Updated: Jun 8, 2021
When it comes to self-optimization, it is important to understand yourself on an intimate level. Understand what motivates, what makes you happy, what makes you sad, your capabilities, and more. However, the very first thing to discover in your journey of self-optimization, before you can take steps to becoming healthier, happier and more successful, is what gives you and your life #purpose or #meaning.
A sense of meaning and purpose
It is something many of us fail to #reflect on, but it is such an important part of understanding yourself and the decisions that you make. I often ask clients "where do you find a sense of meaning and purpose?" and more often than not the response is little more than a puzzled look. As a society, we don't really teach the importance of exploring the meaning and purpose of one's life, which in my opinion is a big oversight.
We do it for our companies
If you ask any business owner around the world what their #mission and #vision is for their company, most would be able to confidently tell you without needing to read it. They likely already know the answer off the top of their head. The mission and vision of the company define principles that they operate by on a daily basis. The mission and vision of a company often shape the culture or personality of the company, while also ensuring that business decisions keep them on a path toward their ultimate purpose.
The challenge of our times
So if a business has a mission and vision, we as humans need a sense of meaning and purpose. One reason why this is often challenging for people to do in relation of their own lives is that we have been conditioned to think of our lives in different contexts. As the parent, the employee, the sibling, the teammate, the spouse, etc.
Now, let me clarify, I said it is a challenge, not a problem. There is nothing wrong with our lives being compartmentalized into smaller parts, however, the challenge is that we tend to forget to consider ourselves as a whole person, rather we think of our different sub-types.
Let's look at Google
Google, one of the world's largest and wealthiest companies, providing technology and tools to make our lives easier. Google's mission statement is "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
That mission statement is the overarching purpose of Google and gives meaning to everything they do, even when they release new products... which then have their own mission and vision. That's right, #Google products all exist to serve the company's overarching mission. That includes, Google Docs, Google Meet, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Drive, etc. The list is extensive. All of those products have their own mission and vision but exist to serve the broader company mission.
Applying Google to your life
As we consider the example of Google, many of us can probably think of meaning and purpose for each compartment of our lives, but we often have difficulty thinking of the broader mission and vision (or meaning and purpose) for our lives. This adds another layer of complexity to our lives because now we have many things that provide different meaning and purpose but that don't necessarily align or compliment each other because their is no overarching meaning and purpose to hold them all together.
We have essentially done things in the reverse order. And if you have ever tried to put together an IKEA cabinet without the instructions, you'll know that the wrong order can lead to a lot of frustration and often needing to start over.
Overcoming this predicament
Schedule time to reflect on your #life.
Write yourself a mission and vision (meaning and purpose) statement for your life. Keep it general. Here are some questions to help.
What is the meaning of life?
What is it that gives my life meaning?
What gives me a sense of purpose?
What gives me joy?
If you could do anything, what would it be?
I want to be remembered for...
I'm really good at...
Consider the different roles that you play in life, write a meaning and purpose statement for each of those. Consider your life's broader meaning and purpose, do they fit?
A sense of meaning and purpose, is otherwise referred to Spiritual Wellbeing, one of the eight pillars of well-being that is essential to your ability to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. The state of your spiritual well-being will heavily impact and dictate the other seven pillars of #wellbeing; #Physical, #Emotional, #Social, #Intellectual, #Environmental, #Occupational, and #Financial.
Therefore, as you pursue a journey of self-optimization, to live your best life, a life of #thriving, it is crucial to consider your spiritual wellbeing and what gives your life meaning and purpose.