One of the greatest unanswered questions is “How do I find my life purpose?”
I think the question goes unanswered because it’s an infinite loop. Like “Why can’t I find the right answer?”. It’s a question that in it contains another question. So no matter how many times you ask it, it can never be fully answered. It’s the wrong question.
In my experience, entrepreneurs and leaders find their ‘why’ when they change the question from “How do I find my life purpose” to 3 simpler questions:
1. “What was my purpose today?”
Your purpose is your contribution, and you already contributed today. You contributed time and effort to something, and that’s your purpose today. If you contributed to helping a team mate, to serving a customer, to driving your kids to school. That was today’s purpose.
So you already have a purpose. It’s just that it’s often an unintended purpose. As David Letterman says, “Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.”
2. “How will I make my purpose more meaningful tomorrow?”
You can change how and who you contribute to tomorrow. As you raise your level of giving, in simple, daily steps, you raise the meaningfulness of your purpose each day. You see the daily impact your giving gets. Purpose becomes a daily journey instead of a life destination.
“A life without cause is a life without effect.” ~ Paulo Coelho
3. “What am I willing to sacrifice?”
At some point of your giving, you get to the end of your comfort zone, where giving more of yourself becomes inconvenient. Without sacrifice, you cannot give more. Many stop at this point, and so reach the limit of their “why” and their “how” and so fail to reach their superpowers.
Victor E. Frankl wrote in his classic ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
That greater “why” is linked to what you’re willing to give up for your cause. It’s on the other side of this pain threshold of sacrifice and suffering that we finally meet our true purpose.
If you’re on this journey at this third step, you’re probably finding yourself misunderstood.
You hear people say “workaholic” when you say “committed”.
You hear them say “risk taker” when you say “persevering”.
You hear them say “suffering” when you say “loving.”
And when they ask you, “why are you doing this anyway?” and you can’t easily answer because you can’t yet articulate your “life purpose”, it can lead to seeds of doubt.
Don’t give up! You’re already deep into the journey. And the pay-off of purpose is not just the end of all uncertainty, but also the end of all suffering.
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” ~ Mother Teresa