Finding purpose in life can be likened to embarking on a treasure hunt where new paths unfold in mysterious and surprising ways. In my coaching practice, this is a key questions I always ask. I find many people start with a vague awareness of their purpose.
Are you ready to become curious, to see what you will discover in order to live a purposeful, well-lived life? All it takes is a willingness to begin.
Knowing why you’re here, and who you want to be, isn’t a part-time job. The challenge is to live out what you stand for, intentionally, in every moment. ~ Tony Schwartz, author
People enjoy being engaged in meaningful work. Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out stimulating experiences.
Having a life purpose provides context for all of one’s efforts, and it’s a chief criterion for “flow”—the energy state that occurs when one’s mind, body and entire being are committed to the task at hand. Flow turns mundane work into completely absorbing experiences, allowing us to push the limits of skills and talents.
However, many of the people I talk with struggle with finding direction and meaning for their life. Why is that?
On some level, everyone wants to live a purposeful life, yet we are distracted by societal pressures to achieve wealth and prestige. There are indications, however, that this is changing. Just as Gross National Product (GNP) fails to reflect the well-being and satisfaction of a country’s citizens, a person’s net worth has little to do with personal fulfillment.
Here are some of the benefits to finding purpose in life other than the emotional and psychological ones. For example, having a strong sense of purpose can help you live longer.
- A 2009 study of over 73,000 Japanese men and women found that those who had a strong connection to their sense of purpose tended to live longer than those who didn’t.
- Additionally, in his study of “Blue Zones” (communities in the world in which people are more likely to live past 100), Dan Buettner identified the factors that most centenarians share, one of them being a strong sense of purpose.
- In 2014, researchers used data that tracked adults over 14 years and found that “having a purpose in life appears to widely buffer against mortality risk across the adult years.”
In my coaching practice, many of my clients haven’t taken the time to clearly identify what they want and what truly matters most. It’s one of the things we discuss. You can’t plan for personal fulfillment without knowing your purpose.