Whenever I ask clients if they have a purpose in life, a single statement that sums up the reason for their lives they usually draw a blank. They respond that no one has ever asked them about this. Maybe it’s time for all of us to think about our life purpose.
Life purpose statements change and evolve with time and circumstances. I recall formulating my first life purpose in seminary as I anticipated being ordained a priest. At the time I called it my “vision” for the church and for my pastoral ministry. This vision sustained me for nearly 40 years through some difficult and joyous times. During the last decade my vision slowly ebbed and a new life purpose began to take hold.
The formulation of a life purpose statement takes a little time and reflection, but it’s really quite simple. It helps to work with someone like a coach or a good friend. It ought to be a very simple statement with two parts. Begin with a period of reflection on how you perceive yourself as having an impact on your world. Then begin writing.
Part one is the “I am” part in which you describe yourself in a metaphor or symbol of some kind that captures who you are and when you are living you life on purpose such as, “I am the power of the universe…” “I am the unique weaver…” or “I am the ever-expanding heart…” At first the metaphor may sound grandiose or unrealistic, but think big! This part ought to have deep resonance within you.
Part two is the description of what you are accomplishing through this metaphorical self. For example, “I am the power of the universe that integrates body, mind and spirit.” “I am the unique weaver who draws people into powerful relationship.” “I am the ever-expanding heart that has room to love and heal the broken-hearted.”
The best part is sharing your life purpose, writing it large and reading it out loud to yourself each day. These “I am” statements are powerful in reprogramming our thoughts and intentions to sweep aside our inner saboteurs. They help us to focus on who we really are: powerful individuals with the desire to leave our world a better place for having lived.
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