The last post in this series looked at purposeful living without the overwhelm. Today I want to share a list of various things you can do to be on purpose and make a difference.
Browse through the list below and use it as inspiration for things you can do. Try what seems interesting or fun or use it as a starting point to come up with your own ideas.
Come up with a couple of small things and commit to doing them this week. It’s time to start living with purpose now.
At Home and At Work
Let’s start with a couple of meaningful and purposeful things you can do around your house and office:
• Organize your desk.
• Learn a new language or skill.
• Pick up a new hobby.
• Reconnect with old friends.
• Write Thank You notes.
• Plan a romantic dinner.
• Plant a garden.
• Cook from scratch.
• Create a household budget.
• Take a continued education class.
• Go back to college.
In Your Local Community
Another great place to look at when it comes to living with purpose is your local community. Where can you join in? And what can you do to help out? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
• Help out an elderly neighbor.
• Trade babysitting services with a friend.
• Attend and help out at a local church.
• Support local charities.
• Run a charity race.
• Help out at your child’s school.
• Volunteer at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen.
• Donate to a local food pantry.
In The World
There’s a lot you can do to make a difference in the world at large.Some of it will mean travel. And that means a bit more planning (not to mention money).
But the internet and global connection mean there’s also quite a bit you can do from home. Here are a couple of ideas for you:
• Join and support charitable organizations.
• Learn about different cultures and languages.
• Support mission trips from your local community.
• Go on a mission trip.
• Travel and explore different cultures.
• Provide financial support to your favorite causes.
• Become active on social media to raise awareness.
I hope these points inspire you to come up with your own list to help you live with purpose right away. Find one or two of them and start implementing them right away.
Then keep coming back to your list for inspiration and to add to it as we go through the rest of this 30- day series
Thinking about finding our calling or our life’s purpose can stir up huge visions. It’s easy to get caught up in these visions.
The ghosts of Gandhi or Mother Teresa can be intimidating. You can become discouraged to the point where you never take the first step.
And no wonder. That type of “goal” is overwhelming and seems unattainable.
The good news is that you don’t have to dedicate your entire life to your calling. It doesn’t have to be this all-consuming thing.
You can make a difference on a small scale. You’ll help the people around you and you’ll gain the benefits of a purpose driven life.
This is something to keep in mind as you discover and fine-tune your purpose.
Here are a few simple examples of things you can do with purpose. They’ll make a real difference in the lives of those they touch.
None of these are very expensive. But they will have a noticeable impact, especially over time. Having a huge calling is nice. But for now, keep your attention on living your life with purpose and intention.
Spending Quality Time With Your Spouse And Kids
Our lives are hectic and busy. Often we don’t spend any quality time with our loved ones.
Instead, we race from commitment to commitment, cramming in a few meals and a bit of parenting here and there. At the end of the day, we collapse on the couch for a big helping of mindless television watching.
Become more intentional and purposeful in how you spend time with your family. Set aside pockets of time each day to give them your full attention. Plan some fun outings and activities. Make this an opportunity to reconnect with the people who are most important to you.
Creating And Sharing Care Packages For The Homeless
Get some large Ziploc bags. You can start by heading to the dollar store. Pack a bag with a few personal hygiene products. Include some non-perishable food and a pair of socks or a hat.
Keep them in your car and hand them out to homeless people you come across.
Adopt A Soldier
Make the day of a soldier overseas with a monthly letter and small care package. Google “adopt a soldier” to learn more and to find a soldier or unit you can connect with.
Decluttering Your Home And Downsizing Your Possessions
Let’s bring it back home for this last example. Living with purpose is all about living with intention.
If you’ve intended to de-clutter your home then work that into your plan. Donate what you no longer need. You’ll see how free you feel when you’re no longer weighed down by all this extra “stuff”.
Notice that you don’t have to go out into the community to live with purpose. Your first order of business is to address your personal life and your home.
Start there and then branch out toward the world at large.
Overheard: “All that counts in life is intention.”
~ Andrea Bocelli
Finding and following your calling is a big part of living with purpose.This can be a large and intimidating task. Especially if you pressure yourself to come up with a quick and perfect answer.
Yes, the goal is worth pursuing. But you’ve also got to realize that it may take time to find your calling.
The process will develop over time. That’s something you can’t force. In fact, a much better plan of action is to take it one step and one day at a time until your calling becomes clear.
Start With What’s Important To You
A great place to start is to think about what’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be huge or all-consuming.
Start with something small. Find a cause you feel drawn to and do what you can to support it.
Learn about your cause by volunteering. Then share what you’re learning with others. Make financial donations to the organization if you like.
This could include knitting baby hats for preemies at your local hospital. Or spending time with an elderly neighbor.
It might mean saving up for a mission trip next summer. The most important thing is to start and do something.
Listen To The Faint Inner Voice
Another great strategy is to listen to your intuition. Pay attention to that small voice that tells you what you need to do.
Learning to listen to this voice can be a bit of a challenge in today’s busy and noisy world. Spend some time contemplating your values. Educate yourself about causes that catch your attention.
Meditation or prayer can help you hear the voice that is your heart. Start taking action on what you’re hearing and what you know you should be doing.
Walk The Path Toward Your Calling One Step At A Time
Don’t let this process overwhelm you. It might be tempting to tackle a huge project and set out to change the world all at once.
While that’s a great ambition, it’s also something that can seem quite daunting and burn you out. Instead, take it one step at a time.
Choose your direction and get in the habit of doing something every week, or even daily. Do the things that align with your calling and help you reach your goals.
Pick something that’s easy to do and fit into your already busy life. No matter how small, every little act and effort helps you to make a difference and to serve with purpose.
We start this fifth day of our series on finding your purpose with a question. What do you do for a living?
That’s a pretty big question, isn’t it? Our job, our career, and how we earn money to finance our life is a big part of how we define ourselves.
It’s often one of the first pieces of information we share after our name when we meet someone else. It’s a big part of our identity and of our feeling of self-worth.
We also spend a lot of time “on the job”. Our 40 hour work week includes commuting. And breaking for lunch. And unwinding from the long day. And of course, work itself.
With this much time devoted to our job, doesn’t it make sense to do something we enjoy and that brings us happiness?
This is why what you do for a living matters. You’re spending a lot of time training for your job, on your job, and thinking about your job.
It’s safe to say that not everyone will end up working in a job that fulfills their purpose in life. But it’s something to keep in mind when preparing to go into the workforce or to switch jobs. Sometimes, a change can be a very good thing.
On the flip side, we need to have a job that pays the bills so we can support our families. If you’re a single mom, you may consider your purpose to be to spend as much time as possible raising your kids.
Stay at home mom may be your dream job. But with no second parent to support your little family, that may not be possible.
This is when it’s time to look outside the box. You can find a way to work from home or bring your kids to work with you.
You can work a couple of weekend shifts while someone watches the kids. This could leave you time to be there for them the rest of the week.
There are ways to make your job work around your purpose, no matter what it may be.
Keep in mind that things don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they seldom are.
Perfection is not the goal. Leading a happy and fulfilled life is.
Think about your current job. Does it work for you? What works well, and what doesn’t? What small changes or tweaks can you make to improve what you’ve got?
In other words, think about how you can change how you make a living to align with your purpose in life. Then plan to put those changes to work.
Overheard: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
~ Winston Churchill
When we start to make a difference and live a purpose driven life, something amazing happens. We become happier and more fulfilled. I’m sure you’ve experienced this.
It doesn’t have to be anything big like going on a year-long mission trip or setting out to rid the world of cancer. Even small gestures that make a difference can have a big impact on how you feel.
We like to help out and make a difference. It doesn’t matter how small the act is. Helping a fellow student pick up a stack of dropped books. Running an errand for an elderly neighbor. Loaning a friend a book that’s changed your life. Reminding a fellow grocery shopper of a left-behind bag. All feel good, don’t they?
We’ve been social creatures who rely on each other for millennia. In that time we’ve evolved with mental and physical rewards for helping out and making a difference. In other words, it feels good to live with purpose. It makes us happy.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why living with purpose is such an important goal. At the end of the day, we all want to be happy, or at the very least happier than we are right now.
Media messages would have us believe that more material goods are the keys to happiness. They insist we need bigger and more expensive houses and cars. And more clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, workout gear and the like.
If only we can buy and accumulate enough “stuff”, we’ll feel better. But it’s quite the opposite. The more things you have the more you worry about their maintenance. That takes away valuable time that you could be spending on something else.
The key to happiness isn’t to own more. It’s to live a purpose driven life and to make a difference in the world.
It’s part of the reason minimalism is becoming so popular. Uncluttering your life calms you. You feel more in control. And you have the time and mental energy to move toward your purpose.
A purpose driven life is one lived within our core values. It caters to our need to cooperate and work together. It strengthens our confidence and makes us feel needed and valuable. We find that we become happier.
The moral of the story is stop buying stuff you don’t need. And, stop chasing that high-paying job that makes you miserable for 60 hours a week. The better choice is to start living your life with purpose.
Before you take step one on the quest for purpose ask yourself a question. Is it all worthwhile?
I hope the first two posts in this series have convinced you of that. The next step is to figure out what exactly your purpose in life is. It’s a pretty big question, isn’t it?
It would be swell if I had a spot on answer for you, but the truth is that our life’s purpose is different for everyone. There is no quiz you can take that spits out the answer. It’s something you have to discover for yourself.
But I do have a few thoughts to share with you that will guide you along the way. In the end, your purpose is very much like true love. You’ll know it when you’ve found it.
What Are You Passionate About?
Start by thinking about all the different things you are passionate about. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of your current work or career, a cause, a hobby, or anything else you can think of.
Make a list and keep adding to it as you come across more ideas. Maybe it’s restoring old cars, redecorating your home, or sewing historical costumes.
What Do You Value?
One good approach to finding purpose is examining your values. What’s important to you? What do you feel would make a difference?
Do you value the right of every child to grow up in a happy home? Then you might make it your life’s purpose to raise foster kids or adopt. Do you value animal rights? You could make it your mission to raise awareness about the plight of wild giraffes in Africa.
What Elicits A Strong Emotional Response?
Think in superlatives. What makes you the happiest, the angriest, or the saddest? Strong emotion is a good sign that you’re very passionate about something.
It’s an indicator that a particular cause or purpose is important to you. It might be a passion for playing the piano. Or your passion for heirloom tomato gardening. Or your burning desire to put a stop to human trafficking.
Last but not least, think about what you enjoy doing. There’s nothing wrong with finding a purpose that is also enjoyable.
In fact, it’s important that you like what you do and are having fun doing it. If it isn’t fun, it’s much harder to put in the work and effort required to reach your goals.
Of course, not every task and every aspect of what you do will be fun. For the most part, you want to find a purpose and a project that has you excited to jump out of bed in the morning.
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
In the Day 1 blog post we examined what it means to live with purpose and we got a brief look at why it is important to do so. Today, I want to dive a little deeper and talk more about it. Make the decision to live your life with purpose. Then see how your purpose can have a profound effect on your life.
It Gives Your Life Meaning
When you decide on your life’s purpose, it gives what you do a lot of meaning. Every step along the way and all the work you do towards reaching your goals serves to bring you one step closer. It becomes much easier to get things done when you do them with purpose and with a firm goal in mind.
It Creates A Value System
Living with purpose also helps you define and set a system of core values. This will guide you throughout the coming years. You don’t have to waste time and energy each day trying to figure out if what you’re doing is right or worth doing. As long as it aligns with your purpose, you know you’re on the right track. That gives you a lot of confidence in what you are doing.
It Increases Your Feeling Of Self Worth
When you are living with purpose and working towards a worthwhile goal, you take a lot of pride in what you do. Each passing day and each small step that you take toward that goal. You’ll notice that your sense of self-worth will also increase. Use that feeling to propel you through the next day and the next challenges ahead.
You’ll notice that your sense of self-worth will also increase. Use that feeling to propel you through the next day and the next challenges ahead.
It Leads To Fulfillment and Happiness
Living a life with purpose gives you a sense of self-worth, and confidence leads to happiness. Give it a try during this 30 Day Challenge and create a purpose for yourself.
At the end of the month, you’ll notice that you are not only more confident, but also more fulfilled. The true secret to a happy life is being completely fulfilled by the life you’re living.
We are social creatures who need to make a difference and have a purpose, a place in society. We may think that material things bring us happiness. But what matters is how much our lives are meaningful, helpful, and purposeful.
You may find a noticeable increase in your happiness at the end of the month.
It’s Good For Your Mental And Physical Health
Last but not least, living with purpose is good for your health. Being needed, being helpful, and adding value to the lives of others. These are sure ways to have a measurable effect on both your physical and mental health.
Living a purposeful life decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It also protects you against depression. In fact, one of the best ways to fight depression is to find meaning and purpose in what you do each day.
Living with purpose. It’s an interesting concept and something that can have a positive impact on your entire life. When we live with purpose, we get more done. We create meaning in our life. And we’re happier and more fulfilled.
That’s why it’s an important topic to discuss. It’s also what inspired me to put together a 30 day series of blog posts around it.
Over the course of the month, we’ll take a look at living with purpose and how we can start to live more intentionally. We’ll look at how this will affect all aspects of our lives. And of course, I will have plenty of hands-on tips and suggestions for you.
Let’s start today by talking a little bit about what it means to live with purpose. In essence, it means that you know what you’re doing.
You have goals and are passionate about what you do. Instead of simply letting the days pass you by, you work with purpose to make the most of each day.
Living with a purpose has a couple of big advantages over mere existence. When you know exactly what you want to do with your life, you have a clear plan or path. You don’t have to get up each morning and then try to figure out what you’ll do. You get into action and keep working toward the goals you set based on your purpose.
You have a clear set of core values that you follow, based on your purpose. This will come in handy anytime you have a decision to make. Think of these values as a compass that keeps you on track.
What’s most important is that living with purpose gives you a great sense of self-worth. You know what you’re doing and you’re taking action toward the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Not only does this increase your feeling of self-worth and self-confidence. It will give a big boost to your happiness.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? We all want to live a happy and fulfilled life with meaning. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about living with purpose.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
~ John F. Kennedy
The end of your life. Something you may not like to think about, but something you’ll eventually face. On the next CHI FOR YOURSELF you’ll hear about the words people say in those final days. Words that don’t make sense to us, but somehow have meaning to the dying.
Our guest decodes the symbolism of those last words. Lisa Smartt will tell us how the language of the dying points the way to a transcendent world beyond our own.
Lisa Smartt is the author of Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death.
Hear the “words” from Lisa Smartt at 4 pm Eastern Time, 1 pm Pacific Time on Thursday May 18th, at chiforyourself.com.