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Food for thoughtMeaning and PurposePositive Psychology

How to find your purpose in life.

By October 21, 2022No Comments

Why Purpose is important to wellbeing.

Purpose is fundamental to our lives.   People that have a sense of purpose live happier, healthier and longer lives (up to 7 years longer).  Therefore spending time reflecting on your purpose could be one of the best things that you could do for your wellbeing this year.

In his book Mans Search for Meaning Victor Frankl the Jewish Psychiatrist who survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, claimed that the key to his survival when choices were few and future seemed hopeless were a sense of meaning and purpose.  He and other prisoners who maintained a sense of meaning or purpose in life were the ones who were able to navigate and cope with the brutal and desperate circumstances of the camp until they were liberated.  Victor Frankl feels his own survival was down to the power of having a sense of purpose that kept him focused on what truly matters.  Purpose can help us survive challenges and actually thrive as we live a life of no regrets.

So without doubt purpose is key but how do you discover your purpose particularly if you are feeling stuck or have a sense of drifting.

8 questions to ask yourself about your purpose in life:

  • Ask yourself this, when I was younger my family and friends would have described my special gift as._________ . Does this gift still exist?
  • Is it easy to get out of bed in the mornings? Do you have a sense of energy and purpose when you wake up? If on certain days you wake up with a greater sense of energy and purpose what is it about these days that you are doing.
  • Ask for feedback: Send a WhatsApp message to five people from various areas of your life who know you well and ask them to write their response to ‘tell me about a time when you have seen me at my best’, when you get the feedback look for patterns.
  • What sparks your curiosity in life? Some questions to help you explore this are:
  • What are you doing when time passes quickly?
  • What do you enjoy so much that you lose all track of time when you do it?
  • What are you doing that you enjoy so much that your worries disappear when you are thinking about it or experiencing it?
  • A bad day doing this is better than a good day doing other things?

How coaching can help you find your purpose:

A coaching conversation can help support you in finding meaning and purpose in life by supporting you in exploring some of the following areas:

  • An awareness and understanding of your character strengths.  Your signature strengths hold the key to the things in life that excite you, energise you and when you use them at work you are at your most engaged.    When you are more aware of your character strengths your coach can support you in understanding what you can do to optimise your use of them putting you on a upward spiral of positive emotions.  If you are not sure of your character strengths you can use a free character strengths survey like this one. to start exploring.
  • Your values, by identifying and understanding your values you can then really understand what is important to you.  This knowledge helps you identify what you want from life or your purpose. If you find identifying your values hard to do try taking a values clarification exercise such as this one.
  • Your legacy, by identifying what you want to leave behind as your legacy can help you identify what your purpose is.  A great tool to use is  this legacy tool validated by research and often forms the basis of a purpose based coaching conversation.

Finding purpose is a journey and can take time,  sometimes living purposefully simply means being aware of who you are in the present moment and the choices you are bringing to life during each day, rather than living your days on autopilot.

If you would like to chat more about how 1-1 coaching can support you in finding purpose in life please email emma@theoptimalperformancecoach.com