Purpose is emergent. It's not a thing or an object that one can attain. It's not something that one discovers through thumbing through a course catalog of classes, majors, and degree programs. Purpose is active, not passive. It doesn't hit us like a lightning bolt out of nowhere. We cultivate it. We develop it. We don't really discover purpose more than we help it to emerge.
Purpose is about taking charge of our own learning process, taking charge of the big outcomes we want to achieve, and taking charge of the ongoing changes that need to happen in ourselves.
Purpose is different than a job or even a career. It’s about more than what we do. It’s about who we are and the kind of person we want to become. When we struggle to find meaning in what we’re doing, a deep sense of purpose reminds us that there is more to life than constant striving.
We foster a culture of purpose that helps grow our capacity for change and cultivate growth from the inside out. In that way, purpose emerges as a product of vision, values, and vitality.
We’re all on a quest to find our own direction in life, asking the same kinds of questions about what we should be doing with our lives. Far more than a series of goals, vision helps us set the trajectory of our lives. As we can see far off on the distant horizon from a mountain summit, so vision orients us to the big picture of our lives.
The first and most significant question is not so much what do I want to do; rather, the most significant question is who do I want to be? Our values define who we are and the kind of person we want to become. Even as we move forward we remain grounded and rooted. After all, we don't just want to be at some other place, but a better place that is aligned with who we are and hope to be.
Vitality is having physical and mental energy--energy that we can harness to fuel purposeful actions.
Even when we do have that vision--that big sense of what we want to do--and we know that that vision aligns with our values of who we are and the kind of person we want to become--there’s still the matter of how am I going to do it. How am I going to get from where I am now to where I want to be?