How to Find Your Purpose and Live With Passion - Four Rules for Living an Extraordinary Life


When people work toward and achieve a goal that truly matters to them, they feel energised, focused, and excited about life.

As humans we naturally seek a sense of purpose and/or accomplishment in areas that are important and meaningful to us. We like to contribute, to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves, to make a difference, to feel as though our lives have meaning. It makes us feel good. It gives sense to our being here.

It is about living your life fully, consciously and in the present

Why is it important to be clear about what you want, make it big, make it matter and make it happen?

The answer is simple: it will make you happier.

To better understand why they are so important, let’s take a closer look at each of the four aspects of living a kick-arse life:

  1. Be clear about what you want in life.
  2. Make it big.
  3. Make it matter.
  4. Make it Happen

Be clear about what you want in life

Knowing what you want — what you really, really want — in life, is a fundamental requisite to living fully. Deciding what you want in life paves the way for living your best life. It puts you in control of your future.

‘If you don’t know what you want then you will end up working for or following someone who does. Anytime you are not hard at work on your own agenda, you are working for somebody else’s.’

Andrew Halfacre

When I first came across this quote I had to read it a couple of times to fully comprehend the strength of the truth it speaks. You may choose to reread it yourself. Surely life is too precious, too short to spend it in anything but a leading role.

This is your life. Choose to spend it centre-stage — not standing left-of-stage being told what costume to wear by someone else sitting in the director’s chair. Deciding what you want is the way to write the script of your very own screenplay.

Make it big

When it comes to truly living your life, size does matter!

As you begin to consider what you want for yourself, decide now, to make ‘it’ big (whatever ‘it’ is). Achieving a great goal requires persistence, inner strength, and unfailing motivation. I summarise these as ‘passion’.

It is difficult to maintain such a level of desire, if what you want is relatively small or ordinary. You need your desire to be strong, all-consuming even, so that your eagerness for your goal will be such that it will keep you on track even when you get weary along the way.

How big is ‘big’?

‘How big is big?’ you ask. Big enough that the thought of it makes you feel both excited and scared at the same time. Nervous, yet intrigued. A ‘big’ goal is one that will stretch you. That is, one that will require you to step outside your comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory. It will make you feel uncomfortable. It is supposed to!

Of course, what is a big goal for one person may not seem so big for another. It will depend on your starting point. For example, setting a goal of running five kilometres three times a week may initially feel like a big goal for a non- runner, whereas for a more experienced runner, setting a goal of running a half or full marathon might be the equivalent big goal.

Big goals, by nature of their ability to stretch you, are — as we have already discussed — very powerful. Take the example above, again. Which option is more exciting or inspiring: running five kilometres or running a marathon?

And taking a different example, which is more exciting or inspiring: looking for a new job doing what you currently do, only elsewhere, or finally starting that business you have always wanted to in a completely different industry?

It is almost as though big goals have a magnetic force that draws you toward them.

Big goals excite you, inspire you, scare you and make you feel alive – the vital ingredients that will not only get you in action, but keep you in action.

Continuously stretch yourself

I advocate actively working toward at least one huge, gigantic, fantastic goal that stretches you (and seriously puts you outside your comfort zone), at any one time. Choose a goal that, once accomplished, will have the most significantly positive impact on your life.

This will ensure you are never standing still, always challenging yourself, always feeling inspired and excited, always putting yourself out there beyond your comfort zone, and always moving forward.

Of course, not all of the things you will identify as wanting will necessarily be big or require significant change. They won’t. But allowing yourself to think big may enable you to see possibilities and identify ideas you would not otherwise consider. Often it only takes one gem of an idea to change the direction of your life.

Make it matter

It makes sense that what you choose for yourself in life needs to matter deeply to you. We have already talked about the fact that working toward and achieving a goal fulfils our sense of purpose and makes us feel good. For this sense of purpose and/or accomplishment to ‘sustain us’ (allow us to continue to feel good over the medium to longer term), what we are doing also needs to be important and meaningful to us.

Statistics suggest that up to 80 per cent of people are doing work they don’t enjoy. Put another way, four out of every five people spend a third of their lives doing something that makes them unhappy. Isn’t that alarming! I suggest this figure is so high simply because people aren’t doing work that matters to them. Few people — too few, clearly — give any consideration to what personally matters most to them when job-hunting or choosing their careers.

People tend to look for work that is a good fit for their skills and experience, that preferably pays well, and that, if they are lucky, is something they will enjoy. I suggest that few people consider what most matters to them. Yet the upshot is that if what you are doing and how you choose to spend your time doesn’t matter sufficiently to you, you won’t enjoy it. You may initially, but not over the longer term.

Does the work you are currently doing truly matter to you? Does the way you choose to spend your time reflect what personally matters most to you?

Make it happen

Of the four aspects of living a kick-arse life — be clear about what you want, make it big, make it matter and make it happen — making it happen is unquestionably the point at which your life changes.

You could be clear about what you want in life, make it big and make it matter (the first three elements), but until you make it happen, nothing in your life will change. Making it happen requires action. And now. Making it happen means you stop waiting, stop making excuses, and stop letting fear stop you. It requires you to step into the driver’s seat and start living big, exciting, life-changing goals.

If everyone chose to live a kick-arse life, the worldwide phenomenon of waiting would cease. The Waiting Epidemic would be over.

If you haven’t already done so, I challenge you to make the decision right now: decide to stop waiting, and start living your life, effective immediately. It is time to live a kick-arse life. That is, to be clear about what you want, make it big, make it matter and make it happen.

State New Zealand Swimming Awards, 12 April 2014Shelley Brunskill-Matson is the author of What Are You Waiting For - a Practical Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making It Happen Now. A life coach, mother of four and competitive dancer, Shelley is passionate about life and helping other live to the full.

Click Here to watch a free video interview with Shelley where you'll get more of her motivation strategies and tips to overcome fear, stop waiting and start living.


Top photo credit: Impossible? via photopin (license)