I believe you and I are here for a reason. Where? Here, alive, on this planet, and in existence. It’s a big statement, and I know it scares and overwhelms some people, however, our creation is designed to mean something significant. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” This week, I want to help you identify if you have in fact discovered your meaning, or, help you find it, if you haven’t.

Are you ready for the acid test to see if you are already living a life of meaning? This is my acid test, and you may have another way to test it, as may other people. For me, this is a very simple way to identify if I am living on purpose with a life of meaning, or not. It is a two-part test and there are just two questions to answer honestly. The first question; what is your emotional state and response when your alarm goes off in the morning? The second question; are you in the TGIF club?

Let me unpack these questions for you, starting with the first one. When your alarm goes off in the morning – maybe you even wake up before or don’t need an alarm – are you excited about a new day, ready to bounce out of bed, and have a positive impact on the world, or, do you hit snooze multiple times, stick your head under the pillow, and wish you could stay in bed all day? Guess which one of these responses indicates a life of meaning? They are two extremes, and you may find yourself sitting somewhere on the spectrum in between the two. I want to encourage you to reflect for a moment right now to identify where that is. Your life depends on this.

Question two. Are you in the Thank God it’s Friday club? If you are, you are clearly not loving your life from Monday to Friday and you are wishing your life away. Possibly, on a Sunday afternoon your anxiety levels start to rise as you think about having to do it all over again in the upcoming week. This is no way to live and is an obvious indicator that meaning and purpose are not getting much action in your life. So, if you are identifying to this, or know someone who is, I want to encourage you to pay attention and take action. You are worth it, and the world needs what you offer.

I remember clearly two very distinct times in my life when I was hating my alarm going off and was a founding member of the TGIF club. I can also remember how my life seemed tedious, stressful, and meaningless. In both cases I was doing what I thought I needed to do, not what was in my heart or driven by my values. The first happened not long out of college. I had accidentally and inadvertently become a schoolteacher. I won’t get into the full story, but I was doing it more because I was told I needed a job than because my meaning in life was teaching mathematics and physical education. Every day my alarm went off, I felt anxiety fill my body. I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to discipline teenagers, and I didn’t want to teach mathematics. I couldn’t wait for Friday to come, and then I would drown my misery. Then on Sunday afternoon, those feelings of anxiety would start rising again.

The second instance was after about 10 years of personal training. My alarm would consistently go off at 5am and I would not get home again till after 9pm. I was sick of it. I was exhausted. I had lost my passion and it had been replaced by pain. Every morning, after hitting the snooze button repeatedly, I would drag myself out of bed, and every Sunday the whole anxiety driven routine would start again. I felt lost, I felt alone, and my life felt meaningless. Let me tell you when it all changed. It was the moment I stopped worrying about what everyone else expected of me and started following my own gut feeling, which was driven by my values. That is when I made the seemingly illogical idea to write my first book. It was not illogical at all, it was my intuition telling me what was the right path for me.

I want to offer you two thoughts, if finding your meaning in life is a challenge and you are currently wishing your life away. The first is, listen to and act on your gut feelings. They are driven by your values, and they are never wrong. We often ignore our intuition, and I know from painful experience, it always ends badly when we do. The second is to stop and really think about what you do and how it is impacting lives. Often, we focus on the tedious tasks we perform on a daily basis without really understanding the powerful ripple effect that we are creating by doing them.

When I was teaching, I was focussed on the discomfort, the annoying behaviour of teenagers, and the tedious work I was doing. Had I focused on developing healthy, balanced, confident, and well-educated young people who would go on to do great things in this world, I know I would have approached it differently. No matter what you do, when you really examine it, I think you’ll find it is part of the process to improve people’s lives. Focus on that. If what you do doesn’t have a positive impact on lives, I would challenge you to consider changing it and finding something that can bring more meaning into your life.

In my podcast this week called Finding fun, musician, songwriter, and children’s entertainer Jemma Armstrong and I talk all about finding the fun and meaning in life. The bottom-line is that we are here for a purpose. There is meaning to be found in your life, and until you find it, life will be a struggle. When you do, every day becomes an amazing adventure that you can’t wait to get out of bed and bounce into. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? What are you waiting for? Get out there and create a life of meaning.