“Purpose” was the word at the top of my list of “Ps to Success”, as I outlined in a previous blog: What is guiding you? Why have you chosen the path you are on?
Many of us try to set our goals, targets and priorities without a clear sense of purpose. But that’s a bit like a cook shopping for ingredients without a recipe in mind – it can all be a bit random and unfocused.
This is not so much a lack of purpose as a failure to recognise what that purpose is. If we looked hard enough, many of us would discover our primary driver, our reason for being.
The search for purpose.
I know, from experience, that finding and articulating your purpose is not necessarily an easy process. It took me at least six months of seeking advice, workshopping, discussing and navel gazing to work out that my purpose is to be the best I can be and help others do the same.
As another example, a colleague of mine has the purpose of helping women in first-world countries empower women in third-world countries.
Yours doesn’t have to be about helping others, but it’s amazing how many people find their purpose is not just about them.
Don’t worry about how large or “soft-focused” your purpose might be. If it’s what motivates you most, that’s all that matters.
It doesn’t even have to be achievable in itself. As long as it enables you to set achievable goals within its auspices, then it is doing its job.
Who can help you?
There’s a good chance you will need guidance and advice in your search for your purpose. Professionals, mentors, friends, colleagues and other people you trust can not only help you tap into your own thoughts and feelings, but they can also help you understand how others see you.
You might be surprised at the perceptions others have of you. They might see characteristics, gifts or motivations that you weren’t aware of, and that might point to your overall purpose.
Finding your vision.
At the same time, you can help yourself by exploring your own feelings and instincts. One way to do this is to create a “vision board” of words and images that motivate you. Try flicking through magazines or web pages that appeal to you and, without thinking too deeply about it or justifying your choices, pick out things that resonate with you and pin them (physically or digitally) to your board.
Some people think the vision board is some sort of new-age gimmick, or a bit too “warm and fuzzy” to be a serious self-help tool. But the fact is it’s a simple, user-friendly way of clarifying your thoughts and feelings.
Just as Usain Bolt must have worked out somewhere along his journey that his prime motivator was to be the fastest man in the world, any of us who want to achieve something in our lives need a guiding light to run towards. That’s your purpose. Top athletes use vision techniques to achieve their goals. What will you do to achieve yours?