25th November 2014

Simple Question: What’s Your Purpose?

It sounds simple enough: but what is your purpose? Surprisingly, many of us seem to have no idea. We might say our purpose is to earn enough money to pay the bills. Or maybe much more.

So what’s yours? Just write down, “My purpose is to…” and trust your unconscious, which knows a lot more than you do, to fill in the gaps. Notice your own inner response to this question. What arises: a little curiosity, a fear that nothing will arise, a belief that purpose is not for today?

Some university students we work with are thrilled to realize they can have a purpose of their own; not their parents’, not society’s, important as they may be. When we work with business executive in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, we find they have often lost sight of their purpose, if they ever articulated one. But it’s still possible. It’s always possible.

It’s likely to be linked to some talents that you have. You may or may not have explored them, you may have some sense of something that you could do really well. OK, how could you use it? I came across something really nice on Shutterstock the other day, “The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away”. 

Now here’s the thing: only you can discover it. You don’t have to get it word-perfect right away; having some sense of it will be fine. And whatever you come you come up with you can review and change. Regular readers will know that my “Help people improve the way they do their work” of ten years ago has morphed into “Enable people to lead their lives with grace and flow”, or simply “Lighten up”. 

You can choose something similar or very different. Personally, I believe in the idea of purpose not as an obligation, but as a way of leading yourself and others powerfully. Sensing purpose you can more easily spot opportunities that align with it. If you don’t know your purpose, I’ve suggested in a little book entitled Why You Are Here – Briefly that your immediate purpose is to know your purpose.

With the benefit of an overall purpose your purpose in particular situations may become clearer. At the start of any meeting, you can ask yourself “What is my purpose in being here?” Give it a minute and you can usually find a more interesting answer: something that really fits with your bigger picture.

There’s another bonus. Once the focus of your life is on purpose you stop worrying about some stuff. Instead of being concerned about whether I am enough, the focus is: how well am I living my purpose? Finally I can forget about myself and get on with the purposeful work. So can you.

Leadership Purpose Taster Module -

Posted by Nigel Linacre

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