This is the second of a three-part series on PURPOSE by Kathy Grosskurth, a Crossroads Career Ministry leader at Sweetwater Mission near Atlanta, GA.
In Part 1 of this 3-part series, I shared the crucial first step in making YOUR 2018 a purpose-driven year – Considering your WHY. I explained the importance for small business owners, entrepreneurs and job seekers to undergo a similar process to determine his/her purpose for life and work. I also shared how getting a handle on your WHY drives the entire process from your focus, to your purpose, to tasks, EVERYTHING.
What’s Next? After you’ve defined your WHY, the next steps are to determine the WHAT and the HOW. Related to the WHAT and HOW process is determining your Bliss – those things that bring happiness and meaning to your life. J.P. Hansen, Career Expert, Job Coach, and Best-Selling Author of The Bliss List – Discover What Truly Makes You Happy – Then Land Your Dream Job!, simply defines bliss as “happiness and meaning.” He asks this crucial question: “If you don’t know what you want to do, how can you have a blissful dream job?”
The Bliss List was written to help motivate, inspire, and train folks just like us to follow our dreams. J.P. describes how the process of creating a Bliss List brings one closer to knowing and achieving bliss: “If you view your own bliss as a series of steps, you will constantly be in a dream job state, regardless of your occupation. You will always be living in ultimate bliss.”
He also drives home the point that if we are going to spend an average of 86,000 hours working during our life, then we should be able to experience bliss in our life and work.
Let me share a combination of J.P.’s methods, along with some tweaks I’ve made along the way to provide what I hope to be a straight-forward and intuitive process that is easily started and completed.
The WHAT: Developing The Bliss List. So how do we get started? Well, let’s begin with uncovering the WHAT, which is the actual Bliss List development. Here are the four steps:
- Write down the things that you are most grateful for. According to J.P., this soul-searching exercise is designed to get you focused on all the positive things that have occurred (or are occurring) in your life up to this point. I call this list The Gratitude List because it helps lift the spirits and also serves to break through any mental barriers or walls that may be in place. If you take this exercise seriously, what you should find is that many of the items brought to light are not necessarily “work-related.” Write them down anyway – everything is relevant as you will start to see as we progress.
- Write down what makes you feel the happiest. J.P. actually calls this list “Your Top Fifteen” – but you need not limit yourself to just 15 items. This step is actually similar to the first – but where I believe it differs is that it’s actually focused more on expressing “what makes your heart sing” – even if you have yet to experience these things in your life. Don’t leave anything out – write them down anyway, even if you think something seems silly. These items will all play into the next steps as we progress. And don’t limit yourself to only items that you consider “work-related.” Again, as we progress, you shall begin to understand and appreciate that everything is relevant.
- Write down the things that you dislike. Think about it: how many times have you pursued and taken on activities, projects, or clients that you were ill-suited for? Nine times out of 10, it is most likely because you felt you needed the work, OR you decided that you could deal with X, Y, or Z because the positives outweighed the negatives, OR you were not cognizant of those items being something that actually mattered. I can relate, as I’ve been there, too… and I’ve come to the conclusion that life is too short to waste time and energy doing things I dislike. Therefore, I feel that this step is just as important as determining what makes you feel the happiest: If we know that certain activities may be deal-breakers, then it’s important that we consciously reveal these activities to ourselves so that we are aware enough to adequately address them head-on when they come up. Having this insight will lead and guide us in deciding which projects we should take on and which projects we should avoid, as well as considering the occasional less-than-ideal short-term project with our eyes wide open.
- Narrow down your “Top Fifteen” to “The Top Seven.” As J.P. shares in his book, “Your brain functions like a computer: too many open applications slows down its effectiveness. Many scientists believe that the human brain functions best by handling only seven things at once.” I agree – it’s easiest to focus on a limited number of important options that are easily manageable. So this step is taking the information from “Your Top Fifteen” and narrowing them down to your “All Important Top Seven” Bliss list. When complete, J.P. suggests you “(p)ost this list in plain sight (more on this later) and then tuck a copy in your wallet or purse too. This list is you.” As you synthesize this information, you are actually amplifying and imprinting these ways of thinking onto your brain, which should serve to positively motivate you to continue with the forward momentum you are building to making each of these options a reality!
My final article, Part 3, will focus on the HOW.
Reprinted with permission from Firm of the Future.