We all need a reason for living and the stronger the reason, the more motivation we have. You can think of your life's purpose as something you do, such as being a good parent, or good husband/wife. Or, you can think of your purpose in terms of achievement such as being successful or helping others. I found that a better way to distinguish my purpose from my achievements, which can be ego driven, is to focus on my values. I demonstrate my purpose every day through my actions in the way I treat people and the way I react to life's challenges. Who you choose to be is the code of honour that you live by.
Unfortunately most people have never really thought about their values in depth, they usually have a vague idea but not enough to give them a clear sense of purpose. Knowing and living according to your values has a number of benefits. Firstly by making a commitment to demonstrate your values on a daily basis you have a very clear code of ethics and standards to live by, this makes it easier to respond positively to the ups and downs of daily living. Secondly, by choosing to act on these values you break the pattern of reacting, and this is how you change old beliefs and create new beliefs about yourself. And most importantly acting on these values makes you feel happier.
Let me give you an example of how this works. If a person cuts you off just as you are about to drive into a parking spot, think about how you want to act . If you reacted you might be tempted to make a rude gesture, give the other driver a black look, scream abuse or mutter to yourself ¾ you could even go so far as to let another person's actions spoil your day. Or, you can make a conscious choice to act like the person you choose to be. If, for instance you choose to be a kind person you might let the other person have your parking spot. You might even feel irritated for a short while, but you will feel good about yourself and the way you behaved therefore turning a potentially negative experience into something positive. Acting on your values is a form of self mastery.
When you react you give your power away. All you have to do is observe the world around you and you will see people reacting constantly, and it doesn't make them happy. When you consciously choose to act on your values you not only feel good about yourself, you reinforce your chosen beliefs. When you act consistently on your values your perception about what you can be, do and have changes, and the world in turn changes its perception of you.
When you give you also need to receive otherwise it's easy to burn out or become resentful and the easiest way to create a healthy balance between giving and receiving is to know and then live by your values. I break values up into two groups which I call being and having values. Your being values are the character traits of the ideal person you would like to be. I suggest to my clients that they choose three being values that they are willing to make a commitment to live by. An example of some being values are: kind, loving, generous, inspirational, peaceful, wise and even powerful. By acting on these values you give to others through your actions and you inspire others by being a positive role model. Mastering being these character traits becomes your life purpose.
Your having values are the feelings you need to create in order to be happy. These could be companionship, achievement, support, being valued or financial security. This is what you receive and value. You take responsibility for filling your own needs by taking steps to create these feelings and conditions in your life.
When you make a commitment to live by your being values it becomes easier to make conscious choices rather than reactionary ones. If your usual pattern is to talk about your problems, you could choose to think and act like a calm person. A calm person might go for a walk, meditate, or set a time limit before responding. If your usual pattern is to worry, you could choose to act like a responsible or wise person. In other words you would act like the person you choose to be ¾ this is the key to personal power.
When you choose to act on your values you not only feel good about yourself, you reinforce your chosen beliefs. Over time acting in this way changes how you perceive the world, and in turn the way other people perceive you.