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Motivation: 3 Suggestions for Living a Life of Purpose, On Purpose


"There's so many roads that seem, To lead down to the sea.I wonder which road, will be the right one for me?"- Seawind

I heard these lyrics on an old jazz tape the other day. They got me thinking about how so many of us live our lives, sort of making it up as we go along.

So what else are we to do? Good question. Recently, I've been playing with the following notion, "How do we live a life of purpose, on purpose?"

So far, I've been able to come up with three suggestions. Let's take a look at them, and see what you think.

Suggestion 1

Explore and discover what kind of lifestyle and career would get you up early, keep you up late, and cause you to live each and every day with excitement, purpose and passion.

Once we get clear on the answer to that question we are well on our way to living a life of purpose, on purpose.

"So how do I get clear on this?", you may be asking. That's a good question, and speaks to something I try to do in all my work with people. Whether in counseling, speaking or writing, one of my rules is to never make a suggestion, the what, without supplying at least some of the how. That's because "information without application leads to frustration."

The how in this case is what I call "The 3 Vision Questions." They are:

If you could design it anyway you wanted, how would it be?If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do?If you had unlimited resources, time, money and support, what would you do?

The answers to these questions can point you in the direction of living on purpose.

While you are considering this question, be careful not to focus only on work and career. All of these questions and suggestions can be applied to marriage, family and recreation as well. It's like a question from a friend of mine that recently stopped me short- "What would your family be like if you used with them all the energy, ambition and creativity you use at work?" That one got my attention, and I'm working on it.

Suggestion 2

Once you have found what drives you, your passion, if you will, don't get comfortable and begin to settle for less. Commit to always making it better and better. Motivational expert Tony Robbins teaches a concept called CANI for committing to continual improvement. CANI stands for Constant and Never-ending Improvement.

The question we need to be constantly asking ourselves, whether in family life, friendship or career is, "In how many ways can we make this even better?"

One of the problems, as I see it, is that instead of committing to CANI, we tend to commit to CANE. CANE is Constant and Never-ending Excuses. Remember, once we set out to do something, there can only be two outcomes. We either do it or we have excuses why we didn't.

Suggestion 3

I've seen it so many times in my office. People work very hard to achieve the kind of life they desire, and they forget one crucial thing. They forget to enjoy it. Kind of hard to believe, but it happens more often than you think.

When you are living the life you desire, one of the most important things to do is to enjoy it. Doesn't this contradict the CANI approach of constant and never ending improvement? No, not at all. I didn't say to get content and comfortable, I said to simply enjoy what you have worked so hard to achieve.

There's a quote I still remember from my high school yearbook, (Winter Park, 1976). "There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieves the second."

Use the Vision Questions to find your passion, commit to constant improvement, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor. That's a three part prescription for living a life of purpose, on purpose.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.


MORE RESOURCES:

Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription)

Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst for The Chronicle Review
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