Coaching Positively to Increase Sense of Purpose: The Meaningful Life

Using your strengths to serve others or a greater cause increases life satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Life Summary

Write an account of your life as you might want a great-grandchild to perceive it.

What are the things you find most meaningful in life and want to be remembered for? 

Some of these things may already be present in your life, and some may be things you want to move toward.

Focus on maintaining important things already present in your life and cultivating those new things you want to include in your life.

Read this “Life Summary” periodically to maintain a meaningful perspective.

The Meaningful Life is intended to help you gain perspective on what is most important.

Gift of Time or Positive Service

Put your signature strengths to work in service of something larger than yourself. Think about life domains beyond self, such as institutions, groups, and ideals, that would benefit from your gift.

Develop a plan for intentionally using one or more of your signature strengths in the service of this institution, population, or idea.

Go beyond the service you are already engaged in to create and execute a new plan of strengths-based service intentionally.

Fun versus Philanthropy

Plan one act of personal enjoyment and then follow through.

On another day, plan one selfless act to bring joy to another.

Each of these days, fill out the Fordyce Happiness Rating Scale to see what makes you feel better at the end of the day.

Strengths Family Tree

Ask family members to take the VIA and report the results.

Create a family tree and note each person’s strengths on the tree.

For those who are no longer alive, discuss what you think those persons’ strengths might have been.

Once strengths have been listed on the tree, family members take turns telling anecdotes to illustrate the various strengths of the other family members.

Note and discuss any insights arising from knowing each other’s signature strengths.

Variation in a Work setting: Do a team strengths tree. Think through the critical strengths of colleagues, bosses, and subordinates; plan to relate to them differently in light of this information.