One Apple A Day #1186
Oh no, I don't know my purpose!
What is your purpose?
This is quite a common question nowadays, both for individuals and organizations. One that can spark powerful journeys of introspection, reflection and exploration. One that can also trap someone into a downward spiral of doubts and self-loathing when they struggle to find an answer. Up to the point when they have to lie, to themselves and others, only to relieve the pain. So, they just write a compelling purpose, using all the right words to feel better before the mirror and the world.
However, such a purpose is seldom lived or pursued.
So, I can't help but wonder if it's really so important for individuals or organizations to know and state their purpose in order to live it.
In the end, what really matters is what we do. Through our actions, small and big, we create an impact.
So, a few personal reflections.
First of all, if you don't have a well-crafted purpose statement to put on your business card or website, just remember that you're not alone. Many don't and still make a significant contribution to humanity. On the other side, some who have a well-crafted purpose statement are not truly living it.
Second, finding and knowing your purpose is not as important as living it. So, don't try to engineer your purpose but let it emerge from your daily work. Just look for a need out there that resonates with you and on which you can do something to help, and go for it. If that's your call, it will grow into your purpose. Otherwise, you will find something else to focus on.
"We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." — Viktor Frankl
Finally, life is a never-ending experiment, so your purpose is a constant prototype. It is never final. Don't waste too much energy refining it but try living it. Does it make you feel energized? Great, keep going. Does it not? Then make adjustments. It may take more than a lifetime to get it right, but that's not important. What really matters is not the destination but the journey.