Year To Success

Lesson 11: Specific Purpose

In the movie The Jerk, starring my all time favorite actor/comedian, Steve Martin, Nathan (Steve) set off to discover his “special purpose.” Once he knew what it was, or thought he knew what it was, his life had meaning and direction. In real life, the same holds true. However, to avoid laughing every time I say “special purpose” (if you have seen The Jerk, you understand why) I prefer to refer to one’s ultimate life goal as “specific purpose.”

A few days ago, we contemplated our general purpose in life, which answered the general question, “who will benefit from our existence?” Now with our specific purpose, we answer the question, “what are we going to do with our lives?” with more detail and thought.

Before you start breaking a sweat with anxiety over this question, let me preface the remainder of this topic with these words: very often people never set goals for the same reason some people never find true love—they are “waiting” for that perfect someone (or perfect whatever in the case of goals). Rarely do people know exactly what they want and it is even less common for people to know their ultimate goal in life. No sweat. Just be as specific as you can. If the most specific you can be is “I wanna be rich!” then I would ask you to define what “rich” means to you. The more specific you can be the better.

A specific purpose is like a personal “mission statement.” It’s funny how businesses realize the importance of this structure and purpose, yet individuals do not. Make your personal mission statement as detailed and descriptive as possible. When writing it, use the present tense with statements like “I am a commander of the air force leading over 100 soldiers, traveling all over the world while meeting new people.” While you are writing this all down, visualize it as well. Visualization is an important part of success, one that will be referred to many times in this program, so now is a good time to start putting it to use.

Once you have your specific purpose, you are free to add to it, alter it and even completely change it. Identifying a specific purpose is a very good starting point, but be forewarned that it should not control your destiny. Life is full of changes, and these changes may bring new opportunity and desires to you. Keep an open mind. If after spending years pursuing a career as an astronaut, you decide you really want to be a ballerina, then change your specific purpose. Just make sure changes made to your specific purpose are not due to failure or frustration, but rather a true desire.