We have determined what we want our lives to represent, identified our core values, articulated a vision statement, and affirmed our mission. Let’s continue on to discovering our purpose and setting goals!
What is your purpose?
Think of the major components of the planning process this way: your vision (imagination) is the target or the house on the hill; the mission (action) is what you do to bring the vision to reality, and the purpose (motivation) is why you do what you do! Your purpose is more of an emotional connection to your mission and vision. The purpose is why we serve and often the inspiration for getting us out of bed every morning. When we lose sight of our purpose, we tend to flounder in a fog of dissatisfaction and seek pleasure through other means such as social media, shopping, or any convenient distraction. Having a clear purpose is a component of living a meaningful life. Purpose motivates and inspires you to study your craft, to practice and eventually achieve mastery. After we have cultivated a clear purpose and are living it daily, life takes on an entirely new meaning fueled by a desire to serve and contribute.
My father was depressed for the better part of thirty years. Many years after his retirement, he began to make wooden pen holders for veterans. He started going to the VA every week to hand out his creations, thank the Vets, shake their hands and hear their stories. He found a purpose that makes his life meaningful and motivates him to get out of bed every morning. He has a service-oriented purpose that is icing on the cake because life is no longer all about him.
We have identified what we want our lives to represent and how we want to show up…Now what?
It is time to establish our goals.
Goals serve to advance us toward our vision. They allow us to execute our mission and expand our ability to serve our purpose. A life well-lived is growth oriented. When we look back one, five, or ten years, we want to see our progress. Too often in the human journey, we struggle to get comfortable. “When I get this or when I accomplished this, I will be content with my life.” Then we get the object of our desire only to realize that we are no more content than before we had it. Our lives are lived in the trenches, not on the mountain top. We are the most alive and engaged when we are struggling to grow into who we need to be to reach the next level, and there is always another level! It has been proven that people with written and regularly reviewed goals attain significantly higher degrees of happiness than those who do not.
List all your dreams on a sheet of paper. Ask yourself – Where do you want to live? Where do you want to work? How much do you want to earn? Who do you want to meet? Dream big and don’t settle for small dreams!
Write a few sentences describing why each goal is important for you to pursue and achieve. If your “why” is not strong enough, you will potentially lack the discipline necessary for its pursuit. What skills will you need to acquire in order to achieve this goal?
Keep yourself accountable by posting your goals in a place that you will see every day. You must review and set incremental goals to help you move closer to achieving your dreams. If you have a setback, recalibrate your goals to match the situation and continue the pursuit.
We are meant to be challenged because that is how we learn to live. Every living thing seeks growth. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it can, of course.