What Is Your Purpose?

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Are you living a purposeful life? One of the main factors involved in people who are feeling depressed and unhappy is the simple fact that they feel their lives lack meaning and direction. Fortunately, it is simple to give your life meaning and direction. All you need to do is find a purpose for your life.

Even if you aren't depressed and unhappy, defining your purpose can help you. Knowing who you are and what you want out of life can help you achieve more and be more. It can also help you make better decisions each day.

Finding your purpose may take some time and thought because what you are doing is very important and very meaningful. You are going to create your personal mission statement. Nothing is more important than that mission statement because ultimately it will define what you do and who you are. Try to set aside several hours to focus your energy on this task. If you don't have a large block of time then you can set aside smaller time periods and work through these five steps one at a time.

Step One: Look Back

Think about your past especially the high points and successes. Make a list of all your successes and all the points of pride and accomplishment. Spend time simply thinking about your childhood, school years, and other phases of your life so you can make a list that is as complete as possible. Do you spot any trends among these accomplishments and successes?

Step Two: Look Inside

Make a list of positive words or attributes that people use to describe you such as hard working, creative, passionate, or determined. Then make a list of words or attributes you use to describe yourself. What are your gifts and talents? Make sure to list the ones that you don't currently use as well as those you currently develop and utilize. After reviewing and comparing these lists make a list of five or six core values that are your top priorities.

Step Three: Look At Your Dreams

Now take the time to dream a little. If time and money were no object how could you contribute to the world, your family, your career field, your friends, and your community? What are your passions? What moves you, excites you, or angers you?

Step Four: Look Ahead

Review your notes from Steps One, Two and Three and identify your top goals and priorities. Make a list of these and then number them in order of importance.

Step Five: Look For Your Mission

Your mission statement can have three levels. The top level should be a simple one-sentence action statement that becomes your personal mission or vision. Simply complete this sentence: My mission is to ...

For example, "My personal mission or vision is to nurture, educate, and stimulate enlightenment for human development".

The second level can be your professional mission statement. Some people may decide that they don't need a separate professional mission statement. I don't because as a teacher and writer I feel my professional mission is the same as my personal mission as a mother, wife, friend, and community activist.

The third level is actually a longer and more detailed description of your mission or vision.

For example, "I chose the action verbs nurture, educate, and stimulate because I believe
at heart that I am a nurturer. That is why I write, that is why I garden, that is why I teach, and that is why my family is so important to me. I love taking the germ of an idea, a tiny seed or an eager mind and helping them grow and reach for new possibilities. I think it is no great stretch for a nurturer to also be an educator. I am a lifelong student. Whenever I learn something new about the world or the people, animals or plants that inhabit it I cannot wait to share the knowledge either through my writing or a classroom and hope that knowledge will help others learn and grow as well. Last, but perhaps most important, growth does not have to be a passive, boring experience. It can be active and fun. I believe true growth and learning only occur when the experience is stimulating. I chose enlightenment because I cannot imagine a greater gift to the world or to the individual than to be enlightened. I know every article and story I've written in my lifetime did not enlighten, but in recent years I have been working to reach that goal. It does not have to be a grand enlightenment, for often small shafts of light can have a profound influence on another and that is what I hope to provide. And, finally, human development, because I cannot imagine a more impact-filled area than human development. I am a strong believer in the fact that we should spend our lives in continuous development and we should each do our part to help others develop, too. If we do not continue to develop and grow as an individual, and as a society, and as a world, then we cannot hope to survive let alone thrive".

Creating my own personal mission statement did change my life. It helped me to change careers, start my own business, and make important decisions about my professional life and personal life. Having a mission statement and giving myself a vision for my future has helped me give my life focus and purpose which has greatly added to my personal happiness. Why don't you give it a try?