Part 2: Why You Exist — Finding and Defining Your Major Purpose
This is one of the most important installments of the process.
Here, we will delve into some of the great questions of our humanity and individual lives: Why are you here? What is your life’s purpose? What difference will you make? How will you be remembered? Who are you? What do you stand for? What values do you represent, protect and fight for? What are you willing to die for and live for?
I know these are heavyweight questions, but they need your answers. If not now, when? How much more of your life will you allow to pass by without you seizing control of it and making it count, exactly as you want it to, consistently and steadfastly? I say now is the perfect time. That is why you have been called to this series; it is why you chose to be here. These are the great questions of our life. If you will play full out with these questions, you can truly play full out in life.
“Don’t leave your life up to chance. Grab the reins of your life, and charge gallantly in the direction of your grandest vision.”—Darren Hardy
Two years ago, I was asked to deliver the eulogy of a relative. It was an extreme challenge, as this person, unfortunately for them, lived the life of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau warned about. She didn’t have many friends (or none that bothered to even come to the funeral), and she wasn’t close to any of her family members, including her own child. I had really nothing to work with, no references to draw from, and no contribution or positive effect her life had on others or the world around her to mention.
The bulk of my eulogy ended up trying to explain (justify, really) her behavior and probably why she lived the way she did. The fact was, there was very little “life” actually lived there. She has now been gone for two years, and the loss is hardly noticeable. I am saddened even thinking about it—not sad for the loss of her, though, but sad for the life she lost out on.
This experience crystallized an important life philosophy for me: Write your eulogy now.
Decide the impact you want to have, the difference you want to make and the way you want to be remembered now, before you get to the end of your life and it’s too late. The end is not the time to figure out how you want your life to be remembered.
Many people, including those who are celebrated as being incredibly successful, get to the end of their life, only to discover they climbed the wrong ladder. They spent all their precious time pursuing the wrong values. When they finally realize their mistake, their journey is over and it is too late.
“For what is a man profited if he is to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” —(Matthew 16:26 KJV)
Review the story of my dad’s friend who, on his deathbed, gave me the point to life: Read it here.
Don’t miss the point and leave your loved ones struggling to explain who you were and what difference your life made on them and everyone and everything you touched.
Download and complete the PURPOSE worksheet. (NOTE: Sent via the e-mail feed. If you are just registering now, it will go out again with the next feed. Email feed typically goes out in the evening of the day the post is published.)
First, we need to identify your CORE VALUES. This is the navigation system for your life. Your core values define who you are and what you stand for. They are the values you would fight for and defend to the death. These core values make up your character; they are your non-negotiables in life. They are the attributes you would hope others would say about you in your absence and in your departure. They become what you are “known for”. They become your internal compass, your guiding beacon. They comprise the filter through which you will run all of life’s demands, requests and temptations to see if they match the direction you want to sail your life toward.
If you haven’t clearly defined your values, you may end up making choices that conflict with them. And when your actions conflict with your values, the results are unhappiness, frustration and despondency. Psychologists tell us that nothing creates internal stress and trauma more than when what you are doing on the outside (actions, behaviors) is incongruent with your values on the inside.
Defining your core values also helps make life simpler and more efficient. When you are certain of your core values, decision making is simplified. When faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself, “Does this align with my core values?” If yes, do it. If not, don’t, and don’t look back. Then, all the fretting and punishing plagues of indecision will be eliminated.
Next, we are going to take your core values and give them action. Values that are unexercised lead to delusion, and nobody wants that. Your personal MISSION STATEMENT is where we give these great values action, cause and purpose.
A personal mission statement is a brief description of who you want to become and what you will focus on and achieve during the next 10 years. It is a way to focus your energy, actions, behaviors and decisions toward the things most important to you.
Look, I know you we hear a lot about mission statements… I don’t like trite or hackneyed euphemisms myself that sound important but really aren’t. Taking the time to figure out how to clearly articulate who you are, what you stand for, what you will become and the major purpose of your life is a worthwhile exercise. Hopefully you will learn to trust me, I wouldn’t ask you to do it if it weren’t worthy.
Last, and maybe most important, VISION combines of all your core values and the actions of your mission statement into a single proclamation, a clear description of your life’s greatest possible outcome.
Imagine a race between three people to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle.
Person No. 1 was given one with the picture on the box.
Person No. 2 was given the box with no picture on it.
Person No. 3 was given a box with the wrong picture on it.
Who is going to win? Exactly, person No. 1. You need a clear picture (vision) to complete the puzzle of your life.
Don’t worry if you aren’t clear or if you don’t know what you would write for any of these; I will help you through the entire process on the provided worksheet. Once you identify your core values and get clear on the mission and vision for your life nothing, and I mean nothing, can get in your way.
Set aside the proper time to go through this process. These are life’s great questions; take them seriously, and play full out.
Use the weekend to get caught up if you need and get ready for next Tuesday, when we’ll take this process a layer deeper. I’ll help you discover your unique talents, abilities and passions, and help you identify the troublesome constraints that might be holding you and your greater potential back without you even knowing it.
Everyone is benefiting from each other’s comments, encouragement and sharing of ideas and discoveries. Please keep them coming in the comments below. It keeps the fire alive through this process!