To harness the power of purpose in your life, you must have some larger purpose that you are living and working for than just yourself.
If you have kids or animals in your life, you’re in luck – these are two paths to purpose.
Purpose allows you to tap into the rich happiness of getting beyond yourself. By touching other people’s lives research shows you are happier. Each time you’re able to fulfill someone else’s needs, when you can contribute to someone else’s well being and happiness, you get a shot of happiness.
I grew up with dogs, and the mutual caring between us was one of the biggest gifts of my childhood. I have cats now, and it’s a similar feeling.
Erin MacLean rescues and foster stray cats in Turners Falls, MA. She isn’t part of any organization, she just does it because animals are her passion, an example of connecting with purpose on multiple levels. She told me, “It is stressful to rescue and foster cats and can be expensive. But, I’m helping the cat and she’s helping me. It gives me purpose – it makes me feel like I’m doing something more important than me. We help each other.”
I used to lead outdoor education and team building programs for school children. My favorite age to work with was the third and fourth graders. To be able to touch their world, and to have their view of life, and excitement about simple things touch me was a gift that I carry with me today.
Walt Whitman spoke of this connection to purpose when he said, “I am filled with them and will fill them in return.” He was a generous man, and a generous poet. His poems wind and leap with enthusiasm. He wrote for everyone, he praised everything, and appreciated everything he saw. And even though it pained him that his poems were largely unaccepted in his life time, his optimism pushed through, perhaps because of his deep connection with purpose.
Are there children or animals in your life? How do they connect you with purpose? If not, what does connect you with purpose? What happiness does that connection with purpose bring you?