With all that said – what are YOUR values?
If you’re unclear on this, I will place a link to a ‘defining your values’ booklet on my website that you can download to help you get some clarity.
I think about what’s important to me, and it’s definitely being of service, achievement innovation, and fairness.
These are huge for me, both important and meaningful.
They drive nearly everything that I do in my life.
2. What are your strengths?
The next step in working out your purpose is to consider your strengths, as these are the things you’re good at, and which you use to overcome challenges.
Strengths are things that you role model for others – that means others come to you to get help with the things that you’re masterful at – so they are also part of your purpose.
Strengths are strong character traits that you use often in life, and in most cases you’re using those strengths to help you succeed or overcome challenges.
Strengths are defined as things that you are good at AND enjoy.
You can take a VIA test and work this out but better still, ask your closest friends and family to describe three of your greatest strengths.
What do people say about you?
I collect words that people say about me in my coaching log. The list I have says that people think I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable.
If you’re still unsure about your strengths, you can reflect on the qualities you like most in others, as a clue to what your values might be.
For example, if you admire people who are honest and forthright, then you are probably that way yourself, and they are probably strengths of yours.
Another way you can work out your strengths is to reflect on what people rely on you for.
Do they always come to you for help with sorting out their messy schedules?
Do they come to you for a friendly ear when they’re down?
Do they beg you to bake your famous biscuits?
Do they seek support with massive cleanups?
Do they get your advice on gardening?
Everybody has something that people turn to them for. What is it for you?
People often come to me when they’re doubting themselves, overwhelmed or unclear.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve helped people write resumes, or reviewed blogs or marketing copy, or are unsure about something – and I’ve helped them to acknowledge and get perspective on their strengths, achievements and their greatness.
3. What gets you fired up?
Finally, purpose is ignited by passion. The things that you get fired up draw on what is meaningful, your values and also your strengths, so even if you aren’t clear on those other three areas, your passion can be a very good indicator of your purpose in life.
Zoom out from your thoughts for a moment and think about what gets you ranty.
What is the injustice that you feel emotional about, or the outcome you’re passionate to see?
Be very specific about this.
Think about situations or injustices or exciting innovations or visions that get you fired up. What are they?
Pulling it Together
I’ll give you an example of how to pull this all together, walking through these four steps.
For me, all areas of meaning are important to me, but self-growth and contributing to society are big.
Below that, my core values are being of service, achievement, innovation, and equal opportunity.
Feedback says my strengths according to the VIA test are creativity, gratitude, perspective and fairness. Client feedback is that I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable. I think I am innovative and have a pioneering spirit and I value achievement.
People come to me when they lack self-belief, when they are bogged down in overwhelm or self-doubt.
What gets me ranty?
Well, I get ranty about the fact that we waste so much food. I get ranty that there are people who could be healthier if they just knew what to do and had support to do it, that we could solve our nation’s health issues if people ate better and were less stressed.
I get ranty that there are people who have amazing businesses that could help so many people – if those business owners just had the self-belief and the means of getting their greatness out into the world.
If I pull this all together, a few things are clear: I am passionate about creating health and wellbeing in the world, but I realise I can have the greatest impact in the world by helping people start business in the health and wellbeing space, and to believe in themselves and back themselves.
That, my friends, is my purpose.