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Finding Your Purpose — A Way Forward

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Living almost two years with the pandemic has changed us.  Our priorities have shifted.  Our routines have been altered.  So how do we find a way forward in this new pandemic-defined world?

Start by living a life of purpose.

Those seven words pack an enormous punch.  “Finding your purpose” is more than just a cliché.  It’s actually a tool for creating a happier, healthier, more balanced life.   There’s even research that links having a sense of purpose to positive health outcomes including fewer strokes and heart attacks, better sleep, and a lower risk of dementia.

What is purpose?  Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life — the reasons you get up in the morning.  Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.  For some people, purpose is connected to vocation — meaningful, satisfying work.  Purpose is #1 in the 5P’s to Optimum Health, with the goal being to achieve a natural balance and reconnection to the Divine.

So how on earth do you discover what your purpose is in life?  First, understand that finding your purpose is often a lifelong journey.  Give yourself the grace of time.  Second, you might also find that your purpose changes over time.  Give yourself space to regularly reflect on whether the path you’re on is taking you in the direction you want to go.  If not, then change course.  The road to finding your purpose will inevitably have a few curves, forks, and stop lights.

Four key questions to help you discover your purpose:

1. What drives you?

Is there an injustice that touches you so deeply that it drives you to change it?  Often a powerful purpose can come from seeking to right a powerful wrong.

2. Who do you want to help?

There are many perspectives from which to view an issue.  By figuring out the specific person/people you want to help, you can more easily define your purpose.

3. How do you want to help?

Your passions in life are what you love to do.  When you use your passions and skills to achieve your goals and solve problems, they will lead you to find your purpose.

4. What you are willing to sacrifice?

Often we think we want to do something, but don’t end up following through or putting in the work to succeed.  Once you find something worth true sacrifice, then you know you’re on the right track to finding your purpose.

Are those questions challenging to answer?  Don’t panic.  Keep reading…

Four steps to focusing on what matters most to you:

Step 1:  Take inventory of your achievements, values, gifts, and talents.

What have you excelled at both personally and professionally?  Identify attributes you are proud of.  Are you a good listener?  Are you a great organizer?  Our successes and accomplishments tell us where our skills, talents, values, integrity, and heart reside.

Step 2:  Explore your interests via new opportunities.

Think about what you used to love to do.  Join a MeetUp group, a running club, a writing club, a Mom & Me group, a book club, etc.  Try new things that might spark your creativity.  Step out of your comfort zone to learn new things about yourself that will help define your passions.

Step 3:  Practice journaling.

Start writing for 5 minutes a day, and build up to 30 minutes each day.  Write down your thoughts and feelings.  Notice dreams and signs.  Pay attention to what keeps coming back.  Prioritize creative expression.  Journaling helps you uncover what you love/don’t love about your life, face your fears, and pinpoint what you truly want.

Step 4:  Embrace a daily mindfulness practice.

Turn down the distractions.  Make the time to quiet your mind and tune out the noise, giving your brain the chance to sift through everything, shift from reactive mode to thoughtful mode, and help you realize where your priorities truly lie.  Find the mindfulness practice that works best for you — writing, yoga, meditation, nature walks.

At OHI, in our Focus class, we teach you how to focus on your highest priorities. Look at how you spend your time, identify your core values, and define goals that support these values to achieve what matters most to you. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.