Clearly Define Your Purpose
A purpose provides a sense of value and meaning that guides us through different chapters of life. A clear purpose reflects your reason for being and thus generates motivation and energy. Clarity of purpose is critical during transitions because your purpose is the lens through which you’ll interpret all events, evaluate options, and make all decisions. During your transition, a purpose helps you focus on what is important to you and accomplish what you want to achieve.
Those who lack a clear purpose are like a rudderless boat drifting in the ocean going wherever the wind takes them and reacting the best they can when the waves get choppy. Without a purpose, you’ll become reactive rather than intentionally charting your course. You’ll find that your stress increases as perceived control decreases, which can lead to a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms that can slow progress or stop it altogether.
“There’s no greater gift than to honor your life’s calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”
– Oprah Winfrey
As you transition to your next chapter, a clear purpose will…
1. Drive action
Transitions are typically chaotic with a great deal of time wasted trying to figure out what to do. Defining your purpose sets your direction and puts you in control of the next chapter of your life. During transition, a purpose will help you see through the chaos and find the clarity you need to move forward. Like GPS, it will keep you on track and help you correct course when needed. A clearly articulated, meaningful purpose will focus and energize you to take action to achieve that purpose.
2. Build resilience
Transitions are full of challenges and potential setbacks that have the potential to derail us temporarily or even permanently. People who keep their purpose front of mind are more likely to find meaning in things that happen to them, allowing them to change course and bounce back from setbacks more quickly.
Consider Lisa, who was recruited as the HR Director from a rapidly changing company to one with a slowly changing culture. A core part of Lisa’s purpose is “always striving for improvement”. She quickly identified an opportunity to improve the company’s hiring process and made a significant change to the process during her second month. The change was vigorously resisted. Lisa had moved too fast for a culture she didn’t yet fully understand. Lisa identified her mistake and realized that she needed to take the time to understand the culture better before making a change of this magnitude. She bounced back from a significant setback by finding the lesson in her mistake that she could apply going forward as she continued to pursue her purpose of continuous improvement. Finding the lesson made the experience meaningful and kept Lisa from wallowing in the negative emotions that could otherwise be associated with the failure. Instead, the lesson energized her keep moving forward with a more informed approach.
3. Lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction
There is a strong correlation between finding meaning in life and happiness. People who find meaning through their connection to a strong sense of purpose also tend to be happier. Those who lack a clear purpose are more likely to feel stuck and report feelings of sadness or apathy. Knowing you are making a meaningful contribution will flood you with a variety of positive, energizing emotions. The happier people feel, the more determined they are to live a life consistent with their purpose.
Have you ever wondered if your purpose is clear enough, complete enough, or even the right purpose for you? Your purpose isn’t something that you create, it is something that you uncover. You find it through self-reflection and increasing your understanding of who you are and what is important to you. You’ll know when you’ve identified and defined a meaningful purpose because it will spark a passion for action. You’ll wake up energized and ready to make a difference.
TEN THOUGHT PROVOKING QUESTIONS TO HELP DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE
that can be found here.