What if there was something you could do that was absolutely free that was proven to:
- Give you a longer life
- Protect you against heart attack or stroke
- Ensure you are half as likely to get Alzheimer’s Disease
- Protect you against depression, anxiety, obesity and insomnia
- Cause you to be happier and healthier at all life stages
- Feel more life satisfaction
- Enjoy more satisfaction with work
- Improve your sex life
- Recover more quickly from serious setbacks
- Be more tolerant open-minded
- Handle pain better
- Have better repair of chromosomes to keep you youthful and cancer resistant
- Have more satisfying relationships with your family, loved ones, colleagues and neighbors.
So according to researcher Dr. Michael Steger there is one thing. It is indeed free. It is both simple and hard. It is to become conscious of your purpose in life and seek to fulfill it. As most of you know this is been a major theme of my life’s work… helping people uncover and express their purpose. Perhaps because I’ve been doing this for so long I figured out a few shortcuts that help people cut through the voices in their head, their early life-programming, their feelings of guilt and doubt to come up with a purpose so tangible that they can it express every day.
Human beings are designed to feel personally fulfilled by improving the quality of life for others.
First some principles: Your purpose does not have to be unique. In fact, it is unlikely that it is. Human beings are designed to feel personally fulfilled by improving the quality of life for others. While some people hold this as their conscious goal, most do not. Developmental psychologists tell us that most people do not consciously follow a purpose-driven path most of time. The reason is that life is very stressful. Our disappointments and our common fears of loneliness, poverty, illness and death drive us to be preoccupied by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. We need to decide to be bigger than our fears.
Achieving goals other people set will not make you feel fulfilled.
Achieving goals other people set will not make you feel fulfilled. Most of us are seduced into hyper-achievement by a common fallacy that if we achieve a difficult goal we will feel fulfilled. It is easy to make this mistake because achieving difficult goals make us feel more capable. But that’s not the same as feeling fulfilled. We also face the challenge of swimming in a world in which other people are constantly telling us what our goals must be. Yet, achieving goals that others set only results in feelings of relief, not personal fulfillment. Just think about the word fulfill. Its simple meaning is to fill up the empty space. The only thing that can fill up the empty space of our individual potential is the continual expression of our personal way of creating value. We can’t fill that space up with earning a bonus, awards, or even appreciation. Achievement may satisfy our needs for status and external validation but it won’t fill up that hole in our soul that only comes by making a positive difference for another human being.
Recent research confirms that GRIT is the single most important ingredient to the kind of success that fulfills us.
Pursuing your purpose is messy. Our most altruistic plans and noble efforts are often blown to smithereens by forces we cannot control and often seem unfair. I believe that is because our life’s ultimate purpose is to evolve into our best possible self and that can only happen in the face of nasty, undeserved adversity. Recent research confirms that GRIT is the single most important ingredient to the kind of success that fulfills us. If you are interested in fulfilling your purpose get serious about your creative persistence also known as grit. So are you still interested in pursuing your purpose? If you are, here is the way I help people think about it. First, get the idea that you have to change the world or the world will go to hell out of your thinking. The earth has been around for billions of years and human beings have survived for many thousands.
You don’t have to save the world. Instead turn your attention to the difference you can make right now, today, in the circumstances you’re in, with the people in your personal universe. As I said, I believe your purpose is to become the best person you can imagine. The means by which you achieve that is to create value for others. That doesn’t require you saving Western civilization. What it does require is that you become conscious of how you create extraordinary value and show up every day to do it.
You don’t have to save the world. Instead turn your attention to the difference you can make right now, today, in the circumstances you’re in, with the people in your personal universe.
The renowned psychologist Carl Jung laid the groundwork for a matrix of 12 principal ways people create value. He calls these common patterns archetypes. See if you relate to at least one or two of them. “I create value by…”
- Explorer: Helping people find new solutions and opportunities.
- Jester: Using fun and humor to create insights and enjoyment
- Sage: Creating clarity when people are confused
- Teammate: Inspiring groups and teams to achieve significant goals
- Idealist: Using values to help others make better decisions
- Magician: Reframing challenges into unique opportunities
- Lover: Making people feel special and included
- Caregiver: Providing exceptional levels of service
- Hero: Doing whatever it takes to make worthwhile things happen
- Ruler: Developing standards and processes that ensure safety and quality.
- Creator: Creating useful innovations that make life easier
- Revolutionary: Pushing beyond the status quo to create positive change.
Go ahead read this list over two or three times. Write down the statements that sound a lot like what you do that helps make life better for others. Test these statements out in your personal, family and friends and work life. Ask yourself…What do people compliment you on? What do they appreciate about you? Take some time and really reflect on these statements. Let your subconscious mind work with this list over and over this coming week and see if you get greater clarity.
Many people identify with two of these iconic archetypes.
Many people identify with two of these iconic archetypes. For instance, I am a Magician-Sage. The way I create value for individuals and organizations is by reframing challenges into opportunities by creating clarity in confusing circumstances. I do this all the time. I can’t help myself. I do it with my children’s friends who may be grappling with both simple and serious life decisions. I do it with CEOs and I do it at parties. The way this makes me a better person is that in order to do what I am intrinsically motivated to do, I have to listen carefully and be extremely empathetic so I don’t try to force my agenda on someone else’s life or business. It’s also made me deeply care about the success and happiness that other people are striving for.
Here are some more examples. My wife finally saw that her gift was to make people feel special and included. (Lover) She always goes out of her way to encourage anyone in her universe who’s discouraged. Let me tell you she is powerful at it. She can get any dog’s tail to wag and nearly any human to get up off the mat of temporary defeat and keep fighting for the things that matter to them. Once she understood her purpose is a personal gift she began to see a river of opportunities to give it every single day. She is a magnet of optimism for family and friends who find themselves struggling. She goes through every day offering sincere affirmations to anyone who she notices is just trying to do their best.
Her purposes made her a better person because she too has become much more empathetic, encouraging, and a fearless advocate for people who feel under appreciated or invisible. Not long ago I was helping a young artist, a painter, discovers she was a Creator–Magician. She began to see her gift as creating beauty every day in every way she could. Her personal identity expanded from just being a painter to creating beauty through order and cleanliness in her apartment. It positively impacted the way she presented meals, dressed, and affirms the beauty of others. She is becoming a better person by being more present so she can notice the beauty in every moment and help other people see the beauty that is already around them.
I believe the world needs everyone…even hard-asses if they invest their purpose to benefiting human beings.
I recently helped a hard-ass executive see that his purpose is as a Ruler-Sage. He has a ruthless and useful ability to create focus and efficiency on the few things that matter most to make businesses work. He literally rewrites the business rules so employees can succeed. His native instinct is to make strategy and priorities crystal-clear. People who work for him have no confusion about what’s important and what’s expected. If he sounds tough it’s because he is. Yet, I’ve seen him turn a huge organization around with such integrity that employees embraced and relied on his uncommon competence. I believe the world needs everyone…even hard-asses if they invest their purpose to benefiting human beings. This executive is evolving into a better person by learning to listen more deeply so that he can get to the root of problems and frustrations. He has become better at trusting others and thanking them for their efforts.
We don’t need to start a new business, found a nonprofit, or even change careers to start living a fulfilling and purposeful life.
This is my simple point. I believe each one of us is designed to improve humanity and in the process improve ourselves. We don’t need to start a new business, found a nonprofit, or even change careers to start living a fulfilling and purposeful life. Once you become aware of the difference you can make in the way you create value you will see opportunities every day to feel fulfilled. When you do, you will also begin to be flooded with the benefits stated at the beginning of this message. So go ahead and become the best person you can imagine.