How do I find my life purpose? This is a question I am often asked at my seminars and workshops. Sadly the true sense of purpose seems to elude most people in their lives. One of the main reasons for this is that it takes time and effort to discover what we are truly here to do. Life purpose goes beyond the traditional narrow view which is often one of
- making as much money as possible
- find the dream life partner
- having a very successful career
In some cases a person’s purpose may be directly linked to their work they do. However this is not always the case and they do not need to be linked. It is possible to have a job or career in one area while pursuing a very worthwhile pursuit or in another area of your life. Having a life purpose does not mean becoming a volunteer and feeding starving children in Africa or saving polar bears in the Arctic. For me having a purpose means matching your true gifts and potential so that you can maximise the abilities you were born with.
In other cases finding your true purpose may mean that you find inner peace within yourself and live a life that is aligned with the flow of the universe. For example as we get older finding inner peace becomes a much more meaningful pursuit, while for other’s reconciling their past or improving conditions for others in their community may fulfil that need.
Returning to that question then how do I find my purpose? One of my favourite questions to participants on my courses is what would you do with your life if you had unlimited time and resources (including money)? Many people initially say lie on a beach in the Bahamas or travel the world etc. My question to them is always yes, but, when you’ve got the bucket list dealt with what would you do then? This question is a deep and searching question and one which often meets some resistance. However it can be a great question to get you focused on what direction you would like your life to travel.
To quote one of my favourite teachers Sri Nisergadata, “ life is a river that flows between the banks of pleasure and pain”. We are fine once we allow ourselves to be taken by the flow, it’s only when we get stuck on the banks that we experience stagnation and problems. Maybe as a first step towards finding your purpose take a look at which bank you are currently stuck against and start by unhooking yourself from the bank and allowing yourself to get more in touch with life’s flow.
For me personally I want to give the life I have the best shot I can. As the management guru Charles Handy once wrote “when I reach the end I want to be totally used up”. You have heard so many times you just get one life and it’s up to you to make the most of it.
By Seamus Whitney