I believe that we were all sent here for a reason and that we all have significance in the world. I genuinely feel that we are all blessed with unique gifts. The expression of our gifts contributes to a cause greater than ourselves.
First, a personal story
Last year, I was running at full speed; chasing after my dream of money and ‘success’. However, I had forgotten why I was running. Luckily, I met Jim (not his real name). Jim had achieved all the financial goals I was reaching for. He had financial independence, several successful businesses, homes in multiple countries, and the luxury to afford the finest things money could buy. Through hard work, persistence and sheer action; he had made it! But, Jim was not happy. He did not have the free time to enjoy his wealth. He wanted a family. He wanted peace. He wanted to live his life… but he was not able to. He had too many responsibilities, too much to lose, and too many things to protect. He had spent years building his castle, and now that it is complete, he is spending his time keeping it from eroding.
Getting to know Jim was a life altering and eye opening experience. His words snapped me out of my state of ‘unconsciousness’. It became clear to me that, “I did not want to spend the next 10 years chasing after money, only to find that I’ll be back at the same place I am at today; emotionally, mentally, and spiritually”. My ‘chase’ came to a screeching halt, everything was put on hold, and I spent the next two months re-evaluating my life and purpose.
These questions were running through my mind:
What am I chasing after? Why am I chasing it? What is my purpose? Why was I put here?
While reading “E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work“, I found myself in tears during the chapter on finding purpose. In that chapter, Michael Gerber asks the readers to do a visualization exercise. Through his guidance, he instructs you to vividly picture the day of your funeral. What do you want your eulogy to consist of? What would your lifetime achievements be? What would matter the most at the end of your life? Is it what you are doing right NOW?
I started writing. It began by listing all the things that are most important to me. I wrote down all the things I wanted to do. I re-visited my personal mission statement. I decided that whatever venture I commit to must align with my personal mission, my values and my goals. For every new opportunity that comes along, I would ask myself how it aligns with my goals. Regardless of how much money I could acquire, if the venture did not align with where I wanted to be, then I would not pursue it. Here is my personal mission statement:
- “To Empower, motivate and inspire people to living happier and more fulfilled lives“.
Here are some of my values and goals:
- What matters most is my connection with myself, being present and feeling blissful.
- What I value most is having meaningful relationships with people. Being able to connect with people on deep levels.
- I plan to be financially independent, and have control of my time and location. I plan to work only on projects and causes that I connect with. I plan to acquire my finances without violating my values, goals and personal mission.
- I plan to travel and live in different parts of the world. Experiencing different cultures, documenting them in photographs and sharing them with others.
- I will buy my mom a house in Vancouver with a ravine in the backyard. That’s a dream of hers and I’d like to fulfill it.
- Having a family is important to me. I desire a deep, loving relationship with my spouse.
- To live everyday fully as if it was my last.
15 Questions to Discover Your Life Purpose
The following are a list of questions that can assist you in discovering your purpose. They are meant as a guide to help you get into a frame of mind that will be conducive to defining your personal mission.
- Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
- Find a place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone.
- Write the answers to each question down. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Write without editing. Use point form. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
- Write quickly. Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question. Preferably less than 30 seconds.
- Be honest. Nobody will read it. It’s important to write without editing.
- Enjoy the moment and smile as you write.
1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
2. What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
3. What activities make you lose track of time?
4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
6. What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
7. What do people typically ask you for help in?
8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
11. What are your deepest values?
Select 3 to 6 (See list of words to help you | list in pdf) and prioritize the words in order of importance to you.
12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
15. Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? ( to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)
Your Personal Mission Statement
“Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behaviour with your beliefs”
– Stephen Covey, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’
A personal mission consists of 3 parts:
- What do I want to do?
- Who do I want to help?
- What is the result? What value will I create?
Steps to Creating Your Personal Mission Statement:
1. Do the exercise with the 15 questions above as quickly as you can.
2. List out actions words you connect with.
a. Example: educate, accomplish, empower, encourage, improve, help, give, guide, inspire, integrate, master, motivate, nurture, organize, produce, promote, travel, spread, share, satisfy, understand, teach, write, etc.
3. Based on your answers to the 15 questions. List everything and everyone that you believe you can help.
a. Example: People, creatures, organizations, causes, groups, environment, etc.
4. Identify your end goal. How will the ‘who’ from your above answer benefit from what you ‘do’?
5. Combine steps 2-4 into a sentence, or 2-3 sentences.
What is your purpose? What is your mission? We’d love to hear about your goals and aspirations. Please share with a comment!