Purpose results from doing things according to your values. Living to your values gives you a sense of purpose and that purpose gives life meaning.
So, what are your values? Values are about your ideals in life, the principles and beliefs that you hold dear. Our values guide us and motivate us.
Many times, people have asked me for advice on what to do in a challenging situation. My response is to ask who they want to be in this this situation. In a difficult situation, values ask us who we will be, not what will we do.
Values are not something we can accomplish. They are different from goals. You can set a goal and know whether you have achieved it. You can write a goal down and cross it off your to do list when you have completed it.
A value is not something you achieve or cross off. It is something that you live.
You might have honesty as a value. Being honest every day is a goal that is in line with your valuing honesty. When you see someone drop a $20 note your values are called into account.
Do you pick up the money and return it to the unwitting person or do you keep it? This is YOUR decision and unless you make it according to YOUR values you are likely to feel uncomfortable.
Any time you are faced with a moral or ethical decision try asking yourself, “who do I want to be in this situation” rather than, “what will I do?”.
Examples of values are caring, achievement, humour, harmony, gratitude, self-discipline, truth, integrity, fun, friendship, connection, making a difference, giving back, helping.
There are many online resources to help you to identify your values.
Busyness cannot replace purpose. And it is living with, and on, purpose that provides meaning in life.
Judy Rafferty is the author of Retirement Your Way, A Practical Guide to Knowing What You Want and How to Get It. Available at all good bookshops and online.