You should have a theme, a motto, a definite thing that you stand for. Does that sound a bit corny to you? It did to me too until I realized how much having one could affect all aspects of my life.
I’m not talking about a theme song here, even though I have wished my life had a soundtrack from time to time. Instead I’m talking about a saying that represents the concepts you find most important in life.
You might already have one and be well aware of the common thread running through your daily activities. Others have never thought to look for one before.
I never thought to look for a theme in my own life until about a year ago. I’m a seeker, always looking for meaning. I’m always reading, and studying, and trying to figure out the best way to do things. Because of my seeking nature, I’d read often about the importance of finding my purpose in life.
We all have a purpose. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Self-help gurus go on and on about purpose, but no matter how much you hear them talk about it and how much you’ve read about finding your own, you just can’t seem pinpoint one.
I write about purpose a lot myself because I believe that having one puts meaning into everything you do. Finding the theme that runs through your life will help you pinpoint that purpose and move that much closer to connecting with your passions.
Finding your theme is not the same as finding the work that you are most passionate about, but finding your theme will assist you in that journey. It will help you see yourself with more clarity. Once you know your theme you’ll see how you can use your skills to spread that message to as many people as possible.
I’ll tell you about my theme and my journey to discover it to help you understand what I mean. My theme is, “Imagine the possibilities.” My purpose in life is to help others recognize that there are more possibilities for them in life then they may have realized before. I’m a dreamer who helps others dream and turn those dreams into reality. Whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, I’m recording a podcast or taking a picture, I always keep my theme in mind.
I don’t want to do anything that doesn’t align with my theme because when I do I feel inauthentic. If I’m in line with my theme I know I’m doing something that I will be passionate about and will be more likely to be successful.
I first noticed my theme one day when I was sorting through a bunch of poems and short stories that I’d written. I started to notice some commonalities in them. I thought it was interesting so I thought about it a bit. Then I started to notice similar commonalities in the videos I chose to watch online and the images I shared on social media. The words I used to encourage friends and family all had at their core the same message. That’s when I realized that this was my theme. This was the message I most needed to present to the world.
Realizing what my theme was suddenly gave me direction. The work I did all started to have a common purpose. When I set out to start new projects I did so with that theme in mind.
Finding your theme is as simple as looking for unifying messages in your daily life. In case I haven’t convinced you yet, here are five reasons to find a theme for your life.
Having a theme gives you a sense of purpose and clarity in every new project you start.
Being clear about what you stand for will help you find a community to bond with. Feeling connected to others with similar view points brings with it feelings of solidarity. It helps you form new friendships and find new partners.
Knowing what you stand for will help you decide more quickly whether certain opportunities are really right for you. There have been times when I’ve turned opportunities down because they didn’t align with what I cared most deeply about.
Knowing what you stand for helps you find more purpose in the work that you already do. You can find how that work aligns with your theme and emphasize that part of it.
Having a theme gives you a solid foundation to stand on. You feel more confident about who you are and the message you are bringing with you into every situation.
Now that you know how important it is to have a theme you must want to know how to find your own. Here are some simple exercises to help you out.
Make a list of the things you like to do. Do they have any commonalities?
Make a list of your favorite movies, books, and songs. Do they have a common theme?
What topics do you find yourself discussing the most? Do you have a favorite subject of conversation that you just can’t seem to get enough of?
Do you have a favorite saying?
Now that you have your lists look at them carefully and list some common threads that run through all of them. Once you have this list examine the words. Some will resonate with you more strongly then others. Circle the words that stand out to you most. Is there are sentence or saying that sums up the meaning behind these words? You may have to think about that for awhile before you come up with something, but eventually you will. When you do, SHABAM, you’ll have your theme.