Many confuse focus with purpose. Living, or working, with focus means zeroing in on the one or two things that are important to you at that moment in time. Living with purpose is to understand what’s truly important to you and then doing the things necessary to fulfill your purpose.
Today I need to focus on an upcoming meeting with a CEO. However that meeting is not my purpose. My purpose is to be a difference maker for those whose lives I come in contact with…to make a difference, solve a problem, bring joy, reduce pain. In business that requires having a strong focus on continuous learning, active listening, and structured thinking. I must always be learning new things in order to build a mental database of ideas to recommend. I have to listen deeply to the person,, or people with whom I am working to truly understand and empathize. Finally I have to be able to process what I’ve heard – and felt – with what I know – the knowledge I’ve acquired through learning and experience. When I do these things well I fulfill my purpose.
Have you identified your purpose? It’s not enough to say you want to be the best sales person, marketer, father, brother, friend, runner, or swimmer. You’ve got to go deeper. What makes you want to be the best? Is it money? Fame? Recognition? Personal pride? Personal demons?
To find your purpose answer these questions:
1. What am I doing when I am happiest?
2. Who am I with when I am happiest?
3. What emotions – physical and mental – am I experiencing when I am happiest?
4. What challenges you, that while difficult and unpleasant, secretly get you excited?
5. And finally, what do you fear most?
Often times the answer to the 5th and final question provides valuable insight into your purpose. Understanding what you fear can help you create the best path forward to live your purpose. Remember your life’s purpose can only be defined by you, not others. In the end, only you can answer the question, “did I live my life as the best version of myself?”.
Be purposeful in all you do. We all have a limited amount of sand in our hourglass. Make every one of them count.