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How to Work, Lead & Live On Purpose

Feb 16, 2022

 When we ask someone, "what is your purpose?" it can feel like a loaded question.  Though technically purpose means intention (v) or the reason for why something is done (n), we associate it with a “higher calling” as in “how are you serving this world with your one precious life?” “What legacy do you want to leave behind?”  No pressure. 

 Because I studied human behavior, I tend to reference Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and believe that we do feel that sense of “Self Actualization” (peak of the pyramid) when we contribute to something greater than ourselves.  So yea, I’ve been guilty of thinking and talking about purpose in this way too.  Sorry.

 Lately however, as I contemplate on what I really mean when I say that I want to empower first-gens to work, lead & live on purpose, I’m realizing that it’s simple and selfless.

 To that end, (this is an unpopular POV) - purpose not about legacy. It can’t be. That contradicts our basic human desire to belong & be a part of a tribe. Legacy is an American, capitalist way to think about purpose. It makes it all about YOU and how you'll be remembered for that great contribution you made.  Quintessentially American.  Sure, legacy can be a byproduct of making a great contribution in the world but if you start with that intention, that's not purpose driven, that's power driven.

I now also see that defining purpose as “your calling” implies that in our lifetime, we only have ONE calling, which I don’t believe is true and part of the problem.  Life is dynamic and if we’re doing it right, we are always evolving, which is why the career that served you out of college, feels unsatisfying a decade later.  We are not made to stay stuck!


Let me offer you how I’ve been thinking about purpose in a simpler way:




Whether it's the work you do, how you show up as a leader or the everyday choices you make in life, what would it look like if you asked yourself these 3 simple questions:


  1. What’s my intention for doing this? (cause Simon Sinek is right about starting with why and typically tied to a collective why, that greater contribution)
  2. Who will this impact and how? (this has to be aligned with your values; we betray ourselves when we do things that contradict our core values)
  3. How do I honor my interior empires in the process? (mindset, healthset, heartset & soulset; check out Robin Sharma's The 5AM Club)


That last one is where we get hung up because it's the only one that's about us in the equation so we tend to spiral into what's holding us back - mindset, habits, physical energy, spiritual beliefs and the integration of all of these. 

-We think we can just will a positive mindset so when the fears creep in, we spiral.

-We think discipline comes from doing  so we feel deflated when we can't repeat a habitual routine. 

-We mostly focus on managing our time and not our energy, then feel guilty when we're depleted. 

-We believe we can control everything in our lives and when the universal laws kick in, we try to control even more.


I don't point this out to deflate you, rather to inspire you! None of these things come easy; they require dedication if we truly want to create a more meaningful life.  Here are a few tips:







Pause & Reflect! Do it daily, weekly, monthly. 


Do Breathwork.



Honor your body.

Eat healthy(ish). Exercise.




Process instead of push through.

Release & Heal your wounds & traumas.




Accept there’s a universal power.

Find ways to connect to that source.

Practice universal, human kindness.

Life wheel assessment.

Balance the glass balls only - the ones you can’t drop because they’ll break; let the rest fall.


Cultivate habits that help you integrate. Discipline comes from structures, systems & consistent commitment to the identity of who we want to be.


In conclusion, purpose is not a destination.  It's a choice and it's ours to make every day to create our one precious, life.  No pressure. We have the freedom & privilege to do it with intention, impact & integration.