Good morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Ellen Hagan, CEO of L’AINE services Limited and I am very much delighted to be here with you this morning. I will be sharing with you on the topic “knowing your purpose”.
Life is a journey. We are all travelling inevitably towards the end of our lives. We will either coast through life with no sense of direction or with lives of purpose and fulfillment. The race is on. Where are you going and what are you doing about it?
The word “purpose” can best be described as the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Why must we know our life’s purpose?
Everyone’s life is driven by something – guilt, worry or fear, insecurity, anger, resentment, their past, possessions, parents, money, etc. God wants us to be purpose driven people, driven by His plan, His purpose for our lives. Before God even planned the world, He planned you. When He planned you, He planned your purpose even before you were born. When you fulfill your life purpose it brings honor to God and it brings satisfaction to yourself.
How can I know my purpose in life?
I believe everyone was created to solve a problem and your success is dependent on your ability to discover that problem and solve it. Finding this problem is discovering your purpose, solving this problem is accomplishing your purpose. Below are a few pointers/questions that will help you know or discover your purpose;
- What do you love to do?
Your purpose is directly related to what you love. The most purposeful people in the world spend their time doing what they love. Bill Gates loves computers, Oprah loves helping, and the Newton’s loved to invent. What do you love? Is it reading, writing, playing sports, singing, painting, business, selling, talking, listening, cooking, fixing broken things. Whatever you love, it’s directly related to your purpose.
- What do you do in your free time?
Whatever you do in your free time is a sign of your purpose. If you like to paint in your free time, then that’s a sign. If you like to cook, that’s a sign, if you like to talk, that’s a sign. Follow the signs. What do you do in your free time? What would you like to do if you had more free time? Would you teach or design clothes?
- What do you love to learn about?
What kinds of books or magazines do you like to read? Do you read about cooking, business, or fishing? What do you love to learn about? If you had a library, what books would you like to have in that library?
- What sparks your creativity?
Is it painting, designing, building, speaking, or selling? What sparks your creativity, do you have ideas for new food recipes, or a new creative automotive web site?
- What do you notice?
A salesman notices an uninspiring sales pitch, a hairdresser notices someone’s hair is out of place, a designer notices an awkward outfit, a mechanic hears something wrong with your car, a singer notices when someone’s voice is out of pitch, a speaker notices an uninspiring speech. What do you notice? What annoys you?
- What do people compliment you on?
What “fans” do you have? If no one likes your cooking, then you probably won’t make a good chef. Do people compliment your writing, or your singing, or your amazing ability to sell? Once again, this is a sign of your purpose.
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Would you start a salon, go on a singing contest or start your own business? What would you do if success was guaranteed? It’s a sign to your purpose.
Benefits of living a purpose-driven life:
Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life:
We were made to have meaning. When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable. A young man in his twenties wrote, “I feel like a failure because I’m struggling to become something, and I don’t even know what it is. All I know how to do is to get by. Someday, if I discover my purpose, I’ll feel I’m beginning to live.” Without God, Life has no purpose, without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. Hope is essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Hope comes from having a purpose.
Knowing your purpose simplifies your life:
It defines what you do and what you don’t do. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. You simply ask, “Does this activity help me fulfill one of the purposes of my life?” Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You will tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at that moment. People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much-and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.
Knowing your purpose focuses your life:
It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important. You become effective by being selective. Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relations, churches, or other externals, hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart. You think, maybe this time it will be different, but it doesn’t solve your real problem- a lack of focus and purpose. There is nothing quiet as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop playing dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point?
Knowing your purpose motivates your life:
Purpose always produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. On the other hand, passion dissipates when you lack a purpose. Just getting out of bed becomes a major chore. It is usually meaningless work, not overwork, that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.
Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity:
Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. They want to be remembered when they’re gone. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says. What people fail to realize is that all achievements are eventually surpassed, records are broken, reputations fade, and tributes are forgotten. Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.
One day when you stand before God, He would demand from you, “What did you do with what I gave you?” At most, you will live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity. Your time on earth is, as Sir Thomas Browne said, “but a small parenthesis in eternity.” You were made to last forever.
Now you know your purpose, what next? (CHOOSING A CAREER PATH)
You have come to the point where you have to make some choices.
- You have found what you like
- You have found some occupations that seem to match those aspects of your personality
- You have done the required research and learned more about these particular occupations- what they have to offer you and what you have to offer
NOW– Evaluate your options and make a choice. Your goal is to find the “most appropriate one”, not the “correct” one.
There are a lot of occupations. There will not be ONE single one that will suit you much better than all others.
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
- Name the decision. Write it down in a question format – this helps to clarify your decision and helps you keep it in mind. Eg; what occupation would I like to be in 5years from now.
- List alternatives (write out at least 2)
- Evaluate the alternatives and decide. Write down the potential outcomes of each alternative- both positive and negative for you and for your loved ones.
- Test your choice
- Summer job
- Take a course related to the chosen alternative
- Volunteer in the area
- Shadow someone who works in the same occupation
- Evaluate your decision (how well did your choice work)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
We should not compare ourselves to others (Kwaku works for an NGO or Financial Institution). Some of us could also be entrepreneurs. The point is that, at the early stages in our lives, it may not be easy to see what options we are most suited for.
We should not be too choosy. If we do not try something, how do we know whether we will succeed or not? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. There are so many examples of people who started out doing menial jobs and through perseverance, those seemingly menial jobs provided the breakthrough.
We should not be obsessed with what people think of us- and should not be swayed by the trend we find ourselves born into – white collar jobs are respected and admired. What happens then is that when we finish school, everybody wants to work with a big firm or bank or NGO.
I would like to end by challenging you all to go out there and find out your purpose, to those who have already found it, I urge you to continue living it. It is on by living a purposeful life that we can live life to its fullest.