What is your purpose in life? That’s a challenging question to ponder. As you reflect on your life purpose, you may appreciate reading quotes from famous people. Here are a few of my favorites on the purpose and meaning of life. Some of them are quite profound. See if there’s one that really resonates with you. It can help give you perspective and possibly clarify your own beliefs.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life and don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs
“I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter; to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” – Leo C. Rosten
“This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Having a vision for your life allows you to live out of hope, rather than out of your fears.” – Stedman Graham
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a unique calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service.” – Oprah Winfrey
“When you are living on purpose, giving of yourself in a blissful way, your personality will reflect that bliss.” – Wayne Dyer
“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.” – Barbara Geraci
“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely. – Leo Buscaglia
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
What is your favorite quote on life purpose? Please share with other readers.
The beginning of the year is an excellent time to step back and reflect, not only on the past year, but to reflect on your life. It’s a good time to reflect on your life purpose and how you’re living your life.
Start by reviewing your life purpose or vision statement. Your personal vision gives purpose and meaning to your life. It clarifies your values, and provides focus and direction. If you don’t already have a written personal vision statement, then set aside time to work on it. Finding Your Purpose and Passion in Life is a great resource, which walks you through the process of creating your personal vision statement. This workbook is available at www.YourLifeBalanceCoach.com/products.htm.
Review your personal vision to see if it still reflects your deepest values and priorities. Your personal vision encompasses: what you want to have in your life, what you want to do, and the person you want to be. Ask yourself these questions:
- What would I like to have during my lifetime? (Own my own home, vacation property, a boat, a retirement account, etc.)
- What would I like to do in the course of my lifetime? (Earn a Master’s degree, travel the world, volunteer in a homeless shelter, etc.)
- What kind of person do I want to be? (Kind, compassionate, hard-working, responsible, etc.)
In reviewing your answers to these questions, determine if there’s anything important missing from your vision statement. Do you need to add to or modify your personal vision? Make any edits as necessary.
As you review your personal vision, evaluate yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I living out my life purpose?” If not, are you striving toward it? Finally, consider what you can do this year to move toward your personal vision. Then set a goal or goals that align with your personal vision.
Taking time out to review your life purpose helps you stay focused on your personal vision so that you can live the life of your dreams!
Does your life lack meaning and direction? By defining your life purpose, you can gain clarity, focus, and direction in your life. Our purpose is our reason for being – it’s why we’re here on this earth. Each of us has a unique purpose in life. It’s up to us to uncover our purpose and fulfill it.
We all search for significance. We want to know that our life counts. We want to make a difference in this world. Each of us has been given different gifts, talents and skills that we can use for the good of others. If you use your talents to benefit others, and become the person you were intended to be, you will be blessed beyond all measure. Your life will take on meaning and significance. You will be fulfilled.
How do you identify your unique, life purpose? Follow this 5-step process.
1) Determine your values and priorities
What do you hold most dear to you? Your values are deeply held beliefs that govern and guide your behavior. Examples include honesty & integrity, faith, family, and love. They are what matter most to us, and are at the core of our being. They’re extremely important, because we make important decisions based upon values. Our behavior, decisions and actions flow from values. In order to uncover your values, just ask yourself, “What is most important to me?” and brainstorm a list.
2) Uncover your passions
What excites you? What brings you joy? Being out in nature, building things, caring for your children? Our passions are our desires or purposes that bring us joy. Passionate people have greater exuberance, zest and zeal for life. Passion gives us that internal fire to succeed. It acts as a motivating force to help us do truly great things.
How do you find your passion? Ask yourself, “What excites and energizes me?” “When does time seem to fly by? What am I typically doing?” and “What problem or issue was I born to address?”
3) Identify Your Contributions
The next step is to identify your interests, talents, gifts and potential contributions to society. What interests you? Think about which activities you most enjoy – in your personal life and your professional life. What sports or hobbies do you enjoy? What work activities do you most enjoy? Do you most enjoy working with people, things, ideas, or numbers and data?
What are your talents and skills? What do people say you’re good at? Has anyone said, “You’re a natural born leader, sales person, athlete (or something else)?”
Given your interests, talents, skills, and gifts, how can you contribute to others? In what small way can you make this world a better place? What difference can you make? Just think of the possibilities!
4) Describe Your Legacy
What kind of legacy do you want to leave? How do you want to be remembered? What qualities and characteristics will people remember you for? What outstanding accomplishments will you have made? Susan B. Anthony is known for having made strides in women’s rights. What difference can you make in the lives of others?
5) Put it all Together
Contemplate your life purpose. Take a look at your answers to the questions above and ask, “What does this reveal about me?” Ask yourself, “What is my purpose for being here on earth?” Take quiet time to reflect and listen.
By uncovering your life purpose, you will gain clarity, focus, and direction. Ultimately, it will give more meaning and significance to life.
For more in-depth information, review my workbook on “Finding Your Purpose and Passion in Life”.
I’ll never forget the impact that Linda’s memorial service had on me. As I entered the church I heard the music playing softly and I saw the beautiful white lilies. My mind was filled with loving thoughts of gratitude as well as sorrow. I was attending the memorial service of my mentor and friend, Linda Phillips-Jones. Linda was someone I looked up to and admired. She was very successful in her business, yet so down-to-earth, warm, genuine and caring. She had a way of making everyone feel valued and special. Linda went out of her way to help others in their career, and had that special gift of encouragement. Many years earlier, Linda had encouraged me in pursuing my dream of starting my own business. She even gave me an opportunity to speak in her place at a women’s conference. That helped “jump-start” my business. I’ve always been grateful to Linda for that opportunity. As I reflected on this, I looked around the room, and it was no surprise to me that the church was filled with hundreds of people. One person after another spoke of Linda’s great qualities. They shared experiences of how Linda had encouraged them. I realized that Linda had not only touched my life, but numerous others as well.
I knew at that point that I wanted to leave a similar legacy. I wanted to be known as an encourager. It was as if God spoke to me in that moment and said, “Kathleen, that is your gift as well. Use it to serve others.”
We all search for significance. We want to know that our life counts. We want to make a difference in this world. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? How do you want to be remembered? What difference will you have made in the lives of others? What qualities and characteristics will people remember you for?
Linda Phillips-Jones mentored and encouraged numerous people throughout their careers. Red Skelton, the comedian, brought smiles and laughter to people throughout the world. Norman Vincent Peale was known for The Power of Positive Thinking. He shared his positive thinking philosophy through books and presentations to millions of people. They each made a positive impact on the lives of others using their unique characteristics, gifts and talents.
A good way to define your legacy is to write your own obituary. I know this may sound a bit morbid, but it gets you to think deeply about your life and the kind of impact you want to make. Pretend that you’ve lived a long and fulfilling life. How would you like your obituary to read? Loving wife and mother? Caring friend? Humanitarian? The idea is to write your obituary now, and then work on living up to it for the rest of your life. You’ll not only be a blessing to others, but also be blessed yourself.
To learn more about defining your life purpose, read the workbook “Finding Your Purpose and Passion in Life” by Kathleen Barton.
How do you define success? Do you define success as making a certain amount of money? Having a certain job title? Awards for professional achievement? Or do you define success in terms of your relationships with others – family and friends? Or service to others?
Here are some definitions of success:
“Success is being the best in your chosen field.”
“Success is serving God and your fellow man.”
“You’re not successful until someone brags they sat beside you in grade school.”
“She has achieved success who has lived long, laughed often, and loved much.”
Thomas Wolfe defined success this way: “If a man has a talent and learns how to use it … he has gloriously succeeded and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know.”
Do you agree or disagree with any of these statements? Which of these statements resonate with you?
You need to determine how you will measure your own success. How you define success determines how you live your life. Your mission, values, and definition of success translates into everyday decisions. Decisions such as what job you’ll pursue, how much overtime you’ll work, how much time you’ll spend with family or friends. It also determines what time you’ll devote to community projects or to self-improvement. When you’re clear about what success means to you, then you’re able to make decisions more easily about how to spend your time and what activities to get involved in. Ultimately, your quality of life will depend upon your pursuit of success as you define it.
Reflect on your life. What would you like to have? What would you like to accomplish? Who would you like to become? Jot down your thoughts, and then synthesize them into an axiom you want to live by. By doing so, you’ll feel a sense of purpose and mission.
How about you? How do you define success? Please share with other readers.