In our last blog post, we explored how students at Yale University tapped into their passion and purpose in order to ignite their search for a creative career. A great way to ignite that search is to write a Life Purpose Statement.
The Importance of A Life Purpose Statement
Purpose is key to creative success and fulfillment. Your purpose is what gets you out of bed every day. It connects you to the people you want to serve. It is your way of making the world a better place. The start of living in accordance with your purpose is to write a life purpose statement.
A life purpose statement provides clarity around what you want to achieve, a sense of direction for where to start and the motivation to make it happen. It also can inspire you to greater heights.
The Four-Step Life Purpose Statement Process
Here is the four-step process that you can follow to articulate your own life purpose.
Step One: Your Seven Stories of Joy and Fulfillment
The starting point is to look through your life for your most joyful and fulfilling moments and experiences. The objective is to find the through line among your peak life experiences.
Think about seven stories from your life where you achieved something of which you were very proud. Zero in on experiences where you felt a surge of joy and fulfillment in the process. Be sure to select stories from different aspects of your life, including creative pursuits, professional accomplishments, education, relationships, community service leadership activities, hobbies and leisure activities. Focus on the positive aspects of the stories. Then, write down:
- what you were doing that made you feel fulfilled,
- what you learned from this episode, and
- the positive emotions you experienced in this story.
Step Two: The Perfect World
Next, think about what the perfect world would look like to you. This is a world in which you and the people you most care about would be happy and fulfilled. Consider how this picture aligns with your passions. Then, answer these questions:
- What are you doing to get closer to creating the perfect world?
- How are you using your strengths in working towards creating the perfect world?
- What is the positive impact on the world and how will the world be a better place as a result of these activities?
Step Three: Purpose Qualities, Activities and Impact
Review your seven stories and your Perfect World description and identify the following:
- Purpose Qualities:
Identify your top strengths and talents that you use when you are feeling joy and fulfillment. Observe how your purpose qualities intersect with your passions and your best self in Flow.
- Purpose Activities
When you are using your purpose qualities, identify what you do in order to feel on purpose. Purpose activities are broad and all-encompassing as opposed to being specific to a particular job. Purpose activities use words like “inspire”, “empower”, “collaborate”, “uplift” or “guide”.
- Purpose Impact
From your stories and your perfect world, reflect on how your purpose activities result in a better world. Consider how your impact dovetails with your core values and your passions.
Step Four: Write Your Life Purpose Statement
Then, use the following template to articulate your Life Purpose Statement:
The Purpose of my life is to
(what I do to be on purpose)___________________________________________
(my being or the qualities I bring to my purpose activity)
so that/in order to__________________________________________.
(the impact or the outcome of when I am being and doing on purpose)
Be sure that your statement is sufficiently broad to encompass a vision of activities and is not limited to what you are doing today.
Life Purpose Statement Examples
Here are some examples of Life Purpose Statements:
From an arts educator:
The purpose of my life is to selflessly, genuinely and honestly create spaces of open- mindedness and empathy in our culture to promote happiness, freedom and respect for all.
From a musician who champions diversity:
The purpose of my life is to powerfully and creatively uplift others so that we express ourselves freely and create a diverse and just society.
From a theatrical projection designer:
The purpose of my life is to lovingly and collaboratively inspire and empower deep connection in order to forge a positive network and create a wave of transformative change.
Here is my Life Purpose Statement:
My purpose is to expertly and passionately inspire and empower joy and flow so that we spread creativity and exhilaration throughout the world.
How to Use a Life Purpose Statement
A Life Purpose Statement is not a job description. It is meant to be broad and apply to all areas of your life, not just your professional life. The more clarity you have around your purpose, the more success you will have in channeling your talents to make the world a better place.
Your purpose can guide you as you assess your current life:
- What are you currently doing that serves your purpose?
- What opportunities can you pursue to help you live your purpose?
- What areas might you explore that align with your purpose?
- How can you say no to things that fall outside your purpose?
By filtering your life decisions through the lens of purpose, you are able to feel more in charge of your life and experience the fulfillment that comes along with knowing that you are doing what you are meant to do.
Finally, if you are not sure of your path, a Life Purpose Statement can help guide you as you explore different areas.
And as you explore, your Life Purpose Statement can inspire you to go out into the world and have the kinds of fulfilling experiences that can tell you where and how you are serving your purpose.
Take the time to craft your Life Purpose Statement and see what a valuable tool it is to promoting clarity and fulfillment in your life.