Research Paper By Vera Ilnyckyj
(Personal & Business Coaching, CANADA)
Something I hear a lot in conversations with people, and from my coaching clients, is that they are unsure of what their purpose in life is. I think this stems from not being clear on who they are, what they stand for and what is important to them in life.
Many of my peers and clients are going through a transition in their career. They want to focus on something more meaningful, be more fulfilled in their work and feel like they’re making a difference. But what to do? What would lead to feelings of fulfillment? What is it that they’re really meant to be doing?
These can be overwhelming questions that often lead people to feeling frustrated, unworthy or just plain ‘stuck’. I think that at these points in life it is helpful to go back to the basics and gain clarity on “who you are”. But how?
When I was going through my own such transition a few years ago I wasn’t really sure where to begin to answer the question of “what is my purpose?”, but intuitively I started by listing all the things that were important to me and the reasons why. I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of life I wanted to live. I knew about the power of putting thoughts to paper so I bought a journal and used it to write out my thoughts. I hired a coach who suggested a book called StrengthsFinders and it really brought clarity to me about what I was good at (and it made me face my insecurities about asking other people what they thought I was good at).
Around that same time I purchased something from Lululemon and the bag had their manifesto on it. I remember thinking that maybe I need to create my own life manifesto. My own personal life statement. My vision. My brand promise so to speak. And thus, when I was starting my coaching training, and hearing from friends and clients about their own struggles with determining their life purpose, I brought out my notes and developed a structure around finding the answers to some of those questions.
What follows is my attempt at giving people some guidance around answering the question “who am I?”.
Who am I? What is my purpose?
What makes you YOU? What makes you unique and special? What is your unique gift that you bring to the world?
These are questions we all ask ourselves but don’t often make the time to answer.
One way of answering these questions is to identify your VALUES + ASPIRATIONS + SKILLS + INTERESTS to come up with your own personal manifesto or life statement. This will help you answer other questions, such as “what is my purpose?”, “what do I want to do with my life?” or “what is my dream job?”.
We are all made up of a collection of experiences, gifts, talents, skill sets, thoughts, ideas, goals and dreams. Take some time to really think about all the things that make you unique and special.
Use the following exercises to help you create your own personal branding statement, mission statement, manifesto or whatever you wish to call it. These exercises will also help you focus on a possible job/career direction, life purpose and will clarify your unique gifts and talents that you bring to the world.
- Take your time. This is a process and might not be something you complete in a day or even a few days. Ideas may pop into your head at random times so go back and make additions or tweaks as you get these ideas.
- Remove distractions as you do these exercises. Turn off your phone and email and spend some quality time with yourself. It may help to set a timer for 50 minutes during which time you focus solely on the exercise. When the 50 minutes is up take a 20 minute break to do whatever you want.
- Don’t overthink things. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is the best. It doesn’t matter what words you use, in what order, or whether your sheet is a bunch of scribbles. You can always clean things up later!
- Use these exercises as a guide. You may come up with your own way of determining some of these ideas. Do what feels right to you.
- Remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. You have a unique set of gifts and talents that you bring to the world – celebrate that!
- Hire a coach to help guide you through this process.
1. On a sheet of paper write out your VALUES, SKILLS, INTERESTS, ASPIRATIONS. Use the questions in the boxes above to help you with this exercise.
If you need some help with determining your values, there is a great tool from Dr. Demartini that you can use: It’s free – you just need to create an account. Does anything jump out at you? Do you see any patterns? Do any ideas come up for you? What did you learn or rediscover about yourself in doing this exercise? Is a statement forming in your head about yourself?
2. Write out your IDEAL DAY. Write this in the present tense, as if you are already living it. What are you doing? How do you feel? Where do you live? Who do you interact with?
3. Write out your IDEAL JOB or DREAM JOB. Write this in the present tense, as if you are already doing your ideal job. What does your day look like? How do you feel? Why is this the ideal job for you? What are you excited about?
4. Make a list of all the things that are important to you in a job or from a career perspective.
5. Fill in the blank:
I get a real sense of fulfillment when I ________________________________________________. Write out as many answers to this as you can think of. Focus on all aspects of your life – career, relationships, social, hobbies, etc.
6. What are your life goals?
7. Start a bucket list. Keep adding to it as you think of new ideas. Review often and check off the ones you’ve done.
8. Write a list of all the skills, talents and gifts you bring to an employer or client. What are the top 3 things that make you stand out from everyone else?
9. What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet? What do you dream about doing? What is your AUDACIOUS GOAL?
10. Brainstorm a list of companies you’d love to work for or entrepreneurs you admire. What draws you to them?