Finding Purpose, Post-Pandemic
At the start of the new year, take this opportune time to find clarity. What are you living for? Here are some practical steps to get you started in discovering your purpose and forming your purpose statement.
Globally, this pandemic has turned our world upside down – disrupting our lives physically, socially, mentally, and financially. These have been trying times for everyone – none excluded. 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. But you may ask, “Amid a crisis when you are on survival mode, is the idea of a personal purpose still relevant?” 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. But this is also the time when the value of your purpose will be put to the test: if you see its essential and lasting value, then a crisis would not be sufficient reason to throw your purpose out the window. Rather, your purpose will serve as your motivation for you to soldier on.
At the start of the new year, take this opportune time to find clarity. What are you living for? What are you working toward? When your answers become clear to you, you will have better reasons to forge on aside from simply surviving. Having a sense of purpose will give you that extra kick in your step when you start your day.
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 what you had gotten used to doing, 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.
Now you might be wondering, how 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 who has assigned you strengths and passions with which to impact His world. Think of your strengths. Think even of your failures – and triumphs. Think of those valuable life lessons that others can learn from you and let these inform your search for purpose.
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. How 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 help 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 leadership and people skills to teach and motivate people to know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys.
This is my life purpose, and this serves to guide and remind me of who I am and what I represent. My life purpose enabled me to have three D’s in my life:
DIRECTION. My life purpose became my true north, my compass for my long journey ahead. It became the destination I was set on. Now I know and can foresee where I should be headed. Being directionless and lost isn’t a good place to be in; it could pave the way to confusion, restlessness, hopelessness and helplessness – and even depression. But being able to see where you’re headed gives clarity to what lies ahead, which just makes you more excited and expectant for what is to come.
DECISION. Knowing where to go is one thing, but getting there is a whole other story. A lot of people want to start running even before they can walk. Know that your life purpose is not a sprint, but a marathon. A lot of people want to be successful fast, but what is more important is to go through the process and finish well.
In my own journey so far, my life purpose has guided me in all my decision making. We’ve often heard that the decision where to go is not so much between what is good and what is bad, as it is between what is good and what is God’s best for you. There are many ways to live one life, but God’s best is His purpose being fulfilled through you. This serves as a guide for me in the choices I make.
DRIVE. Since having a clear understanding of my life purpose, I have had a reason to get up every morning. It has given me the drive to push myself in all my tasks because I want to fulfill my life purpose in as many people as possible. Whenever you feel like you have no motivation to get up in the morning, your life purpose will serve as a reminder why you are alive.
Make sure to write your purpose statement down and post it somewhere you can see it, so you can be reminded and 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 your picture of a perfect world, you take one step closer to a more fulfilling life.
This time of crisis need not stop us from growth. Use it as an opportunity to engage your world more purposefully and effectively to create that impact on the world for which you were designed.
About the author
Boris Joaquin is the president and chief executive officer of Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy, Inc. and is a registered Investors in People (UK) specialist and corporate educator under the Duke CE Global Educators Network (UK). Joaquin is also an accredited facilitator by the Blanchard Institute (US), and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. He founded the Project Purpose Team, Inc. and co-authored the book Project Purpose: Find Your Why to Find Your Way. Joaquin and his wife Michelle have two daughters, Ysobel and Julia.