Finding Your Unique Purpose in the World

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what constitutes a real and meaningful life.

What are the pillars that need to be in place? What has to be clear in our hearts and our minds so that we can not only feel good, but do good in the world as well?

The truth is, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we are all here on this planet to do good. To fight darkness. To call out injustices. To move humanity forward.

That’s not sweet, soft, or simply a cute slogan. It’s a real hardcore truth and mission, grounded in a firm and passionate belief system. Building a meaningful life is both difficult and simple. I believe you have to be passionate about it and purposeful. Disciplined and focused. You have to check in with yourself regularly and repeatedly.

You have to ask yourself: What is my mission? Am I in alignment? Is my intention clear? How and where do I want to move the needle? What do I want my life to stand for? Who is the company I keep?

Over the course of my own life, I have answered these questions in different ways at different times. As I’ve grown—as I have experienced different life experiences—some things have shifted and some things have stayed the same.

What has never shifted is my belief that I am here for a purpose bigger than myself. I used to be afraid of saying that because I thought it sounded arrogant. But, I’ve come to understand that it’s not arrogant at all. We are all here for a purpose that’s bigger than ourselves. Each one of us is unique. Therefore, our purpose in the world is unique to who we are. I’m not here to be like you, nor are you here to be like me.

Do you know why you are here? Do you know your mission?

A few weeks ago, I shared a Hopi Elder poem that I love. What really keeps resonating with me from that poem is the line, “This is the hour.” This is indeed the hour. I feel that now more than ever. This is the hour to check in with ourselves.

Am I living a meaningful life? Is my home aligned with my work? Are my friends aware of my purpose? Am I really living a life that matters?

Over the Christmas holiday, I am going to take a digital break. I want to get away from all of the noise that I hear on social media and on TV. I want to get away from what feels like one big reality show. I want to spend some time asking myself important life questions so that I can begin the New Year in alignment. At the end of the day, it’s up to me to create a life that is in balance. It’s up to me to know my mission. It’s up to me to decide what matters and who matters. It’s up to me to build the meaningful life I want to live. Life is fragile. I’m aware of that more and more every day.

This is indeed THE HOUR, and I want to make the hour matter. So, I’m going to take a digital break so that I can quiet my mind and focus on what I’m building with the blessed time I have on this Earth.

You can still count on a Sunday Paper next Sunday on Christmas morning. We will celebrate our Architects of Change of the Year, recognizing them for all of the hard work they are doing to move humanity forward. Their work is a gift to me, and to all of us, because they are moving us forward in a conscious, compassionate, and caring manner. The following Sunday on New Year’s Day, we will look ahead together and share inspiring thoughts from our community.

Happy holidays. I hope you have a blessed and safe Christmas and New Year.


About the Author

author image

Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today. Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation's premier forum for women, The Women's Conference. Shriver's work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution. Like her page on Facebook or follow her on Instagram.

Read more from Maria Shriver

Sign Up for's Weekly Must-Read

More Posts from Architects of Change