If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Last week I wrote about the critical importance of purpose and all the benefits you’ll get if you have a purpose. Lots of you wrote me to say, “Thanks…I needed that…It was a good wake-up call…It got me back on track.”
But lots of other people wrote and said, “I’ve never thought about purpose before…I just go to work and do my thing without thinking about the purpose of it all.” And many people said, “I’m sold…I need to define my purpose, but I don’t know how. Help!”
This week’s “Tuesday Tip” will help. There is a process you can follow to discover and define your purpose. Let me give you a few pointers. And if you really want to master this portion of your life, one of the CD’s in my new album is entirely devoted to this process. Just get it.
To discover your purpose, you need to start with the realization that you WERE CREATED TO SOLVE A PROBLEM. You were created to solve a specific problem, and once you know that, you’ll have a pretty good idea what your purpose is.
Unfortunately, so many people see problems as something bad or negative. They couldn’t be more wrong.
In reality, problems are the catalysts for creativity. Think about it. When an inventor invents something, his creativity is based on an existing problem. His invention or his creation solves the problem.
When Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb, he solved a light problem. When Henry Ford mass produced the automobile, he solved a cost, convenience, and transportation problem. When you sell your products or services to a customer, you solve one or more of his problems.
So problems aren’t necessarily bad. They turn on your creativity. The question is, what problem were you created to solve? Figure that out, and you will possess one of the keys to your unique purpose.
Perhaps you’re here to raise positive kids in a negative world. Maybe you’re here to build a team that scores major victories or delights its customers. I know I’m here to build positive work environments where everyone becomes a peak performer. That’s the focus of all my programs.
Quite simply, you are a solution to somebody somewhere. And you are exactly what is needed to fix or change something. So think about it. Figure it out, and you’ll have a good start on the defining of your purpose.
Then, ASK YOURSELF A LOT OF QUESTIONS. Write out your answers. There’s something extremely helpful that takes place when you write out your thoughts. You get more and more clarity.
Start with these questions. You’ll have to get the other questions on my CD.
1. What makes you tick?
2. What do you do so well that you would enjoy doing it without pay?
3. What do you love? What is your passion? What sparks in your life could be fanned into a raging fire?
4. Who are you becoming? And are you comfortable with him or her?
5. Are you at peace with your journey through life and work? Or does something seem to be missing? What might that be?
Once you’ve defined your purpose, YOU’VE GOT TO LIVE AND WORK ON PURPOSE. You can’t subordinate your purpose and your dream to what somebody else thinks is possible.
You’ve got to live like an eagle that soars above the crowd. In fact the most successful people I know live like eagles. They’re not doing what everyone else is doing.
Most people, however, are like ducks. They never figure out their purpose. Like ducks, they get in line and do what everyone else is doing. Whenever they fly they’re in line. When they walk they’re in line, and when they swim they’re in line. They’re always in line.
As professional speaker Lou Heckler says, the trouble with being a duck in line is the view ahead of you. It’s no wonder, Heckler says, that people who live their lives as ducks develop that viewpoint toward life.
To live like an eagle, to live on purpose, STAY CONSCIOUS OF THE MEANING IN WHAT YOU DO. If you don’t know the meaning of what you do, you don’t bring much value to what you do. And you’re probably off purpose.
You may need to write down how your product or service makes life better for those who buy it. You may need to remind yourself why you’re training your employees. And you may need to tell yourself once again why you’re devoting so much time to your spouse, kids, or church.
Then read your descriptions of purpose every day. Take a few moments to reflect on the reason behind your actions.
Finally, LIMIT YOURSELF. You can have too many goals and too many purposes. You can become scattered.
You need some focus. You can’t do it all. So limit yourself to a few key purposes so you can have a focused, meaningful, successful life.
The way you do that is simple. Just follow this cardinal rule: Work only on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed. Let the small things go.
Use your purpose as a focus. You’ll have less stress and more success. And you can join with Abraham Lincoln in saying, “If I fail, it will be for lack of ability and not of purpose.”
Action: Take some time to think about the problem you were created to solve. Find a quiet place and just think about that for five or ten minutes. Your mind will wander to a thousand other topics, but keep bringing your mind back to this question. Over the period of a few days or weeks, with a little practice, you will get some very enlightening answers.