Many people spend more time and energy planning their next vacation than they spend thinking about what they want for their lives. But when the vacation is over, you still have to go back to your life. It’s worth taking a long, hard look at what you love about your life and career, and what you want to change, so that after your next amazing vacation, you can’t wait to get back to your life.
Life design involves many different components, including defining your core values, your current priorities, and your goals. And it’s not just what you want to do, but also who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world.
Life design also includes defining your life’s purpose, preferably in single sentence. This is not because having a purpose will make you any more worthy or valuable as a human. You are already 100% worthy just because you’re human.
The reason I recommend defining your purpose is so that, going forward, you can be purposeful in living your life in a way that is more enjoyable and meaningful to you. If you bring intention to what you want your life to be about and then you go about living that out, it will change your experience.
You Get To Decide
There is no right or wrong purpose for your life. No one else’s life purpose is more valuable than another’s. We adore the Mother Teresas of the world because of their selflessness and impact on others, but not all of us would be happy doing that kind of work, nor would we be as good at it.
Many people who want to create beauty or art worry that that purpose is not as impactful or important as the work of people who are literally saving lives, fighting injustice, or ending poverty. But just imagine a world without human-created beauty: no music, no art, no movies, no performances, no beautiful architecture, no poetry, no pictures, no stories. It would be crushing to our souls. The people who are on the front lines need the beauty that others create.
Others just want their purpose to be taking care of their own families and they worry that that purpose is too small. But size and recognition do not equal purpose. You can have a fiercely purposeful and meaningful life by focusing on your own family. The main thing is to be intentional about defining your purpose and then living it out every day.
This needs to come from you, your heart, and your internal desires. Not what you think you should do. Not what you think others will view as important.
Write It Down
If you knew and accepted that you are already 100% worthy and complete as a person, what would you decide to do with your time?
What delights you? What makes your heart open up?
Write it down. I want to ____________. Or: I want my life to be about ______________.
When You Define It, You Begin To Live It
Because you’ve defined your purpose for yourself, you will start living in a purposeful way. Maybe your everyday life doesn’t change much on the outside, but you will notice an internal shift.
For example, if your life’s purpose is to be a loving mom, then you don’t have to change your external circumstances. You can just be intentionally more present and loving when you’re with your kids. You get to be more purposeful in how you show up as a mom.
On the other hand, maybe you find that it’s time to make some changes in your life to facilitate living out your purpose. Having a clearly written statement of purpose will be your North Star as you make changes.
But even before you make any changes, I encourage you to live out your life purpose in who you are, no matter what your current circumstances are. Write your life purpose on post-it notes around your house, at your desk, and in your wallet. Remember it when you wake up in the morning and reflect on how you lived it out when you go to sleep at night.
You may find that you want to re-define your purpose later down the line. That’s completely fine. It just means that you are following your heart as you go and being thoughtful about how you want to live.
And when you’re thoughtful about how you want to live and you design your life with intention, you will find that you have more of what you want, more of what you love, and more of what matters to you. It will not be perfect because, after all, it’s still a human life. But it will be a life that you’ll love to return to after your next vacation.
Go forth, grow, and bloom.