Our purpose and mission shine a light on what we value most. We need to know where we want to end up, to know if we are getting closer.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS ARTICLE
- Our purpose statement is the motivational summary of our needs and values.
- A Purpose Statement should be brief and powerful.
Get motivated. Stay Motivated. Have a purpose in life.
Know Your Purpose
A Purpose Statement is a meta-goal that applies to every aspect of our life. Our purpose is a reflection of our values, need and goals. It’s what motivates us when wake up in the morning and provides meaning to everything we do.
Everybody needs a purpose
Everyone of needs a purpose to feel motivated. Our purpose will guide us in every aspect of our personal lives and our careers. Work should be something that makes us feel good about what we do. Knowing our purpose and understanding what motivates us are critical factors in making it happen.
Make music, make art, help others.
My purpose speaks to the things that matter most to me, It is in sync with my needs and values and motivates me to live my best life.
Your Purpose Matters
Going through life without having a very clear personal purpose is likely to result in a lot of floundering and frustration. Unless you have an idea of where you want to end up, there will be no way to know if you are getting any closer.
Having a well defined purpose statement guarantees that you will never lose focus on what matters most in life and at work. Going to work without a clear idea of your purpose pretty much guarantees that even if you work hard, the work you do will not always help you succeed.
Our purpose provides us with an instant reminder of what really matters, whenever we feel lost or unfocused. In meditation terms our brief purpose statement functions much like mantras.
In a busy world full of distractions, diversions, and crises a short, well crafted statement helps us return to the path we were meant to follow.
Personal Purpose Statements
Our purpose is a reflection of our values and our goals. Being able to summarize our purpose in a single sentence gives us tremendous power over our sense of identity. When we live and work in synchronicity with our purpose we are successful.
A personal purpose statement should be as concise as possible. It should encompass the values that are most important, expressed as an actionable goal. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
I want to help girls achieve and maintain the healthy self-esteem they deserve so they will develop into happy, self-confident women.
I want kindness, compassion, and empathy to be the most important part of everything I do, at home, and at work.
Brevity can be harder than it looks! There might be a few things that are important to us that will get left out of our purpose statement. That’s OK. The purpose of a good, brief, purpose statement is to keep us from losing focus on the things in our life that matter most to us, and to maintain focus on things that are vitally important, but easily “misplaced” by less important busy-work. If you feel like your purpose should remind you to keep family values at top of mind, you might consider including them in your personal statement. Maybe;
I will be the person that always works the hardest, accomplishes the most, and always remembers to show the people I love that they are important to me.
Organization Purpose Statements
A good employer will have an organizational purpose statement, and that statement should be as concise as yours. People who are fortunate enough to have such and employer should be able to come up with a career mission statement pretty quickly.
I once worked for a major employer that had an excellent mission statement. It was a big urban university that had multiple faculties, dozens of departments, thousands of employees, yet their mission statement was concise and totally focused on the university’s purpose as a leading teaching and research institution. It may be a long sentence, but it is still very good;
The University of Toronto is dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.
Of course not every big organization has a good mission statement. Some organizations are so unfocused that they fail to have one. Others have statements that are unfocused. I’ve seen multi-page statements so full of platitudes and contradictions that they could mean anything and could justify everything.
Here are some examples of purpose statements that I believe are effective. I’ll start with a couple of excellent corporate mission statements:
Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
LinkedIn: Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
It’s pretty easy to see how instantly relatable and effective these are, and how easy it would be for any employee to come up with a workplace mission statement based on these. In fact, I’ll invent one for each of these!
Manager at Google: I want to help the people I manage by making it it as easy as possible for them to write code that organizes the world’s information and makes it useful and accessible.
Sales at LinkedIn: I will help people become more productive and more successful by making more meaningful connections.
Some people reading this article will be fortunate enough to work for organizations with highly focused, and meaningful purpose statements like the examples above. Some will be working for employers that have either no mission statement, or meaningless mission statements. If you are in that unfortunate position, don’t despair. It is still possible to write your own mission statement that clarifies the value that you bring to your employer, and encompasses the values that you hold dear.
Each of us needs a well defined sense of purpose. If we want to serve our purpose, we need to be able to surface it quickly, easily and frequently. A single sentence statement is the most effective way to do this.