“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill sure knew how to coin a phrase, eh? And while this particular one is catchy and provocative, it’s also been proven by many years of research. When a person’s purpose shifts from what they get to what they give, and why, their motivation, energy, and sense of fulfillment are deepened immensely.
In Alan S. Cohen’s book, The Connection Challenge: How Executives Create Power and Possibility in the Age of Distraction, he cites that, “studies show purpose-driven people are four times more likely to be leaders and have 64 percent higher levels of career satisfaction.” Those numbers aren’t something to gloss over. That is what we consider real impact!
So where to start? Identify your personal statement of purpose, or your WHY statement! Cohen provides some specific steps to do so:
- All About Values. If you were to list your top five non-negotiables, what would make the cut? What are the things that would have you in a position to leave a job or a relationship if not met? Examples: Integrity, passion, balance, honesty, humor, autonomy. When you begin with identifying your own personal values, you start to see how they align with the work you are already doing or want to be doing.
- How Do You Spell Success? What does the “best version” of you look like? For example, perhaps you are on fire while making presentations, or you feel entirely in your element in a consultation meeting with new prospective clients. Or maybe your best self is training or teaching others in your company. To help you identify this, think about three occasions during which you felt deeply satisfied with a specific accomplishment and summarize them as brief stories. What do these stories say about who you are?
- What About Your Impact on Others? Refer back to those success stories you just identified. What sort of impact did you have on other people as a result of those successes? How did you experience a sense of connection to others? What was important to you?
- You Gotta Have Passion. This part should be easy. What are you most passionate about? What lights you up? Be specific. What is it about these passions that makes you feel energized?
- What Makes You, You? How are you unique? What makes you different than others? Write out five sentences about how you are truly special.
- Act Naturally. We all have certain things we do naturally. Perhaps you are naturally good at talking with other people and making them feel comfortable or have a natural inclination toward connecting the dots of a specific project. Identify five things that come to you.
- Put it All Together. Pull all these pieces together to create one statement of purpose – Why do you do what you do? This one statement should demonstrate who you really are and how you show up in life when feeling the greatest sense of connection and accomplishment. This should be the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.
By identifying your WHY statement, or statement of purpose, you start to live in a space where you filter everything through the values and indicators of success that mean the most to you. You are better able to identify opportunities that are in line with your passions and goals, and those that are better left for someone else. And, you’ll find, you are much more engaged and connected to the work you do day to day. And that’s a win for everyone.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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