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  • 3 Steps To Help Your Teen Find Out Her 'Why' In Life

    Finding her purpose makes your child feel secure and sets her up for success
    by Boris Joaquin .
3 Steps To Help Your Teen Find Out Her 'Why' In Life
PHOTO BY @amnat jomjun/iStock
  • The year is almost over, and it's a great time to reflect on how our life panned out over the last 10 months. For companies, it is usually the season to review what went well and what were the misses to start plotting new goals based on the company vision for the coming year. Have you ever seen a company succeed without a clearly articulated purpose? As a business consultant, clients have tapped me to help craft their corporate purpose and guide the organization towards its fulfillment. 
    Then it dawned upon me: if I help companies to formulate their purpose, as a parent who wants to raise secure and fulfilled children, shouldn't I teach the same discipline to my kids too? 
    I learned about developing one's life purpose through Ken Blanchard and the Lead Like Jesus group. I taught this to my eldest daughter Ysobel, and it helped her choose the strand in senior high, and eventually, the college course to take. And when your children are beginning to leave home for college or to start their own lives and career, it becomes more critical that they have a clear sense of who they are and what they are all about. 

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    How to help your child learn his purpose 

    When your kids walk with a sense of purpose, they walk with a sure footing. They know what they're doing, what they seek to accomplish, and the value of what they seek to achieve. They will also have a clear perspective in the face of setbacks and feel a sense of significance when they know their lives are moving towards something of consequence. 
    How do you teach your kids to discover their sense of purpose? Let me share with you this three-step process that I learned:  

    Help your child identify his strengths 

    What does he know about himself that he is good at? What do you see and other people notice about her or commend her for? Think about two or three of those personal strengths that stand out. 
    Does your child have a knack for tinkering with things – pulling them apart and then putting them back together and understanding how things work? Is he good with people, with friendships or maybe bringing people together? Is she a great storyteller? 
    My daughter is often commended for her kindness, wisdom, and creativity; on the other hand, people usually take note of my energy and people skills, whether I am teaching or working with other people. How about your child's? How about yours? Write these nouns down.

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    Identify how your child effectively influences other people 

    Is he good at listening to people? Do other kids learn a lot from the way she teaches them? Perhaps he comforts others by making them laugh, etc. Have him or her list two verbs that describe how they successfully interact with people. 
    Since I am a teacher by heart, I chose the verbs “teach” and “motivate” to describe how I influence others. Ysobel decided to "encourage, inspire, and give counsel." 

    Ask your child's idea of a perfect world 

    Or in other words, what problem do they want to help solve? This can give you a peek into their vision for the future. It tells you what purpose they might want to work toward to help see happen. 
    It should answer these questions: "What will the future look like if things were running as planned?" "What are people saying and/ or doing?" Now, complete the sentence, "My perfect world is…" 
    In my case, my perfect world is when people know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys. It would be interesting to find out your child's idea of an ideal world! 

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    Now, it's time to put these elements into a purpose statement. Combine your child's standout strengths (two to three nouns) with their effective way of influencing others around them (two verbs) and their description of a perfect world. 
    When my daughter initially drafted her purpose statement a couple of years ago, this was what she came up with: My life purpose is to use my kindness, wisdom, and creativity to encourage, inspire, and counsel others that they might find excitement and joy in walking with God. 
    Here's mine, following those steps: My life purpose is to use my energy and people skills to teach and motivate people to know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys.  
    What does your child's purpose statement draft look like? How about yours? 
    Don't worry about being unsure yet of any of these elements. It is good to have an initial draft and to keep updating it as your child gets to know himself or herself better. Working on your individual purpose statement together will make for some meaningful family bonding. Try working on your family purpose statement too!  


    Boris Joaquin is a corporate trainer, executive coach, and consultant. He is the founder of Project Purpose Philippines, co-founder of Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy, which carries Salt and Light Ventures and is an Investors in People specialist. Boris is married to Michelle Ocampo-Joaquin and has two daughters Ysobel and Julia.

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