Our purpose defines us, our vision directs us, and our missions are when we get off our chairs, take action, and do something meaningful.” ~Kevin McCarthy
In my post on Finding Treasure in Ruins I talked about how internal conflict is needed in order to develop as person. The driving force that helps that inner conflict to be productive rather than destructive is our sense of purpose.
In his book, The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense, Kevin McCarthy talks about four things to get clear on in order to live your purpose. Those aspects are purpose, vision, missions and values.
Purpose is being.
Your purpose is about the essence of who you are. It is the spark that defines you and distinguishes you from others. It can help give you the direction to focus your energy and acts as a guide in developing your vision, mission and values. McCarthy uses the simple purpose statement, “I exist to serve by ______”. I like the statement, “I exist to give and receive _______.” because it acknowledges that we are not here just to serve others but also to receive.
At this point, I see my purpose as “I exist to give and receive connection.” Connection comes to me in many forms. Connecting with other people. Connecting with ideas. Connecting others to people and ideas I think they would benefit from. Helping to connect people with themselves.
Vision is seeing.
Vision is our inspiration and it paints a picture in our mind’s eye of what we would like our future to be. McCarthy says, “If purpose is the spark, vision is the flame inspiring your imagination, belief and hope.” When you have a clear vision of the future, you can push through difficult times because your head (vision) and your heart (purpose) are in alignment.
Our full visions can’t be summed up in one or two short sentences, but one vision I have of the future is to develop a sustainable practice so that I can work full time helping excitable women. I’d like to have a podcast called “Embracing Intensity,” interviewing people who are using their intensity successfully in their lives. Eventually I’d like to use the information I gain from those interviews to write a book to help people to use their fire without getting burned.
Missions are doing.
Missions are the physical actions we take in order to advance our vision that is based on our purpose. They are specific, external and action oriented. Missions often get confused with purpose, but a mission is what we do, while purpose is about who we are. When developing a mission statement, it is helpful to keep it simple, understandable and broad and to avoid the use of the word “should.”
My missions have changed over the years. I have worked in schools for years with the mission to help students and their families connect with their learning strengths and weaknesses. Now I have a mission to help intense women connect with their excitability and see it for the superpower that it can be.
Values are choosing.
Our values reflect what is important to us. They act as a guardrail to keep you on track with your mission and purpose. The choices we make in life clarify our values. When your values are violated, you feel it in your gut.
While the list could go on, some things that I value include honesty, empathy, understanding and of course, connection.
If you’d like to explore your purpose, mission and values further, Franklin Covey Mission Statement Builder is a handy resource!