The differences between these two ideas was driven home to me several years ago after attending a conference, and ultimately it led to a major change in the way I approached my business at the time.
Your purpose is why you do something, it is your intent, it is your level of determination to do something or be something.
Having a clear sense of purpose is important because it can provide a powerful internal motivation to get things done. It can add meaning and direction to our lives; it keeps you going when times are tough.
There is heaps of advice available online to help you define your purpose so that you can align your behaviours with your purpose to have the life you want. Having a purpose helps define your values, your values define your behaviours, and your behaviours and actions define your outcomes. Your purpose becomes your outcome, or result.
By sticking to your purpose, you create your ideal future life. I call this your ‘Ideal Purpose’. It is the path to the fulfilment of your dreams.
So how does Real Purpose fit in with this idea? The statement I heard at that conference years ago was ‘Your purpose is your result’, and it took me some time to figure out what it meant. What I realised is that it is easy to develop an inspirational purpose of which you can be proud. But for me, the big question is: What has been your purpose up until today?
I realised that I had always had a purpose, it just wasn’t defined in a conscious way. My business was successful, but I realised there was a gap between what I wanted to achieve and the business that was my day to day reality. I was proud of what I had built, but I knew there was something more. I had a Mission Statement in my business; it sounded exciting, but it was a bit unrealistic, and I didn’t really believe it. The ’purpose = result’ statement made me realise that the business I had created was the result of my hidden, unspoken purpose that actually encompassed many of my insecurities about myself and my life and the fears and anxieties I was carrying at the time.
Many people are in the same boat, being held back by fears and insecurities that unconsciously affect our performance. Accepting that I had an underlying, hidden purpose helped me see the impact of my actions at work and commit to a new purpose: something real, believable and exciting. Identifying this Real Purpose is easy; you reverse engineer it from where you are today. Your life today is the result of this unconscious Real Purpose you have been living for years, and being unconscious, aspects would have stayed the same, while others may have changed from time to time based on your influences and situations.
Thinking about our present life can help us understand our motivations, fears, desires and the things that shame us. These issues can affect our behaviour in many ways, so by understanding them deeply we can gain better insights as to who we are and find authenticity in our lives and relationships.
Change management refers to where you are today as your Current State, (aka the ‘As Is’). Defining our As Is helps us map a pathway to change from our Real Purpose to our Ideal Purpose (the ‘To Be’).
Pragmatico has created the Life Key Results Area assessment tool to help our clients through this process. If you don’t know where you are on the map in the first place, it’s hard to find where you want to go. You can ask for our preliminary Life KRA tool through our Contact page here. The tool is the starting point for conversations and work about how to consciously create a better life.