“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain
When we think about why we do what we do, it sometimes scares us or makes us feel uncomfortable. We may think, I’m not Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela with a grand sense of Purpose. That’s okay. You and I are not expected or required to have a magnificent Purpose statement. We simply need to understand our Purpose, big or small, own it and live it.
Purpose is a very personal thing – it’s why you do the things you do, whether at work, home or in your community. It’s the ultimate driving motivator for you. Purpose provides clarity, meaning and direction and is your constant around everything you have done and will do. This doesn’t mean that your Purpose is the same throughout life; a common misconception about Purpose is that it is just one definitive thing. It isn’t. Purpose can take many different forms – some people may be finding their Purpose for the first time while others may be re-Purposing. Let me provide an example. Remember when you were in college and you were trying to figure out what you wanted to do and why you want do it? To answer those questions, you were thinking about your Purpose possibly for the first time. As we go through life, major events change our perception and how we view ourselves in the world. When kids leave the nest house, parents feel alone at home or when we are on the verge of retirement, we may ask ourselves, what is my Purpose now? As life changes and events occur, your Purpose may take another form or iteration. Allow yourself to explore that and understand how you can live out your Purpose in your current reality.
So how does one find their Purpose?
We’ve already given you the definition of Purpose but haven’t provided the background on how to get there. In order to understand your Purpose, we suggest thinking about what we at GenIN Solutions have identified to be the three core elements of Purpose:
Passions – Understanding what makes you excited and gives you energy
- To understand your Passions, ask yourself, what are the things I do that make me lose track of time?
Gifts – Understanding your unique strengths and talents
- To understand your Gifts, ask yourself, what do I get complimented on often?
Values – Understanding your guiding principles
- To understand your Values, ask yourself, when faced with tough decisions, what factors do I consider to make the decision?
Passions, gifts and values all work together to inform your Purpose and help you live your Purpose. When looking at it individually, passions fuel your Purpose, gifts support your Purpose and your values guide your Purpose.
By articulating these three elements, you can begin to arrive at your Purpose. This Purpose should be a narrative that’s unique to you, informed by your strengths, your passions and your values. Purpose doesn’t have to be only one thing – it can be divided into Purpose at work and home. Let it be simple, let it be unique to you; there is no wrong or right Purpose, as long as it connects with you and what you want your life to be about.
When you define your Purpose, you’ll find that you are more engaged at work, you have a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment both in life and at work. The Purpose movement is real – we are shifting from doing what society says we should do to finding our own path and creating our own map to get there. We urge you find your Purpose, own it, and live it.