11/19/2013 05:36 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Living With Purpose: The Key Ingredient to Meaningful Work

"Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it."

Gautama Buddha

With autumn in the midst of causing the beautiful trees to shed its leaves, the temperature dropping and darkness settling in earlier at night, I find that people tend to go more inward and reflect upon where they are in life. This self-reflection can oftentimes bring up a magnitude of feelings and anxiety. Especially with the thought of January 1 being around the corner. Another year - and wondering where has time gone? People wondering whether they're happy in their jobs and lives. In those moments of self-reflection, have you ever asked yourself the following questions?

• What on earth am I here for?
• How am I going to have an impact in this lifetime?
• How can I make a difference in this world?
• What will it take for me to do something awesome with my life?

And most importantly...

  • How do I go about it?

Well, believe it or not, the answer can most likely be found somewhere within the 168,123 books available on addressing the topic of life purpose. All joking aside, living with purpose, in my opinion, is truly the key ingredient to meaningful work (and your life). Yet, in our busy-ness (or business), we go on autopilot and detach from what would help us find our purpose and, most importantly, then to take action upon it.

So, you don't have to plow through all those 168,123 books on, I thought I'd give you a few steps to help you define what living with purpose means for you:

1. Which three celebrities, historical figures or icons most reflect how you would like others to perceive you? X meets Y meets Z.

Why is this a good exercise? You'll find that the people you admire most have traits that you'd like to bring more to the forefront yourself or further develop. They're essentially your mirror to what's going on inside of you.

2. Develop your life's mission statement.

This is about personal responsibility and a commitment to yourself. The purpose of this step is to define who you are, what motivates you and what is important to you. A lot of times we procrastinate because what we think we want in our head is not really what's in our heart. It's the same as building a house; you need to construct a strong foundation before you erect the walls.

Mission Statement
A one-sentence statement about what you stand for in life. What is your life's mission or what would you like it to be?
Foundational Beliefs

I believe:

  • List of what systems drive your intentions? For example: Taking great satisfaction in my work helps propel my company's growth.

Foundational Values

I value:

  • List what is most important to you in achieving your life's mission. For example: Commitment to family.

3. Prepare your inspired action plan and act upon it.

Here you get motivated and synchronize your inner desires with your outer world. The purpose of this step is to help you with moving from a procrastinator to a creator. Now you're "igniting the fire in your belly" with a plan on how to get there. You create a fun action plan. In your journal or notebook allow for a column for each of these items:

- Results
- Purpose
- Date Due

Then chunk your activities. For example: I will be promoted to X position. Chunk this activity into steps, such as: Monday, I will meet with my boss to discuss my career focus. By date X, I will put together a list of leadership training classes I want to take.

To help you get clear, think in these terms:

  • What are the quantifiable results? For example: I will have increased my salary by 10% by December 31, 2013.
  • What's in it for you?
  • What is the reason you want this so badly?
  • List date which is attainable and realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure.

4. Review your successes and reinforce self-rewards.

Here's where you remember that it's just about taking one step at a time. You don't beat yourself up incessantly; you forgive yourself when you slip up and encourage positive think and speak with yourself.
The purpose of this step is to validate that you're on track. Continually review your inspired action plan and acknowledge yourself for achieving what you set out to. Motivate yourself with positive words in your mind and out loud! And if you didn't achieve everything you set out to, remind yourself that you're human and move on. You have the opportunity to start all over again.

Here's to you finding your purpose and then putting your whole heart and soul into it! Also, I'd love to have you visit my website to get more tips on how to lead with soul and purpose in life and business.