It’s a well-known proverb that says, “Those who wish to sing always find a song.”  I am not sure anything can be more prescient, in both work and in life.  We need a purpose.  Look around you.  Look at your team at work.  There is a clear distinction between those who act with purpose, and those who don’t.  Those who wish to sing usually find their song.

I am suggesting that we need a purpose.  In life, as in business, why do you exist?  If you went missing tomorrow, would it be noticed?  If your company disappeared tomorrow, would someone miss it?  We need a purpose.  We can all be the ones singing the song.  But how?  How do we find it?

Stop and breathe.  Yes, just stop for a second.  We watch television with an iPad in our lap and a handheld in our hand.  No, life is not going to slow down anytime soon, but you can be in control of your own inertia.  Rather than sit complacently in the boat with no oars, going with the current….put the paddles in the water!  Control your own course.  Stop, breathe, and don’t get to the point where you finally retire and are wondering what the heck did I do the last forty-five years.

Listen to your inner voice.  Inside every one of us is a voice just waiting to be heard.  You head off to work each day, but your little voice says you really love to write.  You love to talk and motivate large groups.  You love to teach.  Inside is a voice that wishes to sing, and you know the song.  You just have to listen.  It’s right there.  If your actions today are not aligned with your inner voice, make a plan and change your actions.

Hug your kids.  If you are fortunate enough to have kids, hug them.  If you did not choose to have kids, or maybe can’t, then find a niece or nephew.  Just hug a kid. Kids are genuine.  Kids keep you young.  They point out the obvious.  They bring realistic perspective to a speeding crazy world.  Oh, and by the way, they grow up in a flash!  Hug them.  You’ll both benefit.

Find a differentiator.  In business, it’s the opposite of being a commodity.  You want to be different.  You are special, and that’s why people come to your store, visit your site, or maybe connect with you on social media.  There is something special about you that makes you different.  In life, it’s the same thing.  Be different.  What makes you stand out from the crowd?  Hone your differentiation.  It will help you in both life and work.

Go for it.  The clock is running.  The clock is always running.  Do you really think you should continue putting off writing that book, running that marathon, starting your own business, going for that next promotion?  What could you possibly have to lose, except the ability to say, “I wish I had”?  You need to go for it!  Stand up, break the chains, and go for it.  This is the best time to do what you’ve always wanted to do!  Listen to your song and sing it!

Define success.  This is a big one.  When it is all done.  When the clock has ticked its last tick, how will you have defined success?  Did you raise three great kids who knew they were loved, and they went on to full and enriching lives?  Success.  Were you fully engaged every single day at work, gave it your best shot, and did what gave you a sense of passion?  Success.  Success has as many definitions as there are people in this world.  You have to find your own definition for success, and then work towards it.  No one can define success for you!

I’m sure each of you reading this list can think of plenty of other ways to find purpose in life.  That’s great.  That’s the point.  It’s about the journey.  It’s about the self-analysis.  It’s about finding your purpose.  It’s about finding your song.