I've wondered my whole life whether or not there is such a thing as purpose to our lives. Are we here to work and die, or is there more to it?
This was a question I heard the other day from a woman in her 60s, who has no financial need to continue working, yet feels this unresolved issue of purpose. Why is she here, and has she fulfilled that need?
We all have a purpose, and until it's discovered, life has a wandering feeling that grows over time.
Many years ago in a Chinese restaurant, I opened this fortune, "The day you were born, a problem was solved." Is it possible that the reason why this woman feels there is something leftover for her to do, is because she has yet to solve this "problem" that the Chinese proverb referred to?
I believe so. I encouraged her to discover and pursue her purpose. "But how?" she clamored. And I understand. It's confusing to determine our skills, let alone something as potentially impactful to others as purpose and "a problem solved."
Discovering a sense of purpose is an essential part of prosperity,and it relates to what is perhaps our most valuable asset of all:Time.
Time is so precious it cannot be bought and it can never be replaced. How are you spending yours? Are you happy with what you do for a living - or how you otherwise occupy your time?
If you sense dissatisfaction with how you are spending your time, you may have yet to define your purpose. It is also possible that you have some sense of what it is, but you're just not sure how to apply it to your current situation or career.
Purpose can be found by discovering 3 things within each of us: priority, skill and passion. Once discovered, we can craft a purpose statement by which we can make our future decisions, ensuring we solve that problem we are meant to solve. The purpose statement is essential, as it acts as a rudder to our ship, keeping us on course.
Without identifying our purpose, or crafting a statement to stay on track, the end result is similar to this quote by Thoreau: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." The woman who asked the question about purpose was feeling the bubbling of a song within her and felt the fear of it going unheard.
Jerry Seinfeld, who enjoyed more than 9 years as an actor on the successful sitcom, "Seinfeld," recently began a web-based show, called "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." Following its formation in 2012, he was interviewed on the ESPN radio show, "Mike & Mike."
I too can speak to the effectiveness of this research. In 2006, after 15 years in my chosen field, I felt the pull of what else I could do. After 6 months of research, I discovered and developed a process to not only pursue my purpose, but to also help my clients pursue theirs.
I have made my life center around this task, and that gnawing question hasn't bothered me since.
I encourage you, too, to take up the task of researching your greatest skills, thereby determining your purpose and solving that problem only you can solve.