Finding your Purpose
At some point in their lives most people will find themselves searching for their purpose. This is the existential cousin of the search for your passion - it’s bigger and scarier, and it hinges on the fear that we’re on this planet for a limited number of years and that we’d better make the most of it.
When you’re searching for purpose in you’re life you’re really asking yourself “what am I doing here,” and that’s a hard question to answer. It requires you to turn away from the vast emptiness of infinity and focus on your own unique life - right here and right now. Instead, Adam Leipzig proposes five deceptively simple questions to ask yourself in order to hone in on your purpose life’s purpose.
Adam found the people who know their life’s purpose all seem to know five things : who they were, what they did, who they did it for, what those people wanted or needed, and how they changed as a result.
The exercise is simple - use the next few minutes to ask yourself these five questions. Be careful not to overthink it or censor yourself - just say and write the answer and see what you come up with. I’ve included my own answers below the questions as an example.
1 - Who are you?
My name is Jeremy.
2 - What do you do?
What do you love to do? Cook/Write/Design/Code/Organize? Whatever you come up with - focus in on the most important by asking yourself “What is the one thing that you feel totally qualified to teach other people?”
I create a safe space in which I listen without judgement.
3 - Who do you do it for?
Picture them in your mind
I do this for people who are feeling stuck, or held back in their lives
4 - What do they want or need?
What do they want or need that you have? That they can come to you for this one thing.
They need to be listened to and encouraged.
5 - How do they change as a result?
How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them?
As a result they become lighter and free to do something to move them in a new direction.
This five question formulation is powerful because of the five things you need to know about your life purpose only two of them are actually about yourself. The others are about other people: who they are, what they want or need, and how they change as a result. If forces you to be outward facing because fulfilled people know who they serve and in what capacity. Adam goes as far to say that happier people make it a point to make other people feel well taken care of and secure.
Once you’ve answered the five questions string them together into a phrase. It may not exactly roll off the tongue yet, and that’s fine.
I’m Jeremy. I create a safe space in which I listen without judgement. I do this for people who are feeling stuck, or held back by anxiety. My people need to be listened to and encouraged. As a result they become lighter and free to do something to move them in a new direction.
The last step is to cobble the phrase you’ve put together above into an elevator pitch. Remember that what you’re paid to do isn’t how you need to define yourself. The next time someone at a party asks you what you do don’t tell them your job title. Instead tell them the last part of that phrase - how what you do changes the people you do it for. By doing this you get to share your life purpose, and you get to share how they might come to learn theirs too.
I train people who are stuck in their lives to take decide action and move forward
SO - what do you think? This exercise is simple enough that it’s well worth the few minutes it takes to come to a phrase. I’m interested to see if any of you have tried this and come to a solution that resonates with you.