Purpose is “a person’s resolve or determination”. Purpose is what drives us forward and what we use to judge our opportunities and the different pathways that are available to us. It’s more than just a vision of what we want things to look like - it’s a driver to get us there.
Purpose seems to be everywhere at the moment. It’s the new catch phrase. If you look at the true definition of purpose you can understand its importance in our lives. Purpose is “a person’s resolve or determination.” Purpose is what drives us forward and what we use to judge our opportunities and the different pathways that are available to us. It’s more than just a vision of what we want things to look like - it’s a driver to get us there.
Sounds a bit daunting, doesn’t it? More and more, the people I speak with and the groups of people who have been part of our Rethinking What’s Possible workshops are conflicted and are highly challenged about coming up with a purpose. They become stuck and can’t commit to something because it might be wrong, too limited, too much of a stretch, or they’re scared they might not be able to achieve it.
Here’s the great thing about purpose - there really isn’t a wrong answer. Defining your purpose can actually be one of the first steps to developing a growth mindset, which is the key to unlocking potential and possibility.
6 tips to defining your purpose.
If you're struggling to define your purpose, or are hitting a mindset roadblock, then here are six tips to help you break through:
- Make a start! Do a brainstorm and get it down on paper - identify ideas that challenge you and makes you feel good about yourself as a person, things that interests you and that make you smile.
- To discover what is important to you, take a close look at what you are reading, what you are doing, and who the people are in your life that drive you to be the best version of yourself.
- Think about what you want your life to look like when you look back on it and then reflect on what you need to do to achieve that.
- Don’t let your fear of being perfect hold you back from coming up with something. And don’t overthink it - just go with what sounds right for you in the moment and strive to achieve it.
- If ever your purpose starts to feel uncomfortable or like it doesn’t fit anymore, then reassess, it’s a simple as that. Your purpose is not set in stone and can evolve as you grow as a person.
- Remember, your purpose isn’t something you should be ticking off as completed - it’s a journey not a destination!
A woman with a purpose.
Musi Dei, Odisha - India
I am often inspired by the purpose filled lives I see in the people living in hunger in our rural villages. Their purpose can be quite simple - I want to feed and educate my children. I want to have an income. But this simplicity drives spectacular change and delivers unbelievable outcomes.
One of my true heroes is a woman called Musi Dei who I met in India back in 2014 during a leadership immersion trip with The Hunger Project. Musi is an illiterate woman from the Dalit caste which meant that her life was particularly difficult and she had been discriminated against and marginalised for her entire life. She, with the support of her husband, put herself up for election in her village because she was sick of the corruption in her local panchayat which meant that none of the resources that were meant for her village ever made it to them. She wanted to change that - and she did. By putting herself forward as a candidate and taking the risk that she took - she was able to ensure the resources that her village needed - water, electricity, secure housing to name just a few. She didn’t overthink things - her place and position didn’t hold her back.
If you are struggling to identify your purpose or you want to relook at it from a greater perspective - I encourage you to consider taking part in our personal development programme Awaken. It wasn’t until I met people like Musi that I was able to really know in my core what I wanted to make of myself, my life and my opportunity. It’s an investment in yourself that will have long lasting effects on your future.