Whatever you do, wherever and whenever you do it, you’ll do it better and get more satisfaction from it when you feel a strong sense of purpose.
Your sense of purpose may come from many possible factors: perhaps the enjoyment you receive from your efforts, the quality of your results, or the feeling or knowledge that you’re making the world a better place.
Benefits of Purpose
A strong sense of purpose tends to motivate: keeping you generally positive, happier, more fully engaged in whatever you’re doing, and sparking deeper levels of inspiration and creativity.
Those who feel their lives have meaning, value, and importance tend to feel more fulfilled. They are better at maintaining their direction and feel more comfortable when faced with difficulties. They usually have more passion for life.
What’s more, having a strong sense of purpose helps with your self-esteem, and tends to stabilize you against the emotional highs and lows that come with the everyday variations in efforts and results. It also improves your resilience in the face of stressful, adverse situations.
But a sense of purpose doesn’t develop and strengthen itself. You have to find one and nurture it, sometimes despite difficult circumstances.
Here are some useful suggestions on how to find and strengthen your sense of purpose:
Mission and Goals
The best way to find and strengthen your sense of purpose is to establish a mission statement that inspires you, along with one or more goals in support of this mission that you very much want to achieve.
To do this, start by thinking of major concerns or accomplishments you’d like to include in your work and your life. This could be anything from eliminating war to building a better mousetrap, from easing the last years of senior citizens to helping young people make the most of their potential, from building giant bridges and dams to painting dollhouse miniatures.
Delve into your imagination. There are as many possible missions as problems to be solved and opportunities to be pursued. For you to gain a stronger sense of purpose, however, you have to select one or more that’s meaningful to you.
For each concern or accomplishment that comes to your mind, ask and answer a series of questions aimed at uncovering the depth of your connection to it:
- Why did you think of trying to work toward this concern or accomplishment?
- Why do you feel it is important?
- How would taking on this mission likely impact the practical aspects of your work and your life?
- To what extent would this mission fully engage your skills, intelligence, feelings, and spirit?
- What is the likelihood you can complete this mission, or at least make satisfying progress toward completion?
Your answers will help you decide whether or not a particular mission is right for you.
After you go through this exercise and zero in on a concern or accomplishment that’s important to you, break it down into specific steps or goals that will take you toward completing this mission.
As I’ve covered in many blog posts, such as this one, this process involves determining what you need to do and how you are going to do it.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Selecting a mission for your work and your life, and then supporting it with specific goals is a straight route toward feeling a strong sense of purpose. But in the hurly-burly of everyday work and life, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily details and lose sight of your long-term objective.
That’s why it’s important you not only find a mission for your work and your life, but that you regularly review your mission and your mission-relevant goals. This will reinforce your sense of purpose, making it more likely you will persevere when obstacles and delays interfere with steady progress.
What’s more, keeping your mission and goals in the front, rather than the back of your mind will strengthen your sense of purpose and bring you more of the benefits that flow from it.
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