How to Find Purpose

In yesterday's #MotivationalMonday post you learned that determination by definition is a firmness of purpose, and it's unlikely that yesterday was the first time you heard about purpose. The Japanese call it ikigai, pronounced ee-kee-guy, which means a reason for waking up in the morning.

As we develop into a society that cares more about the why and less about the what, finding purpose has become a new priority that spans all generations. If you are one of the people seeking purpose, you have a good reason.

"Recent studies at Rush University in Chicago show that elderly with a positive sense of purpose in life may be able to reduce their cognitive decline by 50 percent", according to Majid Fotuhi, MD, Ph.D., Chairman of NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center and affiliate at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In addition to the many benefits you can see in your elderly years, people with a positive sense of purpose have been found to have a higher income, contentment in life, and even sleep better at night.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, "Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness."

So I've created a guide for you to either find your purpose or delve deeper into it based on my own pursuit of purpose if we can call it that.

1. Consider what you do effortlessly.

If I'm being honest, I never searched for purpose but it happened to find me. Before I even decided I wanted to be an author and a speaker, I was a poet and a speaker. That's how purpose is. The thing about being gifted, or having a keen ability to do something better than most people with little training or practice, is that to you it seems normal.

I easily could write three poems in a day, all worthy of an open mic night. I remember reading one to a friend of mine who looked at me astonished saying "You wrote that?" Now that talent of poetry will be apart of my book when I release it.

When it came to speaking, I used my voice to give back to my alma mater while still in college when I would go up to my old high school to talk to the kids about college. I had an innate ability to connect with the students while gaining their respect and attention at the same time.

Think of the thing you do that seems so simple to you but constantly amazes other people, that's your gift.

2. Consider what hurt you want to relieve or prevent.

So you know your gift, but you still can't figure out your purpose. The next step is to think back over your past about the hurts that have stuck with you, haunted you, and made your life difficult.

Did your spending get out of control and snowball into a mountain of debt? Did you struggle with building healthy relationships? Did you lose someone close to you and your life completely changed?

It's going to be the thing that no one could help you with, that's the hurt that you want to relieve or prevent. Remember that experience is only the second best teacher to advice.

3. Consider who you have to become.

I believe that sometimes our purpose evades us because we haven't become who we need to be. Before I could teach people about building their confidence and using confidence to chase after their dreams, I had to build my own confidence. I had healing to do.

Take a moment to figure out what purpose will require out of you, so that your teachings are not hypocritical. Become the model spokesperson for your work so you don't have to put on a mask for the public. You don't need to be perfect, but you do need to be sincere.

I made it into my dream job only to realize I hated who I had become in the process, and I never wanted anyone else to go through feeling that way. So what did I do? I studied self-esteem development every single day. I read articles, completed workbooks, and yelled affirmations through my two bedroom apartment until something began to stick. Now that I've learned to develop self-esteem, I can teach others from a perspective of sincerity and experience.

It won't be easy to be the person who lives by why instead of what, but when you find your why you'll begin to see a transformation in yourself and experience a satisfaction so deep that mere words cannot explain it. This summer in Washington, DC I'll be teaching a master class on goal strategy called Refresh the Resolution and how to use purpose to get where you want to go. If you're looking for more support in purpose-seeking and how to properly utilize your gifts, I'll be happy to see you there.

Gabriella Payne builds teams and communities through inspiration and strategic confidence development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their mental thought patterns by teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for healthy relationships and teaches a series called "See It Coming".

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