One of my main conclusions from writing Leading with Wisdom: Sage Advice from 100 Experts, is that it is hard to be a good leader if you are not a good person. And being a good person just does not happen. We have to continue to work at it or the ego will control us instead of us controlling the ego. Research says that finding our purpose is one way to keep us grounded and headed in the right direction. Recently, I was the keynote at an AARP state event and these were the remarks I shared with the group of about 150 AARP volunteers.
Imagine a pill that would enable you to live a healthier, happier, life longer—and even increase cognitive brain memory. It would promote physical, mental, and spiritual health. How much would you pay for it?
The pill is FREE and it is purpose!
- Your purpose.
- Your aim or direction.
- Your reason for being.
- Your reason for getting up in the morning.
Are we will filling our lives with busyness or living fulfilling lives full of meaning and purpose?
We all have a purpose regardless of our age, our health, our economic or social situation. The earlier people discover the power of purpose the better their lives can be.
Purpose is what gives life meaning. Meaning matters. And CHOICE is the power in purpose. We have choices and we can make intentional choices if we think about it.
Purpose joins self and service together. We need to grow in self in order to be of service to others. Unlocking your life purpose is a process of self-awareness and choice. In sage-ing speak, we call this learning the “inner work.”
How do you find your purpose? The goal is to find our purpose in order to make a difference in the world—even in a small way. The directions below are from Richard Leider, the expert on this topic and author of The Power of Purpose. Leider was a keynote speaker at the Sage-ing International conference.
Start with this equation: The Napkin Test
Gifts + Passions + Values = Calling (purpose)
Gifts: Our natural talents. You can’t remember learning it. You enjoy doing it. Others observe these gifts in you.
Passions: Interests. Curiosities. Causes. What keeps you up at night?
Values: What you stand for? What is important to you?
Purpose is about using our gifts, passions, and values to benefit something larger than ourselves.
So what holds us back from finding our purpose? What blocks us from experiencing the power of purpose?
According to Leider, there are four purpose myths that hold us back. We often believe:
- To have purpose means I must do something original.
- Only a few special people have true purpose in their lives such as Mother Teresa.
- True purpose comes as inspiration or revelation.
- Purpose is a luxury. I need to make a living and can’t worry about purpose.
Leider says it often takes letting go of the purpose myths in order to have the power to search for purpose moments. Each moment can be a purpose moment if we are awake, aware, and intentional.
To get us started, Leider gave us a default purpose: To Grow and To Give. (post-it note on bathroom mirror as a reminder). At the end of the day: How did I grow and give today?
When we are in the second half of life (which starts about 40), Leider discovered through research “meaning trumps money and significance trumps success.” We want to know our lives made a difference.
Our purpose involves a quest for personal growth and a search for meaning through personal contribution. Our purpose evolves as we grow through life phases. Purpose grows and develops with us.
Ask yourself Richard Leider’s favorite question: What gets me up in the morning?
What is your purpose?