Purpose gives us meaning and direction. Like a compass, it guides us so that we don’t drift along in the ocean of life aimlessly. The word purpose can feel so BIG and OVERWHELMING that most people don’t really try to engage with it beyond the surface level. But all purpose really is, when you strip it down to its fundamental basics, is the sweet spot where your highest Values, Talents, and the Difference You Want To Make in the world intersects. At least, that is my favourite way of defining purpose.
Journal Prompt: Using your talents, what difference do you want to make in the world, that is most aligned to your values?
Purpose is the defining thread that runs through your life and connects all of your experiences. It’s not so much about what you do or how you do it. It’s about Why you want to do it and aligning the Who behind it all.
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by information on various platforms, it becomes vital to have a clear sense of Who we are. A clear understanding of our values and talents is critical to developing this sense of self. It helps us to take action from a place of intention. When you know your Who and your Why, you will be well-equipped to handle life’s toughest challenges.
“He who has a why to live for, can bare with any how,”
- A Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl.
As a coach, I have seen firsthand just how much people struggle to articulate their purpose. Research by the University of Scranton suggests that 92% of people never achieve their goals; I can only imagine what the stats might be for people who never fulfill their purpose.
Here are 4 simple steps to not only get you started on living a more purposeful life, but also to move you to taking action.
Step 1: Write Down Your Purpose Statement
Get a pen and write down a brief statement of what your purpose is.
Here are some guidelines:
Purpose = Highest Values + Core Talents + Difference you want to make
To get some inspiration, ask your family or friends to share stories with you where they witnessed you doing something truly amazing
Think about times in your childhood or adulthood where you felt connected and genuinely tuned into what you were doing
Relax and write down whatever comes to mind first
Step 2: Bring it to life
Develop an action plan to bring your purpose statement to life. Start small and scale from there… don’t go quitting your job in corporate finance tomorrow because your purpose is to travel the world providing free medical advice in third world countries. You can and will make the difference you want in the world, start small and scale from there. The key is to take action, one step at a time. Make it real and make it SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound).
Step 3: Get an Accountability Partner or Coach
Having an accountability partner or coach can mean the difference between success or failure. The right accountability partner or coach will not only guide and motivate you, but will also make sure that you remain committed to your actions. A good accountability partner/coach will also brainstorm and problem solve with you through tough times to make sure you stay on track. So choose wisely, and make sure you choose someone you can trust and learn from.
Step 4: Make a Commitment Make a real commitment to yourself to follow through. Some of the worlds greatest leaders have attributed their success and motivation to living out their purpose daily. You are great, you were born with the potential to do whatever you set your mind to. Commit to taking action and living out your purpose daily.
Like Mark Zuckerberg said, "Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness."
Your were born for a purpose. Now, go on, create your own true happiness.