Finding your purpose is like a treasure hunt

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I had the pleasure of attending the Super Bowl in my home state of Minnesota in February along with many of the parties and events leading up to the big game.  One of my favorites is Taste of the NFL, which made its debut in 1992 when Minneapolis first hosted the Super Bowl.

My friend Wayne Kostroski, a successful Minneapolis restauranteur, started Taste of the NFL to address the needs of the hungry and homeless by raising awareness and money through programs and special events.  Wayne saw the opportunity to use the world stage to help those who could not be part of the Super Bowl festivities.  Through his masterful persuasion, he initiated one of the most anticipated, most delicious annual events of the big week.

Chefs and players from all 32 NFL cities donate their skills for a party that raises big bucks to help kick hunger, which affects one out of six people in our country.  The beneficiaries are the Feeding America affiliated food banks in each of the NFL team cities, as well as other hunger relief organizations.  More than $25 million has been raised over the last 26 years, more than $1 million again this year. 

There are plenty of parties during Super Bowl week.  But this one is different.  That's why Wayne calls it "A party with a purpose."  

Everyone needs a purpose in life.  Mine is helping people through business advice from my books, speeches, as well as this nationally syndicated column.  Many people have asked me over the years - and especially the sales reps at our envelope manufacturing company - why I share many success secrets.  My answer is always the same:  I'm happy to offer guidance on business principles and achieving success.  I am grateful to those who mentored me, and I have made it my purpose to help people reach their potential.

Oprah Winfrey, a fellow member of the Horatio Alger Association, said, "Follow your passion.  It will lead to your purpose."

To discover your true purpose in life - not your job or your goals - you'll just need 20 minutes, says personal growth specialist Steve Pavlina.  What he's talking about, he says, is answering the question of why you are here on the planet.

Pavlina learned about finding purpose in a pretty dramatic way.  When he was 19 he found himself in jail for felony grand theft.  When he got out of jail he found he had been kicked out of school.  Then, he says, something clicked.  He woke up and grew up instead of giving up.  He took responsibility for his actions, and he's not in jail or living a life of crime.  Instead, he's helping others find their way to more meaningful lives.

To find your purpose here's what he says to do:   write or type the question, "What is my purpose in life?"  Then write whatever pops into your head.  Repeat this process - keep writing answers - until you hit one that raises your emotion.  You'll know when you've got it, he says.

Life coach Shannon Kaiser has another approach:  You can't think your way into finding your life purpose; you have to do your way into it.  "The more we act, the more we get clear on things," she explains.  "So start taking steps toward your goals and start trying new things . . . .  The experience is the reward; clarity comes through the process of exploring.  Action is where you get results.

"Let go of thinking there is only one purpose for you and embrace the idea that our purpose in life is to love life fully," Kaiser said.  "When we live a passion-filled life we are living on purpose, and that is the purpose of life."

People with a strong sense of purpose know what they want, why they want it, and how they plan to achieve it.  Purpose-driven people get in the habit of doing things they don't like to do in order to accomplish the purpose they have defined for themselves.  

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel made a fortune inventing powerful explosives and marketing them to governments for weapons development.  But when a newspaper accidentally ran his obituary instead of his late brother's, he was concerned that he would be remembered as the man who created methods of death and destruction.  

So he set out to find his real purpose.  He established the Nobel Prizes to reward accomplishments in the arts and sciences that would benefit humanity.

Mackay's Moral:  A life with a purpose is a life full of promise.

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