accomplish them all and only make incremental progress on each one.
It is also important to be specific with your priority. Saying you hope to lose weight someday is not a priority, it is wishful thinking. A priority states what you want to accomplish and gives a deadline. It is measurable; you can see whether you reached it or not. It sounds like this, “I want to lose ten pounds in the next three months”.
7. Check to see if they are a true priority by doing the seven-question rule.
I learned this method from reading Benjamin Hardy’s articles on Medium. What this entails is asking yourself the following question seven times: what about (your goal is important to you? Answer the first thing that comes to mind. Your answer becomes the basis for your next question.
Let’s take our sample goal and apply the questions; what about losing ten pounds is important to you? Let’s say you answer, “so I can better fit in my clothes”. Question number two becomes; “what about better fitting in your clothes is important to you? You answer, “I will look more capable to my boss”. Question three becomes: what about looking better and more capable to your boss is important to you? And so on. You must ask yourself this question seven times. Trust me, each answer will take you deeper to your core belief.
8. Weed out the goals you realize don’t give you a personal benefit.
I have a writing goal. After applying the seven-question test, I realized that writing and sharing my life lessons gives meaning to my life and gives purpose to everything that ever happened to me. Now, every time I write, I know I am living out my life purpose. That fills me with passion and motivation to do it every day.
You may find in this exercise you adopted many goals to please somebody else. For example, you may have a goal of getting a law degree and then find out you are doing it to please your father. Although it takes courage, you need to change this for something that will make you happy and fill you with passion about life.
9. Put an action plan together. Commit to taking steps in the direction of your priorities every day.
The happiest people I know are working daily on their passion. They didn’t get there over night, they laid out a plan and then adhered to it. See yourself doing what you love. Define the actions steps you must take to make your wish a reality. List what you need to do in a year, a month, a week, and each day. You make your dreams a reality by working on these activities, no matter how small. This becomes your daily to do list.
There are no overnight sensations. People living out their true purpose persevered by defining their dreams and working on them every day. Have faith that once you find the gladness and passion to do something, the world will be hungry for it.
If you are ready to trade in your humdrum life for one of meaning and purpose, subscribe to my free weekly newsletter on my website and receive motivation and encouragement to help you on your way. Share it to help family and friends.