Discovering Your Purpose – and Living It

Everyone wants to be happy. But what if there was more to life than achieving happiness? What if there was a deeper contentment available that wasn’t subject to the winds of change? What if there was a pathway to true peace and joy that offered consistent, lasting fulfillment?

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the author of The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns, there is. Dr. Emmons conducted in-depth research into the way people pursue goals. He discovered that most people spend their lives striving after an unconnected assortment of hopes and dreams. But since those goals come to us haphazardly, they sometimes contradict and seldom fit together into a coherent whole.

As Dr. Emmons looked into these things, he discovered that there was a way to experience greater fulfillment, deeper relationships, and more consistent peace. But if we’re going to do it, we must give up our pursuit of fleeting happiness and chase after something more substantive.

What is a Central Guiding Principle?

Brian Tracy, a leading authority on human potential, once said, “Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.” This is what we mean when we talk about a central guiding principle. It’s the one thing that supersedes all others in your life. And when it’s in place, every goal you set will naturally flow out of it.

But what kind of goal or principle could touch on everything you want to achieve in life? After all, most people compartmentalize their lives, keeping their job, relationship, and other parts of their life totally distinct and separate. According to Dr. Emmons, a spiritual or transcendent purpose can tie these various threads together and offer you several powerful benefits in the process. According to his research, when a spiritual principle lies at the heart of your life, you’re more likely to experience psychological well-bring, have a greater sense of meaning, and feel more at peace with every aspect of your life.

As Jack Canfield puts it in his book, The Success Principles, “with a purpose, everything in life seems to fall into place.” Here are a few of the things that could fall into place in your life once you operate out of a stable central guiding principle.

How a Central Guiding Principle Empower You with Meaning

As we’ve already mentioned, when you live out of a central guiding purpose, you will have a greater sense of meaning. This is one of the key findings from Dr. Emmons research. Because of this, you’ll be more fulfilled and willing to do the hard work needed to achieve your goals. When you understand why you’re working, it’s far easier to put in the effort. In fact, knowing that your work is endowed with meaning can make the entire process much more enjoyable.

How a Central Guiding Principle Helps You Set Better Goals

In addition to offering a greater sense of meaning, your central guiding principle can also help you set better goals. As we briefly noted earlier, without a clear purpose at the heart of your goal-setting process, you’ll inevitably end up with a disjointed series of hopes that may even be at odds with one another. But, as Jack Canfield has said, “Once you know what your life purpose is, you can organize all your activities around it. Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose.”

Why waste time pursuing a goal that won’t get you any closer to your central purpose? When you have a central guiding principle, you won’t. You’ll streamline your life so that you only spend effort and time on the things that actually matter to you.

How a Central Guiding Principle Helps You Cope with Life

But having a central guiding principle won’t just help with goal setting or having a greater sense of meaning. It can also help you cope with life when you face struggles, trials, and grief. This is something else that Dr. Emmons research uncovered: When you have a broad spiritual vision driving you forward, you’ll see life as a sacred task infused with divine life and meaning. As a result, problems and griefs won’t just be problems and griefs. They’ll be opportunities for divine grace. And they’ll be understood in the context of a larger whole.

Developing a Central Guiding Principle

So, how can you develop a central guiding principle in your life? Your life’s deepest purpose isn’t always obvious. But if you ask yourself the right questions, you can discover it. If you’re ready to identify your central guiding principle, start by reflecting on these prompts…

  1. What things, activities, people, or events give you the deepest sense of meaning and purpose?
  2. What are you attempting to do in life? What do you hope to get out of it?
  3. Where do your most consistent passions lie?
  4. When do you feel the strongest connection to others?
  5. What makes you feel most strongly as if you’re contributing to your larger community?
  6. What legacy do you want to leave to the generations who come after you?
  7. When do you feel the greatest sense of transcendence?
  8. How do you see life fitting together?

As you think about the answers to these questions, there’s a good chance that certain themes and ideas will recur. Sift through those repeated concepts, refining as you go, until you’ve got a clear central guiding purpose. Once you’ve got your life’s principle, write it down on several note cards and leave it scattered in different places where you’ll regularly see it. Allow it to become a constant companion and meditation. Then, begin to live your life out of that principle, making goals and pursuing dreams accordingly.

How Can a Coach Help You With Your Central Guiding Principle?

If the idea of a central guiding principle is new or foreign to you, developing yours may prove to be a challenge. That’s why having a coach who’s able to guide you through the process can be indispensable. He can help you go beyond the questions mentioned above, guiding you via visualization techniques to an even deeper level of understanding. Not only will you have a clearer picture of your central guiding principle, but you’ll also have more confidence in your knowledge of it.

But that’s not the only way that a coach can help you. He can also work with you to develop the smaller goals that flow out of your central purpose. To put it briefly, a coach can help train you and set you on the starting line of the rest of your life – so you’re ready to run the race and win the prize waiting for you at the end. Need coaching? Contact me today about my special coaching packages.