That's maybe the most important question that our planning process helps people to answer. If the purpose of life was just to make more money, then no one would ever stop working. The best uses of our time and our money lead us to more meaningful experiences that help us to grow as individuals, connect to our loved ones, and make a positive impact on the world around us.
If the hustle and bustle of life and work have come between you and your sense of purpose, try this three-step process to get back in touch with what matters the most.
1. Reflect on your purpose.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle between ourselves and our sense of purpose is finding time to reflect. Schedule a block of time to simply sit, relax, and think about where you are in your life right now. You might try meditating, journaling, or even light exercise as a way to tune out the rest of the world and clear your head.
So much of our identity is wrapped up in what we do for a living that it's important to think beyond how we earn money. Think about the people who are most important to you and how you work on those relationships. Think about the interests you had when you were younger, the courses you took, and how those things led you towards your career or away from another line of work. Envision a week when you didn't have to work at all and think about how you would spend your time.
After working through these questions, you might find that you're already more connected to your life's purpose than you realized. Or you might identify potential changes that you want to spend more time thinking about, such as building more self-care into your weekly routine, taking online classes to learn a new skill, or even contemplating a new career.
2. Focus on the little things.
Very few people get to spend every second of their day doing exactly what they love to do. The trick to getting through the inevitable drudgery is to cherish those moments when you are putting your talents to their most meaningful uses.
For example, the pandemic era has been particularly stressful on medical professionals. Doctors and nurses have had to contend with challenging work conditions, grumpy patients, staff shortages, and delivering the worst imaginable news. But they've also deepened their bonds with coworkers, exercised all their skills and knowledge, learned new things, and helped countless people through serious illnesses.
Every job has those moments of purpose that we should all spend more time focusing on. No matter what you do, there's an end customer whose life you're making better, a co-worker you're teaching or learning from, a problem that you're able to solve, or a family member who benefits from the fruits of your labor.
3. Take more purposeful actions.
If your workday is so full that you can't build more purpose into it, you might need to be more mindful about how you spend your time outside of work. Volunteer at a school or charitable organization. Teach or mentor the next generation of professionals in your field. Wake up an hour earlier so that you can devote some extra time to your exercise goals or hobbies. Invest in more purposeful relationships by leaving work at work and focusing your free time on friends and family.
Or, if your current job just isn't improving your Return on Life, start working on a plan that will help you make a smooth transition into your next act.
We want your Life-Centered Financial Plan to connect your life, work, and money in a purposeful way. Call us up and we can schedule a meeting to discuss how we can help you get more from your money.