Many of us are already pages deep in never-to-be-fulfilled New Year’s resolutions—listing off myriad ways to improve ourselves in a variety of areas. My suggestion this year is to set just one goal for yourself. It is a simple yet important resolution that will make life much better. It can make your more fulfilled, and make you more interesting to be around too.
Let 2017 be the year that you let your Purpose guide you.
Positive Psychology has shown the value in having a purpose-driven life. Purpose is one of our major intrinsic motivators. According to Daniel Pink in his book Drive, it’s these three motivators—Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery—that enable people to feel passionate about their lives, going above and beyond regularly.
To uncover your purpose, consider what fulfills you. What drives you to do good in the world? Then reflect on how you spend your time: What is the purpose of your organization? What is the purpose of your team? Then line these things up.
It’s OK if you can’t line them up perfectly. Not everyone can start a non-profit. Good thing there are countless ways to fulfill your purpose. The world needs people whose purpose is fulfilled through creating all kinds of goods, services and entertainment. And if you can increase the amount you live your purpose by just 5%, your life will be more meaningful!
One of the things I find purpose in is helping people with the way they look at the world and the way they view themselves. Thankfully, I get to live my purpose as a career. But I also spend extra time doing things that I’m not compensated for, such as writing, creating videos, and mentoring young people.
Recently I met a young man on the subway. Here was this tall, good-looking guy who at first glance looked privileged. But upon further examination, he was missing his shoelaces and pretty scattered. He didn’t have enough money for the train, so I bought him a ticket and asked him what was going on. As I learned more about his story, I discovered that this young man had had an abusive childhood that had led to arrests and a general distrust of authority. I could empathize. I told him that I had experienced a lot of violence as a child as well. I had once felt the way he felt, but that I had changed my thinking through the support of mentors, and that today I was an author, speaker and trainer. He asked the name of my book, and seemed to be energized by our conversation and the possibilities. I noticed that others on the train who were eavesdropping on our conversation seemed to be energized as well, as some were smiling at me as I got off the train.
Because I connect with people relatively easily, my wife and friends like to ask me who I befriended that day or what my stories were. When you live a purpose-driven life, it makes for great stories!
People get tired of hearing others vent about their job and about things they don’t like about their lives. Misery does love company, but company doesn’t like misery. If you want to be an inspiration to people talk more about your passion and your purpose. It’s not just the big things that you do; it’s all the little things you do that create a purpose-driven life.
Here are a couple ideas for finding your Purpose:
Complete the Best DNA instrument (for free!). It’s a great way to quickly clarify your passions and your purpose into a practical motto. If you’ve got 90 minutes and want life to be better, use this coupon code “CompanyDoesn’tLikeMisery” by the end of February.
Or Track it. Set a daily reminder to write down, “What did I get pleasantly lost in today?” Essentially that activity that you enjoyed doing, during which time didn’t matter, and afterwards you could have spent more time doing it. It could be tackling an interesting problem at your job or helping somebody with an issue. Or maybe working on some cool form of creative expression.
Note these activities for a couple of weeks, and then look for commonalities and discuss them with a friend. Many people are surprised at the things that come up again and again. The best ways to find out how to make life better are usually by looking at what is good already.
As a bonus, there is brain science showing that when you make a habit of looking for the things that are fulfilling in your life, you will not only find them you but you will also savor them!
And for more on savoring, check out this Highlights activity!
So, do you want more fun and self-esteem in your life? Live life on purpose!