Finding Your Purpose #3: Begin with the End
Posted by Jeff Jochum on Monday, March 6, 2017
[Originally published on my Facebook group: Unique Brand University]
When you start with the end in mind, you have a personal direction to guide all of your activities. Beginning with the end in mind is taking control of your own life and giving meaning to the actions you take every day.
Start building a vision for your life – what would you want to have achieved by the end of your (long) life. Imagine it’s your 95th birthday – what would you like to have achieved with your life by then? When we understand the legacy we want to leave behind, we will gain clarity on our life’s purpose. A legacy is simply the captured summary of life purpose achieved.
Take a journal and write everything down – in as much detail as you can. Try to capture all of the aspects of your life: career, relationships, lifestyle, the legacy you want to leave behind. To come back to the 95th birthday example – what would you like people to say about you there? How can you be more of the kind of person they would describe there?
Live Your Life with the End in Mind
Once you know where you want to end up and the kind of achievements you want to have, you will have found a new purpose for your life. You will now have a real reason for living, all of your actions have a meaning. You are much more likely to do great things with your life and achieve your goals when you go about it with a sense of purpose.
To begin with the end in mind is to begin with the image of the end of your life as the frame of reference by which everything else is measured. We may be busy, we may be efficient, but we will only be effective if we begin with the end in mind. Whatever your goals are, you need to get clear on what outcome you are looking for. By planting those desired outcomes firmly in the back of your mind, you become a lot more likely to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that support the achievement of your goals. Over time, your life will steadily move closer and closer to what you want it to be.
Is This My Life Purpose?
Once you have painted the picture for your future, ask yourself if this is what you really want. If your answer is no, start from the beginning. If your answer is “Yes!” wouldn’t you feel a sense of purpose and direction by living up to this standard? Now your life has purpose and meaning, by living each day in ways that contribute to the legacy you want to leave behind.
Sometimes we’re so stuck in our way of thinking that we need external input. Answers, even obvious ones, might not come to us because we are used to thinking in a box.
There are many ways to get good input for our self-discovery process. Here are some of the most effective:
One of the best ways is to read a book where that discusses the same kind of questions that you have in your mind. It can be a book directly about finding your purpose or it can be fiction. Paolo Coelho has many books, most of it fiction, that are great to stimulate your thinking. The One Question has done some research on what are some of the best books to read for getting guidance – you can see our choice under the Books on Purpose link in the menu.
Ask around or do a search on Google and you are sure to find something good to read.
Ask your friends and family
Pick 5 people that are closest to you and who have known you for a long time. Be authentic with them and they will be authentic with you (it almost always works). Ask them sincerely what they think you should devote yourself to and what you are best at. Sometimes we miss the obvious ourselves, but people around us notice it. Not all of the answers you will hear might be insightful or even valuable, but there is a good chance you will come upon a gem or two. Pay attention to the common theme of their answers – maybe most of them see a similar path laid out for you.
[Content Attribution: Unknown author – e-book published by The One Question in 2010]