My Purpose

Defining my purpose in life

A couple of weeks ago I determined my unique combination of skills and experiences and came up with 5 bullet points to highlight this combination. I then took it a step further and identified 5 key descriptors which give a very condensed overview of who I am and what I do.

Brand You cover pageThis was taken from one of the exercises in a book I stumbled across in Oxfam and have been finding really useful. The book, ‘Brand You’ by John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee, is a step-by-step guide to determining your own unique skills and experiences and developing these into a coherent and easily identifiable personal brand.

I read through the book pretty quickly, but over the last few weeks I’ve been going back through it more slowly, completing the exercises as I go.

I’ve already identified my talents, values and unique combination and feel like I’m gaining clarity with where I want to go with my blog, website and life as a whole. I already had a pretty good idea about this, but the book is helping me articulate it and give me a clearer focus.

This week I’ve been thinking about my purpose. As the authors say,

‘A sense of purpose helps you focus your efforts, making your life meaningful and enjoyable’.

I can’t argue with that!

If I’m clear on my purpose it will be easier to communicate who I am and what I do to others. If others understand what I’m about right from the beginning, those that don’t like what I do or the way that I do it will weed themselves out, leaving me with the people who will support and encourage me.

The book stresses the importance of differentiating between goals and purpose. Your goals are not your purpose.

Goals are short-term motivators; once they are achieved you need to make new ones. Your purpose, on the other hand, is limitless; it’s the way you want to live your life. Goals are still good, but as a means of working towards your purpose rather than as an end in themselves.

Purpose pyramidThe authors use a diagram of a pyramid to illustrate how your aim, goals, plans and tasks cascade down from your purpose. Always start with the purpose at the top as it’s only once you know this that you can start to identify aims, set goals, make plans and complete tasks. And it’s always in this order.

The example given in the book is of someone whose purpose is to improve people’s health. As a way of working towards this purpose they aim to cure sick people. Ways of doing this include qualifying as a doctor and writing a book; these are the goals. Plans to achieve these goals could be going to medical school and gaining writing experience. Tasks could be passing exams, carrying out research, making notes, washing hands between patients and applying for student loans.

Following this example, I put together my own version of the purpose pyramid.

Personal purpose pyramid

The wording may need some tweaking, but on the whole I’m quite happy with it. And the path I’m on is becoming a lot clearer.

What’s your purpose in life? Do you think infographics like this are useful?

Author: Anne

Join me in my journey to live a life less boring, one challenge at a time. Author of the forthcoming book 'Walking the Kungsleden: One Woman's Solo Wander Through the Swedish Arctic'.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge