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Live On Purpose vs Having A Life’s Purpose

Jan 12, 2022

People start to twitch when the topic of purpose pops up. Some twitch in excitement because they’ve been on the journey of purpose discovery, and they’ve attained clarity. Most others stress twitch. The pressure of figuring out their purpose in life morphs into sweaty palms and darting eyes. Relax. Knowing your purpose is not about a mission statement that brands you for life. It doesn’t have to be all-encompassing to include what you’ve done and what you want to do. In fact, purpose is a lot less about doing and a whole lot more about being.

A client refused to talk about their purpose. It was a trigger word for them. I reframed it to aspired identity - who do they want to be in life and how did they want to show up for the world - and we were off and running. If you don’t like the word, change it to what works for you, don’t avoid it. And change it up when it no longer fits you. You continue to evolve and grow. Who you are today isn’t going to be the same as who you will be a year from now so what sense does it make to have a statement that doesn’t evolve and change, too?

Purpose, or aspired identity, is an important high-performance principle because it impacts how you live, lead, and it provides direction to your day beyond schedules and duties. The opportunity is to shift from life’s purpose to living on purpose. Living on purpose is intentional, aspirational, and adaptable. It’s a daily reminder of how you want to show up in the world. It might even be shift given the different roles you have in life. Let purpose be flexible and meaningful to you because it supports being fully engaged, joyful, and fulfilled in life.

Here are a few ways you can be purposeful in your day:


1. Bring the right energy. Before you walk into a room, into a meeting, click on the Zoom call, talk with your family...ask how do you want to show up? It will impact the outcome.

2. Help more. Open the door, check-in on a neighbor, problem solve, add
perspective, figure out homework, do the dishes, make dinner. You get it.

3. Have more discussions of value and meaning. Shove the lightweight filler
topics to the side and take the time to know what’s going on in people’s lives, what matters to them right now, how are they feeling about life.

4. Volunteer. There are so many organizations, schools, shelters, food shelves that could use labor support. Show up, engage, transform.

5. Journal gratitude. Study after psychological study shows keeping a gratitude journal increases levels of happiness, satisfaction, and achievement. Get writing!


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