The Purpose Principle

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Purpose –

Do you have a purpose for what you are doing?

I have had countless discussions with individuals and organisations over the years on what it is that they want to achieve. A common element constantly raises its head. Most cannot define the purpose why somebody or some group or organisation wants to do something.

There are numerous attempts that can be stripped down to simply being reasons, excuses or defensive justifications as to why they are doing something. Very few can define a solid purpose.

What’s the difference?

But is purpose, reason or justification not the same? There is a huge difference between a purpose for doing something and a reason for doing it. A purpose can stand the pressure of scrutiny and cross-examination. A reason is most often an excuse for doing something or an empty justification because there is actually no solid meaningful answer to the question – “Why are you doing this?”

If you washed away all the whitewash and egotistical defensiveness, what most people think is a purpose that they are articulating is in fact a masked version of “because I want to”, or “because I can”, or “because I was told to do it”, or most realistically “I need to impress someone, or want to score brownie points, or don’t want to rock the boat.”

Purpose speaks to the highest level of existence. You can cannot break it down any more when subjecting it to a constant barrage of “why?” questions. When true purpose is defined and in play, everything else gets measured against this as the standard, as the acid test. Defining a purpose is important because it is the bonding element; it is the validation as to why all other things are being done – or not done.

It establishes an unwavering commitment to follow through

These other things are not fulfil the definition of purpose they are tasks, objectives and goals. Purpose hits you in the middle of the chest and lets you and everyone else know that you know, that you know, why you are doing this. It creates an unwavering commitment to follow through on something and gives you the means to press on and through when the going gets tough and every kind of hurdle is thrown in front of you.

Test it!

Test it – think of a group or team where purpose (the definitive why) has not been established and communicated. Think of the times you have pursued something only to ditch it when you hit the first or second hurdle you encountered and tell me that you could recount a purpose that you had defined.

The link back to Expectations

Continuum graphicWhen we look at the Power of Expectations and the elements of Emotions, Perceptions and Decisions, you should be able to see how Purpose is the definitive element, the glue that bonds them and the acid that tests them.

If there is no purpose to what you are doing, then your expectations will disappoint you as soon as the perfect road to your goals fails to materialise. Failed expectations trigger emotions. Your perception of events will change and the decisions you make will emanate from this.


Chicken omelette

Chicken eggWhen the Continuum machine gets put into motion and whips up the chicken omelette, it soon becomes a poisonous and volatile environment where each element begins to beat the hell out of the others in a vicious circle.

If your purpose for doing something is defined and stuck to the inside of your cranial cavity like a super-glued sticky note, your expectations are firmly aligned to something that has an all-consuming purpose for existing and being pursued.

Every decision will be weighed up against this purpose and if it falls short of it, you will have immediately eliminated wasteful choices. If it aligns to the purpose your confidence will increase in that you are confident that you are making the right choices for the right reason.

This in turn slants your emotions to the positive side of the spectrum and fuels or reignites your passion and energy for pursuing your original objectives.

You perceptions will remain solidly grounded as their alignment to the purpose and its objectives are tested. How you see things will not be tainted or biased in a certain direction because of popular culture or criticism and rubbishing from nay-sayers. You will know exactly why it is that you are seeing things in a certain way.

Eliminate flawed expectations

Your expectations are solidly grounded and not flawed from the outset when purpose is defined. Your anticipation of a meaningful outcome can be embraced because you know that you are pursuing something that has a defined higher purpose for existing and being pursued. There will never be a perfect run at things. There will always be hurdles, but when you know why you are pursuing something, it’s very powerful indeed.

Defining purpose is not the easiest exercise to do because it requires focus and time. You cannot rush it- that’s where reason and justification comes from.

Coming soon is free guideline in the Resources section that will help to guide you in the process of defining and articulating purpose.

Try it.

So – while I am busy working on bringing you a solid workbook to guide you through the process, don’t let it stop you from doing a bit of thinking. There should be nothing that stops you from exploring everything you are doing and see if you can define a purpose for it or not.

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About the Author : Steve Vanstraaten

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