The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise, with a capital “P” – I am a great big bundle of potentiality.
I learned this catchy tune at camp when I was about 11 years old, and all of these years later it has stuck with me. I’m a walking testament to how our brains use musical memory. If you give me a topic, I can easily sing you a song that goes along with that topic.
So, when I was recently working on my purpose statement, I couldn’t help but sing those words I had learned as a child.
As I deeply reflected on my purpose statement, I asked myself these questions:
• What are my possibilities?
• What is my potential?
• How will I consider those as I define my purpose?
• Does my purpose come from my gifts or potential?
• Does my purpose come from the pain I’ve experienced as I’ve traveled the path of life?
• Is my potential wrapped up in relationships?
• What is the emotional foundation I’m leaning on as I reflect on my purpose?
I wanted to be intentionally curious about how purpose could help channel my energies into something meaningful.
What did I learn and how can it help you as you think about your own purpose?
Purpose is the way you can bring your potential to the world. It is the truth for you. It’s not about what’s right or wrong. It’s not about some huge audacious goal.
I explored what I loved, what comes easy to me, and where I could use those gifts to give back. I thought about a personal tragedy I experienced. How could I use that pain for good? I wasn’t just exploring my purpose, I was choosing what I wanted my purpose to be.
I’m drawn to the life and work of Viktor E. Frankl. He was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps and experienced great tragedy. He lost his entire family in the camps, and he survived. He found meaning in his struggle and pain, and that’s what gave him the strength to power through. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he writes that those who have a “why” to live can bear almost any “how.”
As I thought about purpose, I knew that I would have to lean on my core values to help identify my purpose. My core values are what drive everything I do and incorporating them into my purpose statement was important. I realized there was an area for me that stood out that could help me define and choose my purpose. Service. Specifically, service to others.
Intentionally living on purpose means living intentionally.
Once you know your purpose, you’ll have a point of reference for how you want to live. You’ll be able to inspire others and make more intentional choices. You will find the courage to take risks, stay motivated when you are faced with barriers, and keep moving towards your goals.
So, what did I decide to write as my purpose statement? What would I anchor to for commitment to a purposeful life? What is my big bundle of potentiality? My promise to myself?
To positively impact the lives of others by working to serve them with kindness, encouragement, grace, and compassion.