What do you mean when you use the word “purpose”? Is it your reason for being? Is it why you do that thing you do? Is it one thing that guides everything else? Is it one thing or many? Is it permanent or does it change over time?
Purpose – pur·pose: noun /ˈpərpəs/
- The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Your definition of purpose for your life will have an enormous impact on the choices you make, the actions you take, and the goals you accomplish.
Just taking the time to define and determine your purpose will irrevocably change your life. Similarly, the default position of never figuring any of this out will also change your course.
Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
–Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
For me, purpose means many things. At the macro level it is the reason I was created. It is the prism I use to view everything else I do. If my actions aren’t in line with my ultimate purpose, then why am I doing it?
Should I be doing it?
I believe I have more than one purpose and that those purposes can change over time. At the micro level, I have a purpose in my personal relationships, in my professional life, and in my physical and spiritual lives.
Each one of those purposes changes over time. My purpose in personal relationships is simple. It sounds corny, but I like corny. It is:
- To treat every individual I come in contact with the way I would like to be treated
- To look for the best in each person
- To truly listen
- To grow deep connections
Those purposes are slightly different if I’m working on a relationship with my wife, or my father, or my daughters, or a complete stranger. My relationship purpose has changed slightly from when I was a child, to a single adult, to a married man, to a father. It will change again one day when I become a grandfather.
Yes, I have an overarching purpose on relating to people that sustains me through all the changes, but the nuances are important. They help direct me in my daily decisions.
What is your purpose?