What is life without purpose? The answer depends upon your point of view. Some of us need a sense of purpose to give meaning to our passions and activities. It is, for us, the force that guides us in setting priorities and in our daily activities, the vehicle that carries us on our journey through life. Others of us enjoy not having a specific destination. For us, life is an adventure, experience and discovery embodying both purpose and process. For others — perhaps even a majority of us — our lives need to have a general sense of purpose, but we recognize there are times when purposes shift in a life that includes exploration and discovery on the road to elsewhere.
Once upon a time, years and years ago, I wrote personal mission, vision, and purpose statements. My purpose statement read: The purpose of my life is to continuously learn and grow; to keep myself healthy and fit so that I am free to creatively and passionately express myself in a variety of ways; to be loving and kind; and to make a difference by helping to improve others’ lives in some way. That statement still rings true for me.
This week’s journaling prompts are designed to help you explore the importance and definition of purpose in your life:
- Do you think having a sense of purpose is important? Why or why not?
- Do you have a sense of purpose about your life? If so, can you define it, or is that definition an elusive something for which you’ve always searched?
- When did you first become aware of a sense of (or lack of) purpose? What were the influences in your life at that time?
- Write about the memories that arise in response to the question: What role has your sense of purpose played in your decision-making processes?
- Perform a word-association exercise with the word purpose. When you’re done, look over the list of words you’ve created. Is there a common theme? Or perhaps a mood? Freewrite for ten minutes regarding what you notice about your list.
- Have you had times in your life when you felt that you’d been on the wrong track? Something changed and your sense of purpose shifted with it? Describe some of these times. What were the factors or changes occurring prior to and after these shifts?
- Brainstorm a list of values that are important to you. Circle your top ten. Then, double-circle your top five. Write a purpose statement using your top five values, beginning, “The purpose of my life is ….” (If you find that you just can’t leave out one of the other values, feel free to include it.)
Inspire others! Share your purpose statement using the comment field below.