Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Tombstone Test: Will death become you?

As a business psychologist, I get involved in a a fair amount of coaching. Everyone wants to be more successful and to achieve more.

But sometimes people are a bit hazy in their goals. Do you know what your purpose in life is?

It sounds very grand to say that you have a purpose in life. But a purpose (or some people like to call it a vision or mission or life direction - it really doesn't matter what it's called) will save you a lot of grief when it comes to making career and life decisions.

The way to figure out your purpose in life is to take the Tombstone Test: What would you like to have written on your tombstone?

Is your purpose in life to be successful working in a bigger business for someone else? Or to set up your own business? Perhaps you want to be remembered as a famous author - in which case you'd better start writing that novel soon, hadn't you? Or maybe your life purpose is nothing to do with work, but to do with your family or your spiritual beliefs? In which case perhaps you need to take a less stressful and more fulfilling job to allow you to pursue those outside interests.

Only when you know your purpose and direction can you invest effort in achieving it. There's no point 'working hard' or trying to 'achieve more' if you don't know what you're working towards or trying to achieve.