The Three Purposes in Life 3

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phoenix-bird-image edit2There’s a lot of writing about finding your purpose in life.  Which is great, but I think there’s some confusion about what we should be concentrating on when it comes to purpose.  I propose that rather than one, there are really three main purposes to life.

Your Effortless Now Purpose – This is who you are and what you do moment to moment that is effortless for you.  It’s you when you’re most authentic, what you’re already great at, and what fills you up with energy.  There’s your being (i.e., compassionate, curious, playful) and then there’s your doing (i.e., leading, helping, listening).  Your job with this purpose is to get clear on your top attributes for being and doing, and then do more of that in each moment.  I suggest starting with a strengths test.  My favorite is the Realise2.

Your Life Lesson Purpose – This is what you’re on earth to learn.  Ask yourself, if your life were a novel with you as the main character, and this character was supposed to be learning something, what would that be?  Another question is, what did you most need growing up that you didn’t get?  Maybe your purpose is to give yourself what you most long for.  Learning this lesson can take tremendous effort, which is why it’s important to practice Your Effortless Now Purpose first.  Get filled up with energy before tackling Your Life Lesson Purpose, and if you identify several, don’t try to learn more than one lesson at the same time.  Practice one lesson for a month.  Read up on it.  Take a personal retreat.  Talk to professionals.  And at the end of the month, see if you want to continue with that lesson or pick up a different one for a while.

Your Creating Purpose – This is what you want to create in the world, how you’re going to make a difference.  It most likely flows out of the two purposes above.  Ask, knowing my essential being and doing, and the biggest lessons of my life, whether learned or still learning, what do I want to create in the world?  This can be stated in grandiose terms (“I help people be happier”) or more specific terms (“I will create a nonprofit Foundation for Children’s Happiness.”)  Whether you settle on a Creating Purpose right away or not, I strongly suggest creating a Purpose Project.  This is a project you can do in the next thirty days that has some clear intended outcomes and will move you toward your grand goal.  (Of course, your goal doesn’t need to be grand.  Maybe you just want to do a bit of volunteer work.)

Know that all three of these purposes are not fixed, but will change over time.  You may find you’ve learned one life lesson well, and it’s time to consider a new life lesson.  As you grow, your authentic self will change.  As you make progress towards Your Creating Purpose, you’ll find it morphing into something new.  This is to be expected.  The important thing is not the destination or the product of the creating, but the intention we are setting, and our authenticity while we practice living on purpose in each moment.

The Purpose Practice Workshop Series

If you live in Madison, you can journey with other purpose-seekers in a seven-week workshop series.  You’ll get tools and skills to:

      • Know your purpose
      • Live each moment on purpose
      • Build a foundation for a purposeful life
      • Get past blocks to living fully on purpose
      • Make a difference in the world

Plus you’ll get the support and wisdom of your fellow purpose-seekers.  The facilitators are Steve Hingle, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, and Steve Davis, Coach and Master Facilitator.  We also plan to develop the workshop into a teleconference offering in the next year.

The series starts on March 27, 2014.  For more about the workshops and to sign up, please visit