The beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate your purpose. Here are a few things about purpose that you don’t normally hear:
1] There is no such destination called “purpose.” If success is defined as the process of fulfilling your potential, then as you grow, your direction in life will change as your purpose molds to fit your growth.
Think of purpose as a transitional state or a journey, rather than a place you arrive and camp out at for the rest of your life. You show me a person whose purpose has not modified, altered, and refined in the past twenty years, and I’ll show you a person who isn’t growing.
2] True purpose is rooted in service to others. A supposed “purpose” that is self-serving isn’t a purpose, it’s a pastime or an ambition. The word “purpose” indicates intent from the designer, and although I believe life is supposed to be enjoyable, it is most fully experienced in giving of one’s self to others.
3] Finding and functioning in your purpose doesn’t always mean that you get paid for doing it. One of the litmus tests for purpose is whether you would still participate in that action if you never got paid for it. Most purpose-oriented people find a way to work their purpose regardless of remuneration. Those are the ones that usually find success in their endeavors.
4] When you’re fighting for your life, purpose is a luxury. Until you settle the matters of food and shelter, your purpose is finding food and shelter. There isn’t much honor in going on a purpose quest if you have neglected your first purpose, which is caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of yourself and your family (if you’re an adult).
The rule is: First make a living, then make a difference. (Meaning your first responsibility is to provide for your self so others don’t have to)
5] There are several types of purpose.
• Organizational—the reason an organization such as a business or government exists. Although they are run by people, they exist primarily as separate entities, both legally and practically.
• Communal—the reason a community such as a church, synagogue, club, or fraternal group exists. Although these groups certainly are organized and may function similarly to businesses, they exist as communities first and foremost.
• Personal—The reason an individual gets out of bed each day. Your place and contribution in society.
Make sure that you do not confuse passion with purpose. They are not the same thing. You may be passionate about something, but that doesn’t mean that thing is your purpose in life. Passion needs to be a component of purpose, but it does not comprise the whole of it.
So, take a moment, a day, or a year to consider your passions. Ask yourself, What do I think about all the time? What do I love to do? What really gets me excited? What makes me want to get out of bed every morning?
Your answer to these question might well determine where you are this time next year.