ImageLes Brown, an American motivational speaker, says that we are all born on this planet with a purpose. We all have gifts, a responsibility and an obligation to make a positive impact. Unfortunately, most of us do not know what ourpurpose is and we have to discover it. And worse, we are often unaware that we have to discover our purpose.

Let me define some words for you. I use purpose and mission as equivalent. They are the essense of what we are here for. Having a purpose is way beyond goal setting. A purpose is ongoing, as opposed to a goal which has a definite end to it. I use the word dream to refer to a view of your purpose. It is equivalent to a vision of your purpose. If you write down your purpose in life, it becomes a mission statement. Good companies have mission statements and so can you. So when I talk about having a dream, it does not imply daydreaming or sleeping types of dreams.

Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, describes what he calls habit #2: begin with the end in mind. You must have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. He suggests visualizing your own funeral and imagining what people would say about your life. The idea is to contemplate what you want to have achieved by the time you pass on. Then bring that back to the present and make it your mission statement.

Not having a purpose is like drifting in a boat in the fog. You have no compass and no indication of which way you should go. You have been there for so long. Life seems empty. You can try things, but you never know if you are going in the right direction.

When you discover your purpose, it is like lifting the fog. You can see clearly which direction to go. You can do any number of things to move you in the right direction. You can also see when you are moving in the right direction, which is very important. I define success as moving in the right direction (i.e. folowing your purpose).

How to find your purpose?

Consider the following:

Imagine in the future, just after your death. Write up your own obituary. What would you have achieved in your life? What would others remember you for?

If you could do anything, if you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

If you won a million dollars, and you did not have to work again, what would you do?

Examine your life so far and note which parts gave you the most joy. When we are on purpose, we feel most connected with God / the Divine / the Universe. These times give us clues about our purpose.

Once you have gone through the above. Complete the following:

My mission in life involves _________ others __________

Example, teaching others how to live, helping others to be happy.

A mission statement is positive, involving a contribution of some sort, and should involve other people.

Next, you must write down your dream / your purpose as a mission statement, preferably on a single page. Guy Kawasaki says that to test someone's clarity, ask them to write down their plan on a single page. That goes double when it comes to your dream. The more clarity you have about your life purpose, the greater the impact your life will have.

All this will take some time and effort. But it is well worth it. A dream is like a compass to give direction in life. Every step you make, you can compare it with your dream to see if you are going in the right direction. Without it, you will drift randomly.

Revise your mission statement until you are happy with it. Expect to refine it over a period of several months.

Living Your Purpose

Identify something that you can do each day to move towards your dream. Then do it. A year from now, you would have made 365 small steps towards your dream. As you make progress, you will also gain momentum. Your dream would be a lot closer than it is now.

Every day we make choices, lots of simple decisions, mostly automatic. What I am asking is that you consider your dream, and make your decisions in the light of your dream. Most cases, it will not seem to have any impact on your decisions. It will, however, ingrain a new habit of consulting your dream every time you make a decision.

When a decision comes along that could move you toward achieving your dream, you will be conscious and more likely to take the correct step - a step towards making your dream come true.

Not only that, often decisions have impact that go beyond your conscious. Being mindful of your dream will guide you. It will program your subconscious. Ultimately, through repetition, your subconscious will pick up the habit of making those choices that move you toward your dream. You will then be programmed for success!