What is purpose and how do we find it?

By Caitlyn Dever, Social Media intern

This month members of the LEAP Program are tackling the fundamental idea of purpose. This may seem like too broad of a topic, or more likely an overused phrase that people use to describe everything in life. But it is true that everything has purpose. There is not a single entity in this world that doesn’t serve some sort of purpose to another entity, or to its own self. Everything from stoplights to cashiers, flies to bicycles: they all are interconnected to the world surrounding them. It’s easy to pick out what purpose an inanimate object or animal has because we can look at them through a third party lens. Where it gets harder for people is when you start thinking about the individual’s purpose.

Purpose is defined as the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists. This can be a very scary definition when you apply it to humans. We were ‘created’ to accomplish something; there is a reason we ‘exist’. However, when you boil down that definition, it becomes quite clear. If you genuinely believe that everyone has a purpose, that means that no one is arbitrary. No one doesn’t matter; no one’s actions are inconsequential; no one can go through life without affecting something somewhere. It is your choice to come up with what your effect is going to be. Only you can decide how to live your life. That’s why finding and defining your purpose is so important. It ensures maximum effort, keeps us focused, generates power, and gives us unique competitive advantages. When you identify what you want to live for, your goals are made more clear.

Purpose becomes exceedingly important when it comes to leadership. How can you be a strong, effective leader if you don’t even know what you’re leading for? John F. Kennedy once said “efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Without a sense of why, you will never get to the how or the what. In order for something to work, you need to know why you want it to work in the first place. At LPV, we suggest asking yourself this question when finding your purpose as a leader: “What is it time for right now?” While being a leader does require you to be able to think on your feet, this question can help narrow down that thought process. All it takes is to focus your mind on the foundation of your actions: the purpose. By finding your purpose as a leader, you will inspire all those who you lead to find their’s as well, which can only result in a more productive environment.

In this crazy, fast-paced world we live in, it can be too easy for us to forget what we are living for. We too often get caught up in the idea that we are doing things to live, but why are we not thinking about it in terms of living to do things. Our purpose is not to live up to the expectations of the world around us. Our purpose is to be exactly who we want to be, say what we want to say, and do what we want do. You create your own purpose. The only purpose that is wrong is the lack of one.