The online world is abuzz with talk about finding your purpose or living out your purpose. This is well and good. We need a purpose. We need something to drive us harder and farther than we would normally go.
What if we have our definition of purpose wrong. In the online and leadership sphere, we often hear purpose as the reason behind what you do. It often relates to the things you do and how they impact you.
I think we’re wrong in thinking purpose is about the effect our work has in us. I recently read a quote from Jade Simmons. This is when it really resonated with me.
Redefine how you look at purpose. Re-understand your purpose. Your purpose is not the thing you do. It’s the thing that happens in others when you do what you do.
Wow! That’s powerful.
So… Purpose isn’t the hard work we do. It’s not our daily grind. It’s not even the reason behind what we do.
Purpose goes beyond what you can do. Purpose is the effect your work has on others.
Let’s Redefine Our Purpose
The next time you think about your purpose, don’t think about the way your work impacts you. That’s a side-effect of your purpose. We need to redefine what purpose means.
Your purpose is the change that happens in the lives of others as we carry out our work. What does this change look like?
- Helping Bob start a home-based business so he can be with his ailing wife – The internal change? Bob no longer feels guilty he has to leave his wife alone while he earns a paycheck. He can stay home and help his wife.
- Giving Sarah another chance – Sarah had messed up. It was the third strike but she asked for one more chance. She needs this job because she is a single mother and has two children to raise. Her income goes towards feeding and caring for her kids. Because you gave her another chance, she decided to clean up, shape up, and become a model employee.
- Creating a software program to help sex-trafficked victims get off the street – Men and women are sex-trafficked at an all-time high currently. You saw the need and you knew the honor and dignity that could be restored by giving these men and women a tool to help them get off the street. Their self-worth goes up and they decide they can get help.
Each of the above-mentioned situations could be seen as something honorable. Maybe even purpose-worthy. But purpose goes beyond the action. Purpose goes to the change people experience because of what you do.
You may have believed your purpose is to help people become a home-based entrepreneur. Your purpose is different than that. Your purpose is the change that happens in the people who become entrepreneurs. Your purpose may be to help people feel good about the work they do and the ability to work from home to care for those they love. Or maybe your purpose is to change the way people feel about themselves and giving them the ability to free themselves from the shackles of slavery.
Do you see the slight shift in purpose? It’s ever so slight but it goes from I-focused to they-focused.
Let’s redefine our purpose today.