Having a life with purpose gives meaning and fulfilment to your existence. It is a deeply personal experience and although there are common areas where many people find purpose they are specific to each person and what stage of life they are in. Purpose is not a static concept and can change as priorities, values and circumstances do.
Purpose is a lofty term and has many ‘worthy’ connotations however you may find purpose from simple day to day activities.
“Purpose is powerful. It gives us a goal to pursue, reveals the paths to pursue it, and encourages us when we doubt our abilities to reach it.”
In addition to making a life more enjoyable, purpose has been shown to have physical and mental health benefits. On the physical side having purpose correlates with a lower mortality rate and lower instances of alzheimer's. Purpose has been shown to contribute to better mental health by contributing to greater resilience and reducing stress when encountering obstacles. If you believe you are doing something purposeful you will pursue that goal with more grit, determination and attach less stress to setbacks than those who have not attached a purpose to their pursuit.
In the study below this has shown to be the case at work with leaders in highly responsible positions.
“Where leaders feel their work is important, a strong sense of meaning and purpose is likely to play a strong moderating role in compensating for the stresses and strains that are characteristic of roles near or at the top of an organisation.”
Purpose can also give you structure to everyday life, which may be more important as you age and when less of your life is centred around work and family schedules.
As we go through different life stages, our purpose develops and changes. Where you once found purpose in climbing the corporate ladder and increasing your salary, which made your daily commute and hours at work bearable, this may change as your priorities and values do. Once you have a family, purpose may be found in those relationships more than a career, or because your financial situation is now secure so you have achieved that goal and so financial stability no longer has the same resonance.
As your circumstances change, anticipating how they will impact your sense of purpose will help you cope in those transition periods.
Mark Manson - how to find your purpose course
An irreverent (lots of swear words) look at how to find your purpose, with video content and tasks
Simon Sineks book on finding your why
Find a qualified business or life coach
How to find a fulfilling career