Why do you want the things in your vision?
The reason you exist.
Because without a purpose, there is no permanency to your vision; the purpose makes it real.
Purpose – Why Do You Do What You Do?
I bet that the vision exercise got you all pumped up and excited about the future; it’s supposed to be that way. Your vision in its all majesty is nothing but a projection of you into the years to come. You have a lot more work to do to bridge the gap between where you are today and that vision, but that’s because you are only at the beginning.
You cannot go any further until you understand and create your purpose. And please note the word create here. Purpose has had a bad connotation in recent history because many people describe it as something you need to find. You have it, but you just don’t know where it is yet.
The problem is that purpose is not an object or an abstract thing you must locate. It’s not something that the Universe bestowed upon you when you were born, and now you get to spend your entire life looking for it. Purpose doesn’t work like that, and that’s delightful news. If it were something that you must find, imagine spending your entire life searching for it. Instead, which is why I said it’s good news, you get to create it. And creation doesn’t have to wait. You can start today.
The process of creating your purpose is directly linked to your vision and mission in life. Your vision is like a guiding beacon that tells you where to go, and you define your purpose so you can clearly understand why you want to get there. In the next section, you will define your mission, which represents the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ in this equation.
To better understand what purpose means, realize that purpose is the answer to this question: Why do I want what I want? And there’s the proverbial why. You hear about “your why” a lot lately, and it’s used interchangeably with “purpose.” Keep in mind that when you read “find your why,” it’s really “create your why.”
Since what you want is your vision, and that vision is something you’ve imagined, it’s only natural that the reason you have made that vision for yourself is inherently related to it. And that is what you’ll be doing in this step.
Why Should You Care About Purpose?
That’s an excellent question. If you have spent the time creating a vision that gives you a picture of what you want, then why not move straight to what you need to do to get there? Why is purpose getting in the way? Let’s take a couple of examples to make this easier to understand.
Let’s say that “I am a successful cardiologist” is a line in your vision statement. Now let’s ask, “Why do you want to be a successful cardiologist?” Is it because:
- It’s a very prestigious title.
- My community regards cardiologists very highly.
- It’s a narrower field where few people fit.
- I can make a lot of money.
- I get to save people’s lives.
- I want to study heart diseases and leave a legacy of research.
- A close family member died of heart disease, and I want to learn how to prevent it.
- Women love to marry doctors.
- Because I just don’t know what else to do.
- My parents were also doctors, and my dad was a cardiologist, too.
- My parents never went to college, and they kept pushing me to be the first doctor in the family.
- There’s a good college with a good program right next to my house.
Now, some of these are on the nose and overly exaggerated, but you get the point. Your purpose for becoming a doctor might be one or more of these, or a slew of others. Try to picture yourself in this situation and assume that each one of these lines is the sole reason for wanting to become a doctor.
How would you behave differently in each case? What would be your overall approach to your profession? What would you do in your free time? You see, the reason for doing something shapes your attitude and how you behave relative to it. It also shapes how you behave toward others and the lengths you will go to accomplish what you want.
A weak purpose, such as the last one on the list, will not lead to a stimulating approach. An inward purpose, such as the first two on the list, might lead to a lack of care for others. A purpose created by others, such as is the case above with the parents pushing you, may or may not turn into a genuine purpose. It starts off as fake, and it could stay fake, which might cause you to live as an inauthentic person.
Do you see how important it is to understand the why behind it? The purpose is a key factor in setting up your goals in order to achieve your vision.
What Is Your Purpose?
To get to the meat of your purpose, you must begin with your vision. That’s convenient since you just created that vision in the previous step. You’ll go through each of your vision statement’s sections, and write the purpose for that vision. I know it feels odd to do this; after all, when you wrote that vision, it came from your heart. You opened up your mind, and you let ideas flow out of you.
Then you probably experimented with it to make it sound better. You polished it enough until it looked the way you envision yourself being in the future. Now, creating a purpose almost seems like an effort to justify your vision, but it’s not really that. Remember that when you created your vision, that act of opening up your mind, heart, and soul to get to the vision was, in fact, a way by which you tapped into your inner purpose.
The purpose itself may not have been evident at the time, but as you devised your vision, it was there along with you. Now you simply need to put it down on paper and connect it to the vision. You get the chance to formulate it in a way that sounds true to how you feel. In addition, since we are at the creation phase, you get to decide what that purpose must be.
Reread the last part: you decide what your purpose must be. Well, sure, but isn’t that conflicting? You might think that if you feel a certain way, you cannot transmute your purpose into something else? You can. In fact, you will.
Purpose and Honesty
When you read the examples for the reasons for becoming a cardiologist, deep down inside, didn’t some of them feel “better”? As in, some sounded more like something you’d think should be the “right” purpose?
Yes, of course, they do. We are all conditioned to think about some purposes as superior just because of the way they sound. Especially when you have something that seems to be less selfish and more geared toward giving to others and making a contribution, it sounds better, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the thing: the purpose exercise is not an exercise in lying to yourself. You are not looking for the “best” purpose. You are looking for your purpose.
This is not a “should” exercise; it’s an “is” exercise.
If your sole purpose for wanting something is to become super-rich and have tons of cash, so be it. Be honest about it. You can’t create a fake meaning just because it sounds better.
At the end of the exercise, with your purpose written in front of you, ask yourself, how does this make me feel? Do I feel joy and excitement, or shame? Do I feel empowered or just blah? Remember that you need a compelling purpose that will fire up your mission and goals later on. If it’s weak or doesn’t make you feel great, it’s not going to be enough of a spark to kindle the fire in you to take action.
Most importantly, if your bet your journey on the back of a fake purpose, it will wind up betraying you in the end. You cannot fake your way to a better purpose.
Your purpose needs to come from a deep emotional space inside you and must fuel your ambition and be aspirational and empowering. If you have difficulty finding that connection—and believe me, it’s quite common—you need to go through your vision once more. Insist on finding a way to connect genuinely to that vision and let it spark your calling.
You can only start with who you are and put that on the table with full honesty. Speak the truth. Once the truth is out there, see how it makes you feel. Keep in mind that your purpose is not set in stone, either, but you cannot change it merely by writing it down. Although declaring your intent is a great first step, you must follow through by connecting the purpose to your true self. Much like just thinking about exercising is not enough to lose weight, merely wanting to have a different purpose won’t alter it.
The Creating Your Purpose Exercise
With no further ado, use the link below to download the Purpose Worksheet and do the exercise. Once you have completed it, go over your vision and purpose together, and read them a few times. Watch them come together into one cohesive and overarching design. Given your newly defined purpose, does your vision need any adjustments? If so, do that now. Once you are happy with both, move on to the next step, Create Your Mission.
Feedback, Comments, Suggestions, Testimonials
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