Where there is no vision, the people perish… (Proverbs 29:18a)
How have you been since the pandemic?
Globally, this pandemic has turned our world upside down – disrupting our lives physically, socially, mentally, and financially. These have been trying times for everyone – maybe more troubling for some than others – but nonetheless, everyone. Hope has become a challenge, especially when you feel helpless, as if there is nothing you can do.
Let me share what has gotten me through these trying times – that is, finding purpose. What is the importance of finding purpose? Purpose gives people a reason to get up in the morning – a goal to look forward to. It is vital for our wellbeing to have a reason to get up and get going. It gives our lives meaning.
It is, perhaps, especially difficult to find meaning when we are stuck in our homes. However, instead of seeing this as a problem, we can view this as an opportunity to create something for ourselves. Perhaps before the pandemic, you were mindlessly going about your day, doing what was most convenient or gotten used to, or simply what pays well or helps you survive. Today, I encourage you to challenge yourself: to go beyond those bounds and grasp for meaning in your life that is your own.
Now you might be wondering, in what ways does one find purpose amidst a global strife? Where does one look for hope? For some, it could help to look within – to envision your own dreams and goals. For others, looking to people and inspiring figures can be helpful. Finally, there is looking to God as the ultimate giver of hope and wisdom. All of these, put together, say something about you as someone uniquely designed by God and assigned strengths and passions with which to impact his world.
From the team that brought us the book, Lead Like Jesus, here are some practical steps to get you started in discovering your purpose and forming your purpose statement:
First, think about two or three strengths or personal characteristics you have that you feel good about and that people commend you for, and write them down. What nouns come to mind? Are you a mechanical genius? Do you have a good sense of humor? Do you have sales ability? For instance, I picked for myself energy and people skills. These are two obvious strengths that I have whether I am teaching or working with other people. What about you? What are your strengths? Write these down using nouns.
Second, identify some verbs that tell how you effectively engage and influence other people. Since I am a teacher by heart, I chose the verbs teach and motivate to describe how I influence others. List ways you successfully interact with people. Do you encourage rather than tell? Do you manage more than you motivate?
Finally, visualize what your perfect world looks like. This is what we call your vision or image of the future. It also tells you what purpose you are working toward to see happen. It should answer these questions, “What will the future look like if things are running as planned?” “What are the people saying and/ or doing?”
Now, complete the sentence, “My perfect world is…” In my case, my perfect world is when people know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys. What’s yours?
Now, it’s time to write your purpose statement. Combine your two to three nouns with your two verbs and your description of your perfect world.
Here’s mine, following those steps:
My life purpose is to use my energy and people skills to teach and motivate people to know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys.
Make sure to write your purpose statement down somewhere you can see it, so you can be reminded of it and be challenged to fulfill your purpose.
Creating your purpose statement is only the beginning of a wondrous journey toward self-discovery and enacting change in the world around you. By identifying your strengths, interests, and how you envision your perfect world, you become one step closer to a more fulfilling life.
This time of crisis need not stop us from growth. It can be used as an opportunity to engage your world more purposefully and effectively to create that impact on the world for which you were designed.