People and peace of mind increase our day-to-day happiness and reduce our stress, but a truly meaningful life comes from having a sense of purpose. Purpose is about making a difference. It’s why you get out of bed in the morning.
Your purpose will change over time as your life circumstances change. At times you’ll find your purpose in your career and you’ll lean in. At other times your purpose will be raising your children and you might choose to lean out. You may find purpose through volunteering or joining a task force at work to help your company reduce its carbon footprint. It doesn’t matter what it is or how big it is. You just need to feel like you are making a contribution; doing something that matters to somebody.
The place to find your purpose is in the intersection of your strengths, your values, and how you can use these to serve others. Using your strengths to do something that you care about is following your passion. But passion is self-focused and true meaning in life comes from being other-focused. So in order to discover your purpose, you need to consider how you can help someone else.
Let me tell you a quick story about Jack. He lives in West Palm Beach Florida and his passion is repairing broken bikes. He used to spend his Saturdays in his garage tinkering with his bike or fixing his kids’ or neighbors’ bikes. Then one day he created a non-for-profit business called Jack the Bike Man, Inc. People donate their old, broken bikes and he fixes them and gives them to needy children or people who need transportation to work. Jack turned his passion into a purpose by using his strengths to serve others.
Purpose matters. If you don’t have a clear sense of what yours is, take some time to think about it. What kind of a difference do you want to make? Who can you help? How could you use your strengths and values to serve somebody else? Let that be your why.