Knowing one’s purpose in life seems like it should be a relatively easy endeavor. Yet, for far too many of us the search for meaning continues to elude our best intentions and pursuit. Having been at this work of helping individuals and organizations define purpose since the 1980s, there are common statements I hear. These misstatements create misdirection. They tend to cause repeating and non-resolving patterns that kill time but don’t give a deep sense of satisfaction.
1. “I don’t know what to do with my life.” This statement is a clear indication to me that this person isn’t looking for purpose. They’re looking for “what to do” not “who to be.” Mission is being thought about, not purpose, per se. Knowing one’s purpose would be informative and helpful to answer the question. In short, if you’re looking for the wrong thing then it is unlikely you’ll find what you need even if you actually find it. You won’t be able to recognize it.
The greatest offender of this is the book The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren. The book is a great devotional, but it is really more a message of missions. The more accurate name for the book would have been The Mission Driven Life, because the book is helping people figure out what to do with their lives much more than it is helping people knowing why they exist.
2. “I don’t know where to start.” The absence of a process or method is very typical of purpose seekers. They’re susceptible to anything or anyone who uses the word purpose because they have no basis for understanding it.
3. “I feel like there is a calling upon my life, but I can’t put my finger on my purpose.” Purpose and calling are often confused. Calling is a high and noble expression of purpose. Purpose is deeper and actually apart from or exclusive from calling. Purpose stands on its own, whereas calling needs purpose to give it “spiritual juice.”
4. “I feel like I’ve missed my chance at my purpose.” Wrong! Purpose doesn’t pass us by like a bus. We are our purpose. It is always with us. We were born with it, we live with it, we die with it, and we take it into eternity with us. Purpose is our spirit so we can’t separate ourselves from it, but we can ignore or deny it.
The On-Purpose Approach found in The On-Purpose Person provides both the methods and standards for discerning and defining your purpose, vision(s), mission(s), and values. We offer one-on-one personal purpose coaching as well. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel about life purpose. For over 20 years we’ve helped thousands of people write their 2-word purpose statement and develop the life and career plans they need to excel. As I reference in the video, we just need you to be the you whom you were designed to be and become. We’ll help you.
P.S. A big thank you to Justin Ramb, CEO/Chief Creative Officer of BIG EYE Agency. He invited me to participate in their BIG Thinkers series and produced this video. They did wonderful work. Thank you!