When you wake up in the morning, what do you do? Do you start getting ready for work? Do you assist your kids getting them ready for school? Maybe you are getting ready for school.
Regardless of what we do, there’s some purpose behind what we are doing.
Your purpose drives your action. Is your purpose to earn money? What do the actions look like? What does it take to get you into position to earn money?
Maybe something like this:
- Wake up.
- Get dressed.
- Pack a lunch.
- Get in your car.
- Drive to work.
- Walk in the door. (At this point, you’ve probably started earning the money.)
- Log in.
- Log/clock out and leave. (Money earning is done.)
Now, the question becomes: WHY did you earn the money? You have a purpose to earning that money. It could be: mortgage, rent, paying utilities, paying for a cell phone plan, paying off a loan, buying stuff for your kids, buying lunch.
Everything we do has a purpose behind it.
Why do you brush your teeth? You don’t want cavities. The purpose of brushing your teeth is to avoid cavities – or maybe to fight halitosis! (Dual purpose)
Here are a few quotes I found about purpose:
“People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life.” – John Maxwell
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama
So, what’s the point of this post? First, it’s to realize everything has a purpose. Everything we do has a purpose.
Next, I want to help you realize you have the power to change your purpose or create a new one!
Let that sink in for a minute.
You can make a decision, right now, to take action toward a new purpose.
A purpose is the result of a goal. Maybe your goal is to quit smoking. What’s the purpose? You want to prolong your life and have a better quality of life. What steps or actions do you take to make that happen? You could reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. You could go cold turkey! As smoking is considered a bad habit, you’ll need to swap the bad habit with a good habit. Whenever you reach for a smoke, you must have an alternate habit that takes its place. Maybe you go for a walk, grab a stick of gum instead or both.
I had a bad habit of sleeping too long. I replaced that habit with walking my dogs in the morning.
Some habits are harder to break than others. We’ll dig deeper into conquering the harder habits in future posts, but, for now, let’s continue to discuss purpose.
The power of purpose is: YOU CONTROL IT. You can decide what your purpose is.
My ten year old son Tommy has always been an industrious kid. He constantly comes up with ideas on how to make money. I showed him how to use the new mower I bought and asked if he’d be interested in mowing for us this summer. I bought a Honda mower with many safety features, so my wife and I felt safe after giving him some pointers. He picked it up quickly and starting doing a great job for us. He took it a step further and decided to make a flyer to pass out around the neighborhood. I’ll post a picture of the flyer if I can find it, but it went something like this:
“Hi, my name is Tommy. I live in the neighborhood and I’m saving up money to buy a laptop so I can write code with my dad! I can mow most lawns for $20. My number is:”
I didn’t realize he had handed those out and a few days later we got a call from a cool guy a few houses down our street! He let me know over the phone that $20 was absurd and he’d be paying him $30! It made me feel slightly guilty for only giving him $10 for our yard, BUT, what he did get was paid training and the use of my mower. 😉
What was his purpose or reason why he wanted to do this? He had set a goal to buy a laptop because he had a DESIRE to use it to learn how to code with ME! Wow.
Tommy also asked our neighbor if he’d be interested in letting him mow. My neighbor recently had his gall bladder removed and said it was perfect timing.
Here’s a powerful, empowering exercise. Take a moment to think of something you’ve always wanted to do. Seriously. Right where you’re sitting. Think about something you have always wanted to do. I’ll play along.
Something I have always wanted to do, but have always given up on, is build an app for a phone. I would begin, but would stop as I would lose interest, not have time, etc. My goal was to build an app. I realized my problem was I didn’t have a purpose that kept me pushing toward completing the goal. I also didn’t take necessary steps in planning how I was going to do this.
I’ve recently started my pursuit of building an app again. THIS TIME I have a purpose attached to my goal. My purpose of building an app is to add a new revenue stream to our income. I’m also intrigued by technology, love to learn new things and have many ideas for apps. My intrigue, appetite for learning and ideas are more of a passion or a desire. I also have a son that has taken an interest in writing code and, from what I can tell, he has the PERFECT mind for it.
So, to break it down:
- My goal: Build an app.
- My purpose: Add a revenue stream and to learn how to do something with my son.
- My passion/desire: To learn, to explore technology, see an idea manifest into reality.
- My plan: Learn how to build apps through online training and buying books on the subject.
Before, I just wanted to build an app, just because. I now, after setting bigger goals in my life, realize having additional revenue streams will help in achieving those goals, therefore, I am digging up old goals and ideas and am beginning to make them a reality.
I have ALWAYS wanted to write. I’d start, but it would fizzle out after a short while. Why? No purpose. I didn’t know why I wanted to write. I had no reason. What changed? I want to try to help people however I can. I have taught Photoshop for the last four years and decided to stop to pursue other interests. I still have a desire or passion to help. That’s my purpose.
So, back to you. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? It can be a job you’ve always dreamed of, to quit smoking, to lose some weight, buy a car you’ve always wanted, learn how to play guitar, anything.
Once you’ve decided, find a reason why you want to do this, a purpose.
You want to lose weight? Why? Prolong your life? Feel better physically and mentally? Have more self confidence? Fit into your favorite pair of jeans? That’s purpose. It’s the reason why you want to lose weight. What’s your passion? Are your kids your passion and you want to be active with them and have energy to chase them around or play sports with them? You can add those to the purpose list.
See the distinction?
Now, you can make definite plans to help you attain this goal since you have a purpose. If your goal is to lose weight, your plans might be:
- Start walking more
- Join a gym
- Watch what you eat
- Eat less sugar and carbs
- Eat more water-based foods
Once you have decided what you want to do, backed it with a purpose and desire/passion and made plans on how you will achieve your goal, what’s next?
The next step is take action! It doesn’t have to be a huge action, it can be one step toward your goal. You can take the planning further and decide what ONE thing you will do to make progress toward your goal.
Having well thought out plans and a PURPOSE will get you that much closer to achieving your goal.
We just did a quick exercise to illustrate how easy it is to figure out a goal, purpose and plans to achieve it. Wasn’t that fun?
Now, you can actually DO it for real! Go after your dreams and back it up with a solid purpose. You know you can do it. You do it every day! You brush your teeth, so you don’t get cavities. You eat food to satisfy your hunger. Each day you are taking action toward different purposes.
Today, Sunday, May 22, 2016, My son, Tommy out of the blue said: man daddy, you’ve been being really healthy lately. That added fuel to my purpose! That AMPLIFIES my purpose. Encouragement goes a long way.
To know my kids are watching as I take steps to improve my health is confirming. It’s one of the reasons I decided to stop drinking alcohol. It seemed “expected” and normal for me to always have beer on hand. I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional beer, but I decided, if I’m going to truly take steps to completely optimize my health, I would cut out anything that wasn’t helping it or improving it.
I’ll tack on a new purpose to my lifestyle: to be the best example for my kids that I can be.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
The two quotes sum up where I was and where I am. I feel for most of my life I was surviving. Rushing through life to try to stay alive.
Now that I’ve defined what my purpose is in different areas of my life, I couldn’t be happier!
Today we celebrated the graduation of our twins, Jack and Morgan. They worked so hard and made excellent grades in high school! A day like today makes you reflect on life. For close to half our lives we’ve raised them and watched them turn into well-respected adults that have a bright future.
It definitely felt like survival. We had some great times and some scary times. As I look back and think about what my purpose was during those times, it was definitely surviving. It was making sure their was food on the table and that the utilities and mortgage were paid. I truly believe God was watching over our family during those times. If you want to truly add fuel to your purpose, make God first place in your life.
I feel like this is a turning point in our lives. I feel like my wife and I have graduated at the same time. Your purpose or purposes can be living and breathing meaning always changing. Life changes. Be ready to embrace it.
Purpose is the why. Purpose is the reason. What’s your reason for what you are doing right now? Why are you doing what you are doing?
Get INTENTIONAL, grab a cup of coffee and a notebook and really think about your purposes in your life! Set a goal, find a purpose, back it up with desire/passion, make a plan and WATCH OUT! You’re in for a wild ride!
“The best way to insure you achieve the greatest satisfaction out of life is to behave intentionally.”
– Deborah Day
The photo is of my son when he was three or four. He would always jump from the slide as far as he could! His purpose was to jump farther each time. 😉